The Startup Weekend in Aurangabad last week was more than just an event; it laid the template for future engagement between academia and industry to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in small towns in India. Here’s the story straight from the ground.
Namdev Anerao has travelled more than three hours by road to reach Aurangabad from his village in Beed district of Maharashtra.
It is an impromptu trip and he has had to quickly change his plans following a phone call from the Chamber of Marathwada Industries and Agriculture (CMIA), the local body of industries in the region.
Two years ago, CMIA had awarded him one lakh rupees to encourage his innovative spirit, and since then the association does not spare any opportunity to connect him to people who can help him realise his dream.
Local solution for local problem
A farmer once, 34-year-old Anerao is on a mission to help his fraternity of small farmers who are unable to deploy large machinery and tractors on their fields due to the high cost of renting these and the relatively small size of their farms. A problem that is typical to most parts of agricultural lands across India.
He has developed a low-cost tractor that costs him Rs 35,000 to make and which he sells for Rs 65,000 as and when he gets an order. It takes him all of 10 days to single-handedly work on the product from scratch. He is awaiting a patent on his machine.
While he is working on his innovations, Anerao earns his livelihood in the construction sector fabricating roofs for houses. His father, meanwhile, manages their field.
Every time Anerao receives a call from CMIA, his hopes soar — ‘Will I meet someone who will help me set up a factory to manufacture these machines?’ ‘Will this be the end of the struggle and the beginning of a new and exciting phase?’ ‘Is my dream about to come true?’
Also read: Beed farmer invents versatile crop machine
(Photos by R Raja)
Story by DIPTI NAIR