Your entrepreneurial story
It all started with a loan of Rs 500 that my father procured for opening a small sweet shop in Jalandhar Cantonment. In my childhood days, we used to work in the shop and attend school in the evening. I wanted to study Law and therefore I had to work extra hours during the day and attended Law School in the evening. Lovely Sweet Shop started gaining popularity and became a household name in Punjab. In the early ’90s, the Indian economy began to open up and I wanted to get into motor dealership with Bajaj. Initially, my family was quite reluctant about diversifying in this domain. After debating with them we applied for a dealership with Bajaj but faced rejection due to our sweet-shop background. LPU Such a lovely place LPU Such a lovely place LPU Such a lovely place
We worked hard to convince them and finally got the opportunity. After establishing first Bajaj dealership in 1991 there was no stopping the Lovely autos bandwagon. We set up two more in Phagwara 1994 and Kapurthala in 2004. Today, we are one of the most successful Auto Dealers in Northern India. In the late ’90s, I decided to open an educational institute in Punjab in order to give back to the society. It took us two years to get approval from AICTE to open a Management School. Today, Lovely Professional University is India’s largest private university in terms of size and scale and has students from 30 countries.
Your vision behind entry in education
Education as a sector excites me as it has the power to change the destiny of not just one person but the entire family. In the 90s, there were not many options available for quality higher education in Punjab which led to a lot of brain drain from the state. This got me thinking.
Your expectation from a student
A large part of educating young minds is to train them to think. We motivate students to think and to have more ideas. We want students to share as many ideas as they could to solve real problems.
We have our own Incubation Centre which works as an independent Division. It is open to all students no matter which stream or year they belong to. If they have an interesting idea, we would be more than happy to mentor, train and invest in them. We also conduct training sessions, idea generation workshops and train mentors who could be assigned to the students. What India needs at the moment is more job creators, therefore, training these young minds to think and motivating them to materialize their ideas into something big is what we aim to do.
Your Opinion on Future of Indian Education
We are highly positive and hopeful about the current education scenario in India. We can see that a lot of universities are now coming up with incubation centres to promote start-up culture among students. Also, apart from the regular engineering or medical courses, a lot of new-age courses are gaining momentum in India.
A recent positive step is the new Study in India program introduced by the government. The program will play a big role in Indian educational institutes raising their standards across the board, leading to benefits for every stake holder.
Ways to hone students’ entrepreneurial skills
Every student must have a self-belief. They should believe that they are capable of making a change. The first step towards being an entrepreneur is to believe in yourself and be ready to accept challenges. We motivate students to realize the power of their dreams. Educational bodies need to be more proactive in creating a healthy environment for startups. We want every student to have the freedom to express their ideas and we make sure that they reach out to mentors to discuss it further.
We try to create awareness among students about building their own business as a viable career opportunity and the way LPU Startup School can work with them. LPU has 24 certified E-Coaches who along with LPU Startup School Plan and execute the first few activities. The Incubation Program is planned and executed by a dedicated staff in LPU Startup School.