Raise a crore with help from top Parsi businessmen to provide interest-free loans to promising entrepreneurs from the community, keep target of Rs 5 cr
Article by Arita Sarkar | Mid-Day
Tavadia’s battery pack is easy to install in bikes
Parsis at the top of the business world are now extending a helping hand to start-ups from the community. The World Zarathushti Chamber of Commerce – India (WZCCI) has shortlisted 8-10 entrepreneurs for interest-free loans up to Rs 25 lakh. The organisation has already raised Re 1 crore in donations from high net worth individuals (HNWI), and the goal is to raise Rs 5 crore to make the initiative self-sustaining.
WZCC has taken up the project in collaboration with the World Zoroastrian Organisation. Yazdi Tantra, vice president (Global) of WZCC, said the funds have been donated by around 10 HNWI from the Parsi community. Once they collect Rs 5 crore, the loan repayments will keep the initiative going.
“We have received around 28-30 entrepreneurs’ proposals so far, from different parts of the country, and have shortlisted 8-10 of them. The loan amount will be between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh, and there will be a moratorium period of two years, after which the applicant will have to start repaying the loan,” said Tantra. Each of the shortlisted candidates made a detailed presentation of their product, and WZCC’s business advisory committee is evaluating their prospects. Tantra added that the process of finalising the first set of candidates will be done in another couple of months, after which the amount will be disbursed.
The applicants spanned across various age groups and presented a variety of services and products. Tantra recalled that there were proposals for chemical manufacturing, school equipment and facilities for container terminals, among others.
One of the shortlisted contenders that stood out was Urvakhsha Tavadia, 25, who set up Ruzen Inc with his father in June 2017. After pursuing a Masters degree in power engineering from The State University of New York, Tavadia set up a factory in Asangaon with the help of his father, Rayo. The company builds axle release hub motors, battery pack assembly kits for bikes and plastic injection moulded products.
The battery pack assembly kit, particularly, can be set up on a bike by anyone. “We supply efficient connecting systems that do not require equipment like spot welders, which can cost around $280. Instead by using our all-inclusive kit, one can arrange the battery pack the way they want,” said Tavadia.
What started with a factory of 1,080 sq ft, now has expanded to 3,000 sq ft. His business also employs 13 women at the factory. After marketing his products in several countries Tavadia is now planning to venture into the health industry, for which he needs a loan of around R4 crore, and the WZCC funding could be just the launchpad he needs.