Srikanth Bolla CEO Of 50 Crores Bollant Industries & Owner Of NGO Samanvai
Srikanth says, “The world looks at me and says, ‘Shrikanth, you can do nothing.’ I look back at the world and say ‘I can do anything’.”
Who Is Srikanth Bolla: –
Born with blind deficiency and son of poor labor father and mother. Srikanth Bolla is now a CEO of the Multi-Crore Hyderabad-based Bollant Industries. The company employs disabled and uneducated people to manufacture eco-friendly disposable packaging products. Bollant Industries now operates five manufacturing units and has sales crossing USD 70 million each year.
Srikanth Bolla’s Childhood: –
Born in the village of Sitarampuram in Machilipatam, the city of Andhra Pradesh. Srikanth Bolla is a visually impaired son of poor farmers. When he was born, the villagers urged his parents to let him die, after all a blind son would be a burden, as per the villagers.
Thankfully, Srikanth’s family paid no attention to such advice. As he grew to be a little boy, his father took him to farm. But seeing that the boy was of no use as a farmer, his father decided that Shrikanth should study.
For the next two years of his school life, Shrikanth use to walk 5 km to reach his school. No one acknowledged him; he was made to sit on the last bench and was not allowed to partake in any sports or such activities. The teacher and principal of the school called Shrikanth’s parents and advice them to admit Srikanth at a special school.
After realizing that Shrikanth there was no encouragement for Shrikanth in his own school. It’s time to bring some change so his father enrolled him in a special school for physically challenging children.
Shrikanth flourished under the right guidance. He excelled both in academics and sports. He won international blind chess competition representing India and score 90 % in his 10th standard board.
Srikanth Bolla’s Teenage Time: –
During matriculation, Shrikanth wanted to pursue Science. But back then blind people were allowed to pursue Arts stream only. But Shrikanth refused to believe that his blindness would stop him from his dreams, so he sued the government and the educational board and won the case. Then got a letter saying that he could pursue Science but at his own “Risk”. Shrikanth overcame this hurdle by getting all of his lessons in class transformed to audio. He studied day and night. He scored 98% in his HSC exams. Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of the obstacles that Shrikanth would face. Shrikanth wanted to do engineering and applied for the entrance examination to all the top colleges like IIT, BITSPilani etc.. But these colleges didn’t accept him due to his disability. So he used
As Shrikanth was blind he was not able to see the practical session of his college. So he overcame this hurdle by getting all of his lessons in class transformed to audio. He use to listen the audio, understand it and then try to make notes from it. He studied day and night. His hardwork pays off as he scores 98% in his HSC exams. Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of the obstacles that Shrikanth would face. Shrikanth wanted to do engineering and applied for
Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of the obstacles that Shrikanth would face. Shrikanth wanted to do engineering and applied for the entrance examination to all the top colleges like IIT, BITS Pilani etc.. But these colleges didn’t accept him due to his disability. He realized there is no use of fighting with such education society. So he started to search for education society which would respect talent and quality of education.
So he used the internet to find a college that would enroll him in an undergraduate program. He found out some colleges in the United States of America that accept the physically challenged student. Shrikanth decides to enroll for the exam which would help him to opt for Colleges in the United States.
He banged with flourishing marks and got selected in four universities. Such Ivy League universities are MIT, Stanford, Berkley and Carnegie Mellon. He decides to enroll at MIT and became their first international blind student. At the age of 19, he traveled to Hyderabad, India, to develop a computer-training center for visually challenged students.
Progress In Life: –
Shrikanth firsthand knew the discrimination that blind people faced in India. So after graduating from MIT, Shrikanth gave up corporate opportunities in the US and came back to India to start SAMANVAI, a non-profit organization in Hyderabad, India. This organization provided individualized, need-based and goal-oriented support services to students with multiple disabilities. He promoted Braille literacy, a digital library and a Braille printing press/library to provide tutorial services for such students. Through SAMANVAI, Shrikanth has managed to mentor and nurture over 3,000 students and more.
Unemployment was still a big issue for the disabled in India. So he decided to start a company that provided employment to the physically challenged people. In 2012, Shrikanth started Bollant Industries Pvt. Ltd. The company manufactures eco-friendly products such as areca leaf plates, cups, trays, and dinnerware, betel plates, and disposable plates, spoons and cups. The company also manufactures adhesives and printing inks/printing products.
Success And Achievement: –
Nationally ranked chess player in India. Participated in national, zonal and state level chess tournaments. Won 2nd and 5th places in All-India Under-18 National Chess Championship, two state championships in under-18 Chess Tournaments, 12th Place and 18th Place in Chess Open Nationals, 6th and 10th Places in South Zone Chess Tournaments.
Shrikanth’s business model and his vision for the disabled impressed the angel investor Ravi Mantha. Ravi Mantha not only became an investor of the company but also Shrikanth’s mentor. Soon more investors like SP Reddy, Kiran Gandhi, Anil Chalamalasetty, Arun Alagappan, Srini Raju etc, invested in Shrikanth’s company. Recently Ratan Tata himself invested in Shrikanth’s company at an undisclosed amount.
He was awarded the “Distinguished Youth Service Award” by renowned Telugu poet Dr. J. Bapu Reddy.
The “Youth Leadership Award” by New Jersey Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula,
The “Youth Excellence Award” by the Telugu Fine Arts Society of New Jersey.
Srikanth also received several fellowship grants from the MIT Public Service Center and the MIT Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship to implement his service goals at SAMANVAI.
What Can We Learn From Him (Conclusion): –
Srikanth Bolla had the desire to succeed in life, his persistence and patience teach us a lot. He crossed every obstacle and pushed through every limit that had been set upon him by the society.
His story inspires us to stay strong no matter what life throws at you. He inspires us to push our limits, to stay true to our goals. Shrikanth never saw his blindness as a disability. To him it was normal and he accepted it in stride. His unwavering courage and confidence are truly inspirational. He teaches us that once we put our mind to it, anything is possible.