“My focus is to become a successful businessman and provide support and employment to people in my community.”
Swapnil is 28 years old and lives in Pune district, India. His father owned a small business operating a manufacturing unit. However, continuing his father’s business was never an option for Swapnil: “Ever since my childhood I was sure that I would not like to pursue my father’s business since it brought home a relatively small annual income. I had bigger dreams!”
His father’s struggle to make ends meet and ensure a good education for him and his brother taught Swapnil to stay grounded in every situation and be a careful spender. Despite his family’s financial difficulties, he did not give up and pursued an engineering degree from an open university. Swapnil’s determination to become an entrepreneur grew even stronger when his father’s main customer closed in 2015, worsening the family’s financial situation.
Swapnil first learned about the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST), Youth Business International’s member in India, when their advertisement in a local newspaper caught his eye. He started visiting their local office and explored his area of interest for a commercial venture. While he did not immediately come up with a business idea, he continued to visit and was motivated by the mentors and young entrepreneurs he met through BYST. He grew confident in his ability to start a business and turn his dream into a reality. He says “The BYST mentors patiently answered my queries and encouraged me to pursue my dream.” He stayed in touch with them while pursuing his engineering degree.
In 2016, he approached BYST with his business idea of manufacturing radiators. At this point, he had already conducted a market survey, collected the necessary documents and compiled a list of machinery and equipment he needed. During his research in the local area, Swapnil discovered that there were only a handful of radiator manufacturers and therefore a demand for more. He decided to specialise in pressed steel radiators, which cool transformers faster, consume less power and take up less space than conventional radiators
Swapnil founded his manufacturing business, Sky Power Industries, and received a wide range of support from BYST: He participated in their Smart Training for Enterprise Planning (STEP) programme, was connected to a mentor and received a loan to grow his business. He then attended the Post Loan Training, where he received guidance on business development and financial discipline.
After one year of successfully running his business, Swapnil was enrolled in the BYST “High Flyers Club”, where he received expert mentoring and developed a clear vision for the future of his business. Swapnil adds “My family is proud of the hard work I have put into building a successful business. Within just 18 months, I have been able to buy a car and invest some profits back into the business.”
Sky Power Industries sold 8,500 units in 2018 and has provided income generating opportunities to 16 people directly since its founding. Given that every manufacturing business creates at least four indirect jobs for every direct job, the business contributes to at least another 60 indirect jobs. Swapnil now specifically focusses on building gender equality by hiring more women. He aims to grow his business by 70% over the next couple of years and contribute to the Indian government’s goal of 100% electrification by 2022. The electricity generated by his radiators can be used in rural areas where India still faces a big challenge. Swapnil’s cost and energy efficient radiators are contributing to power generation, meaning the government can reduce maintenance costs and expand electricity coverage with limited resources.
Swapnil has this advice for other young entrepreneurs:
“Believe in your business idea and put in the maximum effort to realise it. Obstacles are stepping stones to success. Winning a race requires consistent effort, dedication, self-belief and a fighting spirit. Life may knock you down 100 times so have the courage to stand up 101 times.”
Swapnil Kudale was a runner-up in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award at YBI's Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit 2019.