Between money and impact
The local was unusually empty and Bhaskar attributed this to Christmas-eve afternoon time. Most people had taken leaves from work and were traveling home or vacationing. On top of that the afternoon hour did not warrant much commuting population. He looked dejectedly at his formal business suit. It would have been better to take his car after all, as his wife Rajni had suggested. But the traffic killed him and he preferred the local. He had counted on the afternoon hour to offer him a painless travel today on which he could bet his five-thousand rupees custom-made business suit. It was an important meeting today and he had to look his best.
He checked if his blackberry showed any network. The phone still was a paper-weight. He put it back in his pocket and checked his watch. Fifteen minutes past one. He suddenly felt the heat. Or was it because he did not realize till now that he was traveling during the peak afternoon hour? He eased the topmost button on his crisp white shirt. He had to reach the VC’s office at 3 pm. Ending a fifteen-year old association with one of the most successful multinational companies had not been easy. But the entrepreneurial worm in the pit of his stomach had been too strong. Now he relied on the money he had saved in the past fifteen years to run his venture.
The last two years into his start-up had not been exactly exciting but he had given himself a timeframe of 3-4 years to see it to fruition. He had tried knocking the doors of a few venture capitalists but they did not seem too excited at the idea of putting money into an NGO trying to create an impact on the local artisans’ life, and also promising to be financially viable. Banks were more forthcoming with loans and so did some of his old professional contacts, but he did not want to start with too much debt and regret later. A modest but solid start was his idea of a good beginning.
He had told the earlier VC that while most of the money will go directly to the artist, thereby having a huge impact on the lives of them and their families and overall uplifting the local economy, a large part of it will be ploughed back to the business, helping it diversify and grow. But the Venture Capitalist had looked unsure. He had asked some unrelated bizarre questions. He did not seem like the sort of person who cared about having an impact on the lives of poor people, but only how much moolah he made at the end of the day. Probably he was born in high rise somewhere unaware of the millions hungry and dying, needing the help of people like him and Bhaskar.
Bhaskar sighed nervously. He hoped that the presentation today would be a lot more productive. Somebody somewhere would see that if more entrepreneurs tried to help others then overall the markets will become more positive, and the world will become a more pleasing place to bring our children into.