This Social Entrepreneur Is Creating Livelihood And Employment Opportunities Essay
Having worked with market leaders like IL&FS and Mahindra Realty and observing the rapid change in the corporate landscape in the real estate industry in early 2000 S Narayan, Founder and President of Integron Human Capital Services Private Limited decided to venture into integrated property management space in 2003 and in custom staffing solutions space in 2005. While traversing the challenging yet satisfying entrepreneurial journey S Narayan has successfully built his image as Social Innovation Entrepreneur. Narrating his journey S Narayan spoke to Entrepreneur.com.
What inspired you to come up with your own venture in the property and facility management space?
Integron is a social enterprise focused on creating the livelihood for the urban poor. This is our way of giving back to the society, creating the first bread winners from families with no known source of steady income. Property and Facility management is a conduit to create such employment opportunities.
What led you to offer staffing solutions alongside?
While we were creating livelihood and employment opportunities we realized that it is important to ensure that the beneficiaries get all benefits they are entitled to. We took it upon ourselves to be 100 per cent compliant in both letter and spirit. Our FM customers noticed this and requested us to provide Staffing Services as they were not very comfortable with their existing service providers with regard to compliance. This got us into Staffing Solutions
Now, we have expanded that further and in association with Integron’s sister entity LIFT Academy we provide customized staffing solutions – from mobilization to training to deployment, to meet specific needs of the clients.
Explain your business model.
Integron is a social enterprise that was developed with a unique model to generate the first breadwinners from families with no known source of steady income at the bottom of the job pyramid while providing high quality Integrated Facility Management services. Integron believes that provision of services need not be compromised to achieve social objectives. We’re not an NGO, we make profits to make our model sustainable, but we don’t profiteer!
How has the journey been so far?
The journey has been both challenging and satisfying. We have gained recognition in the industry as an ethical company and our unique model of social engineering got us the ‘Social Innovation Entrepreneur’ award at the World CSR Congress in 2014. The business has been steadily growing and we have continued to acquire marquee clients.
Which are the leading companies you have worked with across the country and how you cater their needs?
We have blue chip companies as our clients. We service customers across many industry segments and companies like Sony, M&M Finance, HDFC Life, Clear Trip etc. have been engaging us over the years.
What are your future expansion plans? What would be the investment?
In FM we plan to expand to four more cities, apart from our home base Mumbai, over the next two years. In Staffing we are already present in 8 states and will expand in more states depending on Client’s requirements.
How did you fund your business? How did your secure the first deal with your client?
I and my partner do not come from a business family. Both of us were employed in the corporate world and decided to give that up to start our venture and we were not backed by anybody. We have grown through internal accruals over the years.
The initial clients were through contacts built over the years, working in the corporate sector. Subsequent clients have mainly been through word of mouth advertising through our existing clients.
How government policies are conducive enough to run a business of this kind?
The government has come up with several initiatives to boost skilling development in the country, PMVKY being one of the prominent one. Initiatives like the JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile) have been a major benefit to our industry as it helps pull the population from the unorganized sector to the organized one.
Planning to go for next round of funding? If yes please share the figure?
Yes, for the expected expansion in the immediate future we are looking at a funding of about 5 crores
What is your opinion of startups or other competitors in the field?
Startups are always welcome as they bring in fresh energies and new challenges in the market. In today’s environment, startups tend to disrupt existing business models and unless existing entities have a very robust model they may not survive, else they have to quickly adapt to the new demands. We welcome competition as they keep us on our toes! We are always open to learning from the competition in the market place and then evolve and develop a unique position that will make us stand apart.
Has Integron funded any startups?
Yes. We have incubated LIFT Academy within Integron for about a year and then have spun it off as a separate entity. LIFT is in the business of Skilling for employment which is synergistic to Integron’s staffing business.
What is your current revenue? What is the future projection?
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We are currently around Rs 20 crores and plan to expand by about 50 percent in this year. We have so far been focused on Mumbai and extended our Facility Management services till Pune. We plan to expand to other states in the near future and our next destination is Bengaluru. Over the next two years, we hope to be in four more states.
As far as Staffing Solutions is concerned we are already in 8 states and we would be in more places than that. We are working on an interesting model of partnerships with existing and potential clients.