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Can a train journey bring out the entrepreneur in you? This one does

Chandni Aggarwal, 25, too has a similar story with degrees in engineering and MBA, but with a tweak, as she knew that she wanted to start her own enterprise.

Devika Singh        Last Updated: May 29, 2017  | 14:39 IST
Can a train journey bring out the entrepreneur in you? This one does

Devika Singh, senior sub editor
The story of 25-year-old Rasik Pansare begins much the same way as numerous other young people in the country - a degree in engineering followed by an MBA. But it takes a different turn when he meets Chirag Jain during a trip, and later they start their own venture GetMyParking.com.

Chandni Aggarwal, 25, too has a similar story with degrees in engineering and MBA, but with a tweak, as she knew that she wanted to start her own enterprise. However, lack of resources was a roadblock in her path and then she took a life-changing journey. Today it has been more than nine months since she started her own venture Rural Odyssey.

So, what's common in both these stories? Answer: A train journey.

Rasik met Chirag on 'Jagriti Yatra', a 15-day train journey that covers 8,000 km and 12 destinations, spanning the length and breadth of India. An initiative by non-profit charitable organisation Jagriti Sewa Sansthan headquartered in Mumbai, the journey aims to inspire young Indians to build enterprises and is supported by companies such as Dell, Google, Coca-Cola and Cairn India.

Every year, the journey starts on December 24 in Mumbai, and stops at 12 destinations across India where the selected 450 participants get to meet established entrepreneurs and interact with them. Started in 2008, the tour has been taken up by 3,700 people so far and founders claim that 300 enterprises have been founded by the travellers of Jagriti Yatra.

Here's a look at some such interesting stories.

Rural Odyssey

Founded by Chandni Aggarwal and Kush Sharma, Rural Odyssey is a social enterprise that takes travellers to offbeat Indian villages and arranges a stay for them with local families.

After completing her MBA, Chandni Aggarwal was working with software solutions provider RateGain when her friends suggested she go on the Jagriti Yatra. "I was selected for the 2013/14 tour, but had to cancel it due to some reasons. Also I wasn't very keen to take it up as I thought it was just a tour of the country. However I started attending the 'yatra' meet-ups in Delhi and then I realised that it's such a big network of young entrepreneurs," Aggarwal told Business Today.

She re-applied for 2014-15 trip and was selected. "The trip made me realise that I need to come out of my comfort zone if I want to build my enterprise. Also I had the idea of Rural Odyssey in my mind before but seeing how this 'yatra' was conducted made me sure that such a thing could work," she adds.

After the tour, Chandni decided to quit from her job and used her savings to start the enterprise, which became operational in March 2015. Today she has already taken three batch of travellers to rural trips.

Getmyparking.com

An Ola-Uber like aggregator app but for parking lots, Getmyparking.com is presently in pilot stage and is expected to be launched soon.

Currently, the co-founders of the start-up Chirag Jain and Rasik Pansare who met during the Jagriti Yatra 2012/13, are busy digitising parking lots across the Delhi-NCR. "As an experiment, we started out with digitising the parking lots in Spice Mall, Noida. And for past 8-9 months we have been digitising parking lots across Delhi; we are at more than 80 parking lots in Delhi currently," Pansare said.

Dawailelo.com

The founders of Varanasi-based online healthcare portal Dawailelo.com, Aditya Agrawal and Arpit Sarin, took up the Jagriti Yatra in 2012-13 and some months later after research and surveys started their enterprise.

According to Agarwal, they had the idea niggling at the back of their heads but lacked the confidence to take it forward. "We knew what we wanted to do but there is a thing of belief. When you interact with so many people and mentors, you realise that when so many are doing it, you can also do it," says Sarin.

Though the duo initially funded their venture by teaching at coaching classes and tuitions, they later got some funding through the Jagriti Yatra network. The start-up is now planning to expand to other tier-II cities besides Varanasi.

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