Emerging Entrepreneurs

A fighter against the odds

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on March 22, 2016

SRIKANTH BOLLA MD, Bollant Industries

Srikanth Bolla has managed to cross several hurdles in his life over the past 24 years, to become an entrepreneur, employing about 450 people, 60 per cent of them differently-abled. Born into a family of farmers in Seetharamapuram in Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh, Bolla was born blind.

He faced one challenge after another, right from childhood — be it getting into school or completing his graduation.

As he faced discrimination in a school in Machilipatnam, his father shifted him to a special school in Hyderabad, where he was guided and mentored by his teacher Swarna Latha. After his Class X, in which he secured 90 per cent, he was rejected in junior college. He wanted to pursue science, but was told that he could only take up arts because of his disability. He filed a case and won and went on to pass his intermediate with distinction.

After he was rejected by top Indian institutions for his graduation course, including IITs, as he was blind, Bolla went on to graduate from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US. “ I decided to become an entrepreneur so that I can play a role in providing jobs, particularly to those with different abilities,” he explains. Pooling in a few lakhs of rupees, Bolla started Bollant Industries Ltd in 2012, from a small facility in Hyderabad, to manufacture paper-based plates and products, a business segment that was fragmented but had a huge potential. Today, Bollant has manufacturing units at Nacharam near Hyderabad, and at Nizamabad and Hubli. He is setting up the company’s biggest facility at Sri City in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Bollant expects to be a ₹100-crore company in two years.

Marquee investors

Bolla’s venture has attracted some marquee investors. The first to invest was Ravi Mantha, followed by SP Reddy, both of whom are associated with TiE. They saw spark and tenacity to fight adversity in Bolla and encouraged him and his ideas. When former Tata group chairman Ratan Tata invested in Bollant in his personal capacity, his first non-tech investment, it was truly a vindication of Bolla’s efforts.

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Published on March 22, 2016
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