In August 2017, a handful of professional experts came up with an idea of nurturing and fulfilling dreams for prospective entrepreneurs through the ALFA Network. They created a highly networked platform that had leaders, founders, and achievers who came together to foster and facilitate the growth of budding entrepreneurs in India.
These Kolkata-based new generation of industrialists understood the need of focused approach to advice, connect, train and motivate an entrepreneur. Members from 30 diverse sectors formed this platform under the aegis of the industry body, ASSOCHAM.
Uttam Hui (48) was a humble skill trainer who left his job and started his own venture. Today, he has created more than 300 job opportunities within a year and manages 75 skill training centres. It was Hui’s employer in Globsyn, Rahul Dasgupta, who encouraged him to venture into his new business.
Hui told BE, “When I left my job of managing 75 skill training centres under Globsyn in 2014, I found the right direction from my mentor Rahul Dasgupta who was then my employer. He encouraged me to start my skill training business independently. Initially, Globsyn helped me to set five centres across five districts in Kolkata.” Hui has two employees working under him now. He generates a revenue of around `75 lakh per annum.
Rahul Dasgupta, Director, Globsyn Business School and board member of ALFA Network, said, “We believe we can cut short the entire process for a start-up by connecting them with our member organisations. This not only helps a start-up save time and money but also helps a start-up gain credibility which helps them to become sustainable quickly. At times, the mentor might also decide to participate with equity in a venture.”
Vivek Goyal, Co-Founder and Director, Zinc London and a mentor from Alfa Network, has shaped up another success story. He had helped Abur (59) to set up a tailoring unit. Speaking to BE, Abur said, “My growth story from being a sole tailor cum line-man working for Vivek Goyal’s brand to becoming an entrepreneur was only possible because of his trust in me. In 2013, when I had decided to start on my own, he bought me 30 machines and invested in my factory. Today, I am running a 250-machine factory and have employed 300 people. Had I not received his help initially, I do not know whether I could have outperformed my own expectations.”
Aditya Vikram Mehta, Director, White Castle Hospitality, is associated with the ALFA network. He informed BE, “The start-ups that our members have adopted and connected, have grown to become sustainable and credible businesses much quicker. Many of them have also gone to acquire newer clients and these entrepreneurs have been able to deploy their capital to improve their products and services rather than invest in client acquisitions.”
From being an unknown bouncer at a city pub, Saif Ali Khan (24) owns his own security and bouncer service agency. He told BE, “I started in 2016 when I was in my college. I started working as security person and met Aditya Mehta. Under his guidance I have initiated my security agency. We are now operating in 22 sites in the city. We are generating around `5lakh per month.”.
Currently, ALFA has 10 success stories of such start-ups from varied sectors that include manufacturing, hospitality, education, gems and jewellery, and apparel amongst others.