When Delhi-based IT professional Diwakar (name changed upon request) packed his bags and left for his hometown last March, little would he have imagined that 18 months down the line, he would become an entrepreneur? And one who has set a trend within his local community by digitizing businesses and encouraging online retail of the kind where all the earnings circulate in the local economy.
It all began with a craving for local food when Diwakar started his work-from-home stint from Mahoba, a town in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh. It is a city with 25 wards that were once this IT professional’s backyard. However, there was a nasty surprise waiting for this foodieas friends told him of the tough times businesses faced post lockdown. Many of the samosa, kachori, chat shops had simply shut down.
As the days passed by, there were more such tales, some from close family and friends who complained of declining revenues. Having witnessed the power of food delivery apps in the national capital, Diwakar decided to take a punt. Of course, there were naysayers galore seeking to prevent him from giving up a well-paying job to go chase an entrepreneurial dream. “We are not made for business” and “What if you fail and lose your job as well,” were some of the entities he heard.
He came across eSamudaay through some media reports and referrals from friends. Being a techie, Diwakar got the idea immediately and realized that with the software in place, all he had to do was onboard two sets of users – the local businesses and the customers. All good, but there was another fly in the ointment. His family wouldn’t accept his quitting a job to chase a dream. So, he went for the next best option – got a family member to set up the digitally-enabled business under his tutelage.
Two months later, Mahoba was on the digital map of India as the family first reached out to their own friends, neighbours and relatives to digitize their business. They had two young bike riders for all deliveries. Point-of-sales flexes and standees helped spread the message and the techie in Diwakar also used social media effectively. Soon enough daily transactions crossed double digits – a clear indicator that the idea was being accepted by businesses and their customers.
“I believe my journey started from an idle mind, which they say is a devil’s workshop. I had lots of time while working from home, given there are no tea breaks, smoke breaks and such that one enjoys while at work. The time I saved was spent on research first, and then on building a business plan in terms of prioritizing what businesses to chase and which areas etc.,” Diwakar recalls.
Today with 250-plus transactions a month within just three months of starting off, Mahoba is definitely a model that small towns can replicate successfully. “I am sure local commerce is the way forward,” says Diwakar whose family recently started delivering medicines in addition to food, groceries and milk products.
“Going local is not merely a need, but a responsibility,” he says and tells us that his company may withdraw the work-from-home soon but what it did for the local community of Mahoba would never be withdrawn as both businesses and customers have come to realize the power of digital decentralization.