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Pratima Koppolu: Fresh-baked entrepreneur

It is close to achieving the impossible. In a city known for its biryani lovers, Pratima Koppolu, 41, has got people to appreciate the virtues of authentic European food.

Print Edition: July 12, 2009

People

Pratima Koppolu: Fresh-baked entrepreneur
It is close to achieving the impossible. In a city known for its biryani lovers, Pratima Koppolu, 41, has got people to appreciate the virtues of authentic European food. To BT readers, Koppolu is wife of Srini Koppolu, Corporate VP& MD, Microsoft India Development Center. Together with Mamatha Mallipudi, wife of M.M. Pallam Raju, Minister of State for Defence, she set up Sweet Nirvana in Hyderabad eight months ago. “From 15 people in the first month, we now get around 100 a day and around 200 on weekends,” says Koppolu. She does not need to look far for the growing acceptance. Hubby Koppulu, who failed to convince the duo that a restaurant in Hyderabad should serve his favourite biryani, has today taken a liking for Penne (pasta) Arrabbiata. Never mind, if the reason is “because it is spicy!”

Uma Ganesh: She’s got talent
This unassuming lady has chalked out an ambitious path for her fledgling company. Uma Ganesh, 50, CEO, Global Talent Track (GTT), wants to make 500,000 people employable in the next five years. And how will she achieve this humongous task? “GTT will help create the ecosystem for the same by building partnerships with government and industry,” she says. GTT is an employable skills assessment and training company. Last fortnight, it opened its Global Educentre in Delhi that was preceded by launches in Pune, Jaipur and Chandigarh. Besides India, the company is looking at China and other parts of Asia. “There’s a huge opportunity looking at us in the face,” she says. The expansion is on the back of fund infusion by Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment organisation. Ganesh has been a training industry veteran and her last assignment was at HSBC Global Resourcing as Chief Corporate Development Officer. With her new venture, this onetime classical singer is surely on a sound footing.

Anil Agarwal: All mine and mettle
Anil Agarwal, 54, the founding Chairman of Vedanta Resources, is perpetually on the move in the mining and metals space. He added one more feather in his cap when group firm Sesa Goa (purchased in 2007) acquired the Goa mining assets of VS Dempo group in an all-cash deal worth Rs 1,750 crore. “The integration of Sesa and VSD (VS Dempo) operations will achieve great synergy,” says Agarwal. He has now set his eyes on the world’s biggest market, the US. His competitor, Grupo Mexico, better watch out: Agarwal never plays to lose.

Places

Yekaterinburg
When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went to Yekaterinburg to attend the BRIC Summit recently, a lot of people struggled to find it on the map of Russia. Nestled in the Ural mountains, Yekaterinburg is Russia’s fifth-largest city and a major cultural centre. It was here at the Church of All Saints that the last Russian royal dynasty, the Romanovs, were assassinated. Yekaterinburg is famous for its legendary Yekaterinburg Academic Ballet and Opera Company and the Sverdlovsk Academic Theatre of Musical Comedy. The city has more than 30 museums, one of which hosts the oldest wood sculpture in the world—a Shigir idol estimated to be made about 9,000 years ago. There are several daily flights connecting Yekaterinburg with Moscow.

Products

New browser on the block
Safari 4: Amid the hype surrounding the iPhone 3G S, news about this browser got lost. But the latest iteration of Apple’s Safari browser does make it a strong player. There is too much competition in the browser market, and they are all free. But the clean layout of Safari and its fast loading time should help it reach out to Windows users.

Phone for a steal
MicroMax Q3: The brand isn’t half as famous as many others, but a full-Qwerty keyboard and dual-SIM support for Rs 6,500 is just awesome. Bring on Chinese imports, if this is the case. The user interface does leave a lot to be desired and build-quality is nowhere near that of a BlackBerry or a Nokia. But at this price, do you really care? This is possibly the first massmarket enterprise class mobile device.

Contributed by E. Kumar Sharma, Saumya Bhattacharya, Virendra Verma and Dhiman Chattopadhyay

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