The journey of every entrepreneur on his road to glory is unique in its own way. Now, the story of Srikanth Bolla is not very different except for the fact that he was born blind. Being blind, most people’s mind would be clouded with the fact of how they would fit into society. But Srikanth spent his time planning on how to change society. Read on more to find how this blind entrepreneur from India ventured on his entrepreneur journey and left a mark for himself for ages to come.
The Cat And Mouse Game
Srikanth recalls that when he was born, his neighbors advised his parents to end his life and put him out of his misery. “They are the richest people I know,” says Srikanth about his parents on not heeding his neighbors’ advice and letting him live.
Being neglected in his school, his father admitted him to a special needs school in Hyderabad. It sowed the seeds for his intellectual thinking as we witness it at a later stage. Although he cleared his 10th board exams with over 90 percent, he was denied to take up science in his class 11 owing to his disability.
Srikanth, being a gritty young lad was not going to let his disability and society’s negligence take away his future. He sued the government, and after six months of battle, the court granted him permission to pursue science. He was determined to make a statement and converted all his textbooks to audio files.
He yet again surprised many by scoring 98% in his 12th board exams. After his 12th, Srikanth applied for IITs, BITSPilani, and other top engineering colleges. However, much to his dismay, he received a letter stating that he won't be able to apply for the competitive exams owing to his disability. Srikanth was right back where he started.
The Much-Awaited Breakthrough
Not heartbroken, but angry, Srikanth started exploring international college programs in the US for people like him. He joined MIT with distinctive accreditation as the first international blind student in the school’s history.
Tormented by his childhood experiences and seeking answers to his questions, Srikanth decided to return to India after his graduation. He set up an organization to educate and support differently-abled people. He soon realized that education was not enough to create financial stability in the lives of disabled people, and that sowed the seeds for Bollant Industries.
Srikanth set up Bollant Industries in the year 2012 along with Swarnalatha, his teacher at special-needs school, to manufacture biodegradable products. Swarnalatha is responsible for training the differently-abled people and getting them prepped.
The majority of the workforce in this startup included differently-abled people. The company claims to have witnessed 20 percent month by month increase in sales. The company recently raised $2 million from the renowned entrepreneur Ratan Tata, former Chairman of Tata Sons.
The company is also backed by Angel Investor Ravi Mantha who sees Srikanth as his protege. Mantha was impressed with the business knowledge and vision of Srikanth, that made him take the plunge. Mantha stated that he wanted to take the company to IPO status. The company boasts a long portfolio list, including biodegradable paper plates, cups, napkins, and bowls.
The Vision Of A Blind Entrepreneur
Bollant Industries that was started with 8 employees has now grown to over 600 employees across 5 manufacturing units, with one more to come up that is 100 percent solar operated. Srikanth gained a place in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Srikanth’ s vision is to drive the company with a workforce comprising of 70 percent of disabled people.
Srikanth has left no stone unturned. He recently plunged into politics as well, beginning a new course. Srikanth’s search for answers has led him to where he is now. Srikanth defied all odds in his life, would be a mere understatement.
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