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New-‘aged’ entrepreneurs: How oldies are giving youngsters a run for their money

Virendra Pandit Ahmedabad | Updated on January 11, 2018 Published on July 13, 2017

Senior citizens are recharging their batteries and turning into successful entrepreneurs, pursuing old passions with renewed vigour   -  Shutterstock.com

When they crossed 60, they did not just contemplate a blissful, relaxed life with their grandchildren. They recharged their batteries and turned into successful entrepreneurs, pursuing old passions with renewed vigour.

Meet the new-age entrepreneurs, all 60-plus, with the zest of their 20-year-old competitors. And, in their second innings, they are giving young start-up founders a run for their money.

Sixty-three-year-old Dinesh B Singh, founder of Navrasa Duende — a start-up for different forms and genres of global art on a single platform — is busy creating a 100-acre campus nearly 70 km from Bengaluru. “It will be like a Disneyland for all art-loving people, aged 12 years and above. The first phase is expected to be ready in two years,” he told BusinessLine.

Serious art

An engineer-technocrat-entrepreneur, and connoisseur-patron of the arts, he revived his old passions as he felt corporate houses did not take the arts as a serious business. His start-up is not only an event organiser, but also a production house that has put together successful events as well as curated and promoted commercial and niche arts from around the world.

Navrasa Duende is part of the ₹800-crore Energo Group. “We don’t need funds right now, but may consider hitting the capital market two years later,” he added.

Singh, also founder and MD of Energo Engineering Projects, was mentored in his younger days by doyens of arts, such as SN Mehdi, President, Indian Progressive Theatres Association (IPTA), and BM Shah, former Director of National School of Drama (NSD).

Founded in December 2016, Navrasa has since organised its first cultural initiative with music legend Pandit Jasraj on his 87th birthday, and a screening festival of Franz Kafka and Alfred Hitchcock movies. In September, it will bring Swan Lake Ballet to India for the first time, and sign out the year with a carnival in December.

Plus fashion

Vinay Sehgal, 67, founded LURAP (abbreviated from Love UR Appearance!) in 2015, to offer a “virtual tailor at your doorstep” to plus-size women. “It is the first online women’s shopping brand offering 21 sizes and styles in every garment,” he said. From his experience in an export venture in garments, home furnishing and leather products, he decided to explore the niche market for plus-size and customised clothing.

“In online markets, clothing is the dominant segment and women are the largest segment of customers. But they lack quality or customised clothing. We are now considering plus-size and customised clothing for men as well.”

The start-up is about to break-even in the current quarter as it expands to make 15,000 garments a month.

Ex-banker Sudarshan Motwani, founder-CEO of BookMyForex.com, had been associated with travel-related foreign exchange and remittance business for 30 years when he retired from ING Vysya Bank. He conceptualised, introduced and headed foreign exchange services (FES) as a new revenue line in four different banks.

Founded in 2014, BookMyForex broke even in July 2015. “Now investors are on board, and we can think about scaling up operations. Our turnover in 2016-17 is expected to be around ₹1,500 crore,” Motwani said.

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Published on July 13, 2017
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