With the dream of bagging an MBA degree, Prafull Billore appeared for CAT three years in a row. Four years ago, he gave his last shot, but like the two earlier occasions, failed. Four years hence, don’t be surprised if Billore recruits an MBA to manage the business he set up.
At a time when job losses and wage cuts have plagued crores of people across sectors, the journey of a B.Com graduate from Madhya Pradesh from a crest fallen CAT reject to a promising entrepreneur is a shining example of hope and courage.
In 2017 Billore came to Ahmedabad in search of a job to overcome his failure to earn an MBA degree. He is now the owner of a company worth over Rs 3 crore.
“I left college on the seventh day. I gathered courage, bought everything needed and started a tea stall on the roadside. It kept me alive and became my business. I am married to tea and simply love it,” reminisces Billore, the founder of MBA Chaiwalla.
When he started the tea stall by borrowing Rs 8,000 from his parents, he was merely 20. By the age of 24 he made a company worth Rs 3 crore.
Like most youngsters, Billore also wanted to pursue an MBA. He appeared for the CAT for three years but could not succeed. Tired of failure and exasperated with himself, he put all his books away and locked himself in a room for a few weeks.
He was surrounded by darkness and could not understand what to do. Then he gathered himself and began looking for opportunities in different cities. Finally, he was recruited as a delivery boy at a McDonald’s outlet in Ahmedabad for Rs 37 per hour. He got a promotion soon, but Billore was not happy with what he was doing.
His parents wanted him to get an MBA degree and in deference to their wishes, Billore took admission in a college. He continued with part-time jobs while studying.
He wanted to start his own business but had no money. That’s when the idea of launching a business that needed small capital struck him. He zeroed in on the idea of setting up a humble tea stall.
To get the initial money, he lied to his father. Billore told him he needed Rs 8,000 for college. With this money, he started his own tea stall on Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway in Ahmedabad.
Initially, the business didn’t click. Then he started going to people to serve them tea. Billore recalls how his customers would be surprised when he spoke to them in English. This is how the tea stall attracted more customers. He named his tea stall Mr Billore Ahmedabad Chaiwala which became popular as MBA Chaiwala.
Billore’s ideas became the talk of the town. He started open microphone sessions on the roadside at his stall to attract more customers and entertain people.
Young people were quite impressed with his ideas. On one Valentine’s Day, he offered free tea to those who were single, and this idea went viral. He also got calls to set up his tea stall at weddings and other events.
Billore’s ideas have become so famous that people are keen to obtain franchises of his tea stall. Right now he has around 11 franchises in different cities.
He has also become a motivational speaker and gives lectures in B-schools.
Recalling his struggling days, Billore says when he started his tea stall, family members and friends scolded him. He faced the wrath of municipality officials and was even threatened by goons. But nothing could stop him.
“People used to tease me and call me a chaiwala. I learned that if you have to do business, don’t pay heed to such remarks. None will come to your help, but if you become successful, everyone will respect you,” says Billore.
His income doesn’t come from the franchises alone. He charges Rs 50,000 per day for serving tea at weddings.
He has also invested in cryptocurrencies and share market. Shares of the Adani group and Reliance are his favourites.
The Covid-19 outbreak has ravaged India. Billore wants to do his bit in these difficult times by raising funds for those who are suffering from cancer and heart ailments.
He wants to raise funds in amounts ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. And for that he has plans to organise a tea marathon.
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