Entrepreneurship can mean so many things for different people. The mainstream startup and entrepreneurship narratives are all about creating value, wealth and becoming an x of y (Uber of India, Airbnb of India, or Amazon of India) and so on.
For a rare few, entrepreneurship is about finding oneself, and more importantly, pursuing a path to societal change and uplifting people from poverty. There are many examples of social enterprises, apart from conglomerates such as Tata who spend disproportionately on philanthropy. But helping the impoverished fight hunger in a country of India’s size, will take much more than just philanthropy.
When Nand Kishore Chaudhary started thinking about building an enterprise for Rajasthan’s weaving community, creating wealth wasn’t even a top priority. During 1978 to1985, Nand Kishore observed the stigmas attached with girl children in the remote corners of India. Around Churu, and elsewhere in Rajasthan, he also observed how the community of weavers was considered “the untouchables.”
“Noone would even shake hands with them,” he tells me in this conversation.
Over the past few decades, Jaipur Rugs has combined its crusade of fighting social injustice with a deep enterprise vision by connecting deeper with the communities it serves.
For Nand Kishore, this journey meant “losing himself.”
“I got into entrepreneurship to discover myself. The more I lose myself, the more I find myself.”
“I became conscious of the false feeling of goodness, and watched myself operate and struggle as a micro manager. I was like hard ice. I had to melt to become a leader,” he says.
Listen to this podcast to get inspired from one of the most important social enterprises to be built over the past few decades. Also, learn from Nand Kishore’s journey of self-discovery and how to create building blocks for a community-led enterprise that can potentially outlive its founder.
Additional reading: I found this profile of Nand Kishore in Forbes magazine by Anshul Dhamija really helpful.
Additional listening: Phanindra Sama on how entrepreneurship is a self purification process