“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 was a small business owner operating a manufacturing unit from a small piece of land that he invested in many years ago. “From my childhood I was clear that I would not like to pursue the same business that my father was operating since his business brought home a relatively small annual income. I had bigger dreams!”
Swapnil’s father’s struggle to make ends meet and ensure that him and his brother got a good education have helped him to stay grounded in every situation and be a careful spender. Despite their financial circumstances, he did not give up and pursued an Engineering degree from a Government Open University. Swapnil’s determination to become an entrepreneur only became stronger when his father’s main customer decided to close in 2015, leaving them in a difficult financial situation.
Since he was keen to become an entrepreneur, a Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST) advertisement in a local newspaper caught Swapnil’s attention. He visited their local office and explored his area of interest for a commercial venture. While he did not immediately come up with an idea, he continued to visit and was motivated by the mentors and other entrepreneurs. He began to feel confident about his own 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.” Having understood its importance in building and sustaining a successful business, he remained in touch with BYST mentors while pursuing his engineering degree.
After completing the degree, he worked as a welder for an automotive manufacturer, but didn’t find this work interesting and it involved long working hours. In 2016 when he approached BYST with the business idea of manufacturing radiators, he had already conducted a market survey, collected the necessary documents and built a list of machinery and equipment required for the proposed business. During his research in the local area, Swapnil found that there were only a handful of radiator manufacturers, while there were over 100 manufacturing transformers. He then explored the market further for machines required for manufacturing radiators and found a good opportunity for pressed steel radiators. These cool transformers faster, consume less power than conventional radiators and take up less space.
Swapnil then founded the manufacturing business, Sky Power Industries. He participated in BYST’s Smart Training for Enterprise Planning (STEP) at the College of Engineering in Pune. Once his proposal was approved he was assigned a mentor; Mr Subhash Shejwal, an engineer and serial entrepreneur with business interests in the manufacture of engineering components. To enable him to take his business to the next level, he received a loan and then attended the Post Loan Training, during which he received guidance on business development and financial discipline. After one year of running his business successfully, he was enrolled in the BYST “High Flyers Club”. He received expert mentoring in other areas and attended several “High Flyer” training Programmes which helped him develop a clear vision for the future of his business. Swapnil adds “My family is proud of the hard work I have put in to 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 has also provided income generating opportunities to 16 people directly. 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. A specific focus on building gender equality and hiring more women is one of their key focus areas while expanding the business.
Last year Sky Power Industries sold 8,500 units and there is scope for increasing this volume. In Maharashtra, there is a huge electricity demand supply gap, which radiator manufacturers are unable to fulfil. The electricity generated by the radiators can be used in rural areas where India still faces a big challenge. The 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’s goal is to make the business grow year on year at a steady pace. The market is estimated to grow at a yearly rate of 200%, given the Government’s aim of 100% electrification by 2022. This growth is also fuelled by the growing economy and rapid industrialisation. Moving forward, Swapnil is planning to increase production and expand the sales network. Over the next couple of years, they aim for growth of around 70% and plan to manufacture different-sized radiators based on the market demand. Swapnil also continues to learn business management and practices from his mentor.
Swapnil has this advice for other 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 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.