Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Guide for Entrepreneurs

For a country to grow, you need entrepreneurs, feels Mr. Chandra Mohan, a rare blend of an engineer-scientist, an inventor, a visionary entrepreneur, an educationist and, a top-class thought leader in total quality management. And when he speaks, everyone listens.  His second book, which is autobiographical guide for the entrepreneurs, was released in Chandigarh today, “Making Entrepreneurs: Lessons from a Lifetime”.

Mr. Chandra Mohan, who was conferred Padmashree in 1985 for his entrepreneurial acumen and innovative business strategies, believes that the difference between entrepreneurship and small business is significant and lies in innovation and high risk-taking ability, leading to far larger and faster wealth creation.

And risk, he points out, is at its highest when one is launching a drastic innovation in product or production technology in an intensely competitive field. This is just what he himself did with Punjab Tractors Ltd (PTL) and the 100% Indian ‘Swaraj’ tractor that his team designed and built from scratch in a national lab 47 years ago, then mass-produced and marketed it against the best of CKD-based global brand names.

Mr Chandra Mohan is passionate about upgrading technical skills of the young engineering graduates and insists on imparting entrepreneurial skills to them so that they can find solutions to teeming problems that face the country today, the reason that he founded and established the country's first school of excellence for TQM and entrepreneurship under Punjab Technical University.

Keshub Mahindra, founder and chairman emeritus of Mahindra & Mahindra, in his foreword to the book writes: “The true genius of Chandra Mohan is his inquisitive searching mind and his capacity to think out of the box.”

Looking back at the age of 80, Chandra Mohan has been entrepreneuring for the last 48 years of his professional innings of 57 years, with technology and innovation as the focus. That journey still continues, with a patent in photovoltaics filed as recently as 2008. Of course, he says, there have also been failures on the way – but they have not deterred him from sculpting new dreams. “Innovation is seemingly an organic component of my blood-stream,” he writes.

The book is what he himself describes as “a critical self-analysis in search of a process for identifying potential entrepreneurs out of students pursuing higher professional education and then grooming them for setting up their projects along with their professional courses... and mentoring them all the way through till they are ready to commence implementation as they graduate.”

With each of its chapters ending with highly useful tips encapsulated under “Learnings”, Chanbra Mohan sees entrepreneurship as a social responsibility, which he aptly concludes in the last chapter “Creating the Zen for Entrepreneurship?”:  “This self-analysis of lifetime journey began with the objective of drawing some lessons to help a society promote the cult of entrepreneurship for raising its living standards.”

(“Making Entrepreneurs: Lessons from a Lifetime”, Gyan Publishing House, pp.296. Price Rs.850)

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