Villgro mentor K Ravishankar is a chartered accountant with experience in sectors from FMCG to financial services. At Villgro, he works with portfolio companies to help build their business models. Here, we get to know him a little better:
What is your background?
I’m a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience in business management, including corporate finance and strategy. I’ve had the opportunity to work in FMCG, services/hospitality, infrastructure, automotive, exports, food and financial services.
Why are you excited about the social enterprise space?
Having worked in for-profit organisations all my life, I see a great opportunity to contribute something towards maximising improvements in human and environment well-being. At the end of the day, these would make the growth in GDP more meaningful and sustainable. In India, social enterprises are also gradually changing their business model from being a pure non-profit to social businesses with the aim of making profits. The primary aim is to reduce poverty through a sustainable business model, that is address soclal problems using business models to sustain themselves financially.
In this scenario, there is a greater opportunity to apply some of the commercial strategies, learnt during my earlier tenure.
What have been your biggest learnings in your working experience?
Be focused on achieving your goals by adopting meaningful, dynamic and flexible strategies. A systematic and patient approach would yield the desired results, develop the ability to analyse and diagnose at every step to enable course correction.
What is your forecast for the sector and entrepreneurs?
Businesses which can leverage technology/internet platforms seem to provide the best opportunity currently in modern India. This is more so when a large Indian population (especially rural) wants a level playing field in terms of access and convenience in buying goods and services. India has still a long way to go in the education and health sectors in particular and such business applications would provide a great impetus for India to catch up with the world in these two sectors.
This sector is exploding by the day and will undergo consolidation shortly. Businesses which can scale up quickly are likely to survive and remain successful.
What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs?
The opportunity for doing business in India has opened up in the last two decades like never before. If you have a vision, desire and an identified opportunity to provide goods and services, India is the place to be, with ever-increasing affordability and consumption. Unlike earlier decades, this one has business expertise and funding for entrepreneurs with a vision and appetite for risk-taking.
Why do you like being a mentor?
There is a depth of expertise (global and domestic exposure) available in the country today for India’s young and enterprising to leverage. In my second innings, I would like to be a part of this new phenomenon by being an enabler and make the best efforts to translate their vision into reality.