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Why One Indian Entrepreneur Is Investing In Smart Villages, Not Smart Cities

Monday, October 31, 2016

Varun Chandran grew up in a village in rural India. Till his late teens, he didn’t know what the Internet was. Now, he’s running a startup, Corporate360, that works with IT clients around the world. The global community, he says, should invest in smart villages as much as they are in smart cities.

Chandran spent his childhood in Kerala, playing football, which garnered him a scholarship to play professionally. He traveled around India, competing in regional games. In Delhi, he struck up a friendship with another footballer. When time came to go their separate ways, he gave Chandran a slip of paper: it had his email address scribbled on it. Chandran didn’t know what an email address was, or the Internet.  “I kept asking, do you have a phone number and this guy said, no, email is the best way to keep in touch.”

He returned home to Kerala and went immediately to a cyber cafe to find out.

While football was fun, Chandran wanted a more professional career. He left his farming village in Kerala for Bangalore, hoping to get a job in one of the many call centers. After 40 interviews, he was repeatedly rejected. “I couldn’t speak English very well and that was a big setback,” he says.

Source: Forbes (link opens in a new window)

Base of the Pyramid, impact investing
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