Coming from a village background, Sugreeva Tangade was always impressed at what his father could accomplish. Having run a business for 39 years, his dad successfully built his enterprise without having had any formal education or even competent reading skills. And yet, just last year, his business managed to make 11crore rupees of revenue. In contrast, Sugreeva was the kind of individual who educated himself up to the postgraduate level, completing his degree in mechanical engineering and his year-long Master’s in Social Entrepreneurship by the Deshpande Foundation. Despite all his credentials, he felt that he did not achieve as much success as his father did in terms of starting his own company.
Thus, the future entrepreneur motivated himself to begin by researching the kinds of business ideas he could pursue. In total, Sugreeva planned 6-7 viable ideas that could scale in his future enterprise, ranging from recycling plastics for tiles to various manufacturing products. Carefully observing the markets, he analyzed the opportunities and the accessibility of raw materials to produce each good and concluded that LED lights were the most profitable. He figured that everyone would be in need of lighting, so a product as energy efficient as LEDs could potentially be a lucrative product to sell. Furthermore, the fact that raw materials were available everywhere for the product incentivized him even further to pursue this path.
Already with a business plan set from his MSE classes, Sugreeva founded SMAT Enterpises and worked to make his products more marketable to consumers. His incubation into Sandbox Startups was a logical next step from finishing the Deshpande Foundation’s MSE program. To the new entrepreneur, the tier-ii incubation center was like homemade food where he was able to comfortably work on his enterprise while consuming all the nutritious aspects needed to grow. The organization was paramount in helping Sugreeva focus on his work while educating him on aspects of customer interaction, building a winning team, conducting scrum meetings, and focusing on key result areas.
Having this support behind him, Sugreeva tackled the struggle of convincing consumers to buy his products. Although bringing down the cost was one strategy to attract customers, the entrepreneur also had to explain that his low-cost of LEDs did not imply a lower quality. His justification was as follows: the reason for the costly nature of good LED lights from his competitors was due to the cost-additional channels of lights passing hands from manufacturers, dealers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers. Sugreeva’s ingenuity stemmed from the fact that he eliminated all intermediaries, effectively delivering the same quality product direct from producer to consumer.
Evidently, the enterprise received a lot of success. On average, SMAT Enterprises has sold 13K units to everyone from prominent companies to local governments. In fact, several municipalities such as Hubballi, Gadag, Chikkodi, and many others have benefited from Sugreeva’s LED lights, including over 29 panchayats. With revenues averaging at around 5-6 lakh per month, it would be safe to say that Sugreeva has built a company as impressive as his father’s. And with a vision to make a 5 crore rupees turnover by the end of the financial year and a goal to supply over 140 villages by year’s end, it is clear that SMAT Enterprises is destined for new heights in the LED light market.
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