Up, Close & Personal
In conversation with Balaji Sahu, Chairman & CEO, 21st Century Preparation

Give a short introduction of your business. How did the idea for your business come about?

21st Century Preparation is a TALENT BUSINESS. I believe it is an unavoidable concept for advancement in the 21st century. I believe the success of MAKE IN INDIA will accelerate, if I get an opportunity to serve Indian Government in the Areas of EDUCATION, INDUSTRY and RESEARCH.    

This idea came to me long back in an international seminar, Recent Advanced Material Processing -10, when I changed my Topic of Presentation to “KNOWLEDGE AND APPLICATION GAP STUDIES,“ by realizing   poor presentation strength of Indian Engineering colleges to foreign attendees.  

From then, I have been continuously discussing in areas of education, industry and research with many Indian professors, engineers including IIT'ans, scientists, Guinness Book record holders, uneducated workers, VP- Manufacturing, etc. and with foreign expertise of Japan, Germany, South Korea etc. to understand the gap. 

Basically I am a Manufacturing Professional. I have many examples of Problem Solving at Process as well in Design and dealt with Many Shop Floor Improvement Projects and ERP Projects. I also teach students, attend many guest lectures and invited talk for Industry 2.0 which is part of 9 dot 9 Media. Out of curiosity, I do Researches in Mathematics and Researches in Mechanical & Metallurgy Engineering Fields.

I think my Business name and idea hit me at the right time, because around this time, my daughter's problem of not able to adjust In Engineering College hostel also became apparent. I have only one daughter and she is so close to my heart. I decided to leave my job and due course started thinking to change India and globally afterwards.

·What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Different businesses need different skill sets. In manufacturing sector, team effort, along with creative ideas and innovation are the top priorities.

Entrepreneurs must divert their focus from finance & accounting reports and look towards potential people who have basic knowledge and understand innovation. Just think of the catchy tagline of Idea: An Idea Can Change Your Life. 

And lastly of course, the permanent or sustainable success is attitude. Just think of the atmosphere Vodafone creates with its delightful advertisements and catchy tagline: Happy to Help.

Now it is time for us Indians and the government to work hand in hand and get over the damages caused long back by the British with their divide and rule policy. Nor should anyone be able to say that the Indians are like a bunch of crabs, always bent on pulling down one another.

·What has been your most successful form of marketing?

I have started only three months back so at present it is story telling that is the most successful way. I discuss and answer their questions on how I can change the education industry and research systems. I always give real/practical examples so the communication is convenient and clear. 

·Tell us about some mistakes you have made and what you have learnt from them.

Whatever mistakes I have made has all contributed to my learning. And today I am here, talking to you about my line of work, this is proof enough that my mistakes did not have any long term effects.

Do you think Indian government is doing enough to help & raise small businesses in India?

India has been creating infrastructure and networks, all aimed at success but a lot more is yet to be achieved, in Make In India and particularly in manufacturing sector.

To develop real talent for 21st century, advanced countries like US, UK and Germany are seen lagging in updating themselves as per the sudden improvement in communication and IT since the last two decades.

The Modi government has successfully revamped a lot of factors, but there is a lot of talent that is yet to get proper exposure. The entrepreneurs and common people are also responsible that some basic problems still exist. It is a waste of time to always criticize the government. People, who are the key initiators of change, often fail themselves miserably.