Army veterans venturing into entrepreneurship after retirement.
Ennai, India | Red Newswire | By Ranjani Ayyar, TNN | 29 Dec, 2015, 05:01 PM IST.
Colonel Rajeev Mannali trained to kill but always had a desire to save lives. After dedicating over 33 years to the Indian Army, he retired in January 2009 to pursue his passion for healthcare. He’s not alone. Armed with credentials and field experience, several former defence personnel are increasingly venturing into entrepreneurship.
Mannali worked with hospitals in Kerala and Vellore for five years before starting Healthy World in 2013, a consultancy firm to assist those who wanted to enter the healthcare space. He now focuses on his pet project – a hospital that will focus on prevention rather than cure. For him, the transition from the strict army life to a civilian way is demanding. “First, I deliberately forgot my army life to understand a civilian’s life. Then, I retrieved all the values that I learnt in the army and infused it in my life as a civilian,” said Mannali.
For some, the central idea comes even from an unfortunate incident. When the infamous sexual assault by an Uber driver in Delhi came to light in 2014, R N Jayaprakash, founder, Agni Group, and Saleem Ali, former special director of CBI, decided to come together and build an organization that would help bring down the rising rate of crimes in the country. Thus Fourth Force, a Chennai-headquartered background verification company backed by senior ex-law enforcement personnel from CBI, RAW , RPF, and the state police, was born. With an office in each state across the country, over 135 people on the field and a proprietary platform for seamless integration of work, the company is set to provide due diligence services for the corporate, BFSI and domestic sector. Even as the company was just launched last week, 15-16 companies have already evinced interest.
Colonel Samrendra Kumar, who retired from the army in 2007 after 21 years of active service, set up Mitkat Advisory Services in 2010 to provide risk management consultancy services along with an ex-Navy officer Pavan Desai. With over 100 clients in the banking and oil sector, Kumar believes his stint in the army instilled in him values such as leadership and team work that have helped him succeed. Kumar has also founded Def Mart, a social, for-profit enterprise that provides energy efficiency products, and Idea on India, a conclave for entrepreneurship ideas.
“My days in the army taught me valuable lessons of delegation and commitment to excellence which are critical to running a business as well,” said Kumar.
Colonel Manjeet Singh Bilochpura’s brief association with former President Abdul Kalamand other personalities like Ratan Tata inspired him to set off on his own. After over 22 years of service, he set up Lancers Army School in Surat, Gujarat in 1992. Bilochpura, who is a first-generation entrepreneur, owns several resorts in Goa. Besides a thriving agriculture business, he also has a real estate and construction business in Mumbai and Rajasthan.