Today, Steve Jobs is not alive, but his legacy is. A great business can be considered the best gift anyone can give to the next generation. The 9-5 schedule never suited me. Once you start thinking big, you cannot go back to your previous self, says Prabha Shankar Sharma, founder of PCF Construction.
My two start-ups closed due to the lack of management. The first eight months during the lockdown, I spend without earning a single penny. I had thought of starting my business with my friends, but today they are nowhere in the picture. Everyone is new in the company.
I am a commerce student. It was in my final year of CA that I decided to do business. Like other parents, mine were also worried about me. So, they disagreed with the idea of business. My determination was strong, as was their opposition. I packed my bag and left home. I started my entrepreneurial journey with the investment of Rs15000 that was given to me by my friend Sumit.
Initially, I started with my company PSS Export. In it, we procured material for other companies. Meanwhile, I also opened a restaurant business, Tiffin Port in Ranchi, Jharkhand, with my friends. Unfortunately, before lockdown, I faced many problems regarding staff and partners in Tiffin Port in February. My partners left. The circumstances became such that the business crumbled.
I had nothing else to do. During this time, I also thought of doing a job. I was giving interviews, and I was able to secure a job. However, once you give your heart to something, you can’t return. Business is all I think about. I did not take the job and continued on the path of entrepreneurship.
PSS Export also shut down. Now I was thinking to come up with new ideas. Then I saw loads of construction work happening in my district. I studied and researched the whole construction business. I realized that the biggest problem construction companies face was suppliers. Till now, no supplier in India has emerged big. I started my company, PCF Construction, in 2020.
The other company that I started in the same year is PCF Agri-tech which is related to horticulture. We procure vegetables, fruits, spices from the northeast and move them to the pan India level. I used to travel northeast a lot. There I saw agriculture and learned about valuable things in the market that people are ignorant of. I have had this idea in my mind since 2016.
Darangi in Assam is Asia’s biggest banana market. Meghalaya is the home of Lakadon turmeric that is the best of its kind. It contains more than six per cent of curcumin, while the turmeric we have in our homes contains only 2-3 per cent curcumin.
In foreign countries, people use turmeric for medicinal purposes, use it in perfume, drink it with milk, and whatnot. Turmeric is beneficial in the prevention of cancer, and there are hundreds of cancer cases in India. We have the best quality material in our country. We are not using it because nobody has deeply invested in this business.
India is the second-largest producer of agriculture, yet we lag far behind in the use of technology in farming. There has been no modernization of the agriculture sector in our country.
A farmer invests his everything in farming and hopes for a good crop. He is good at farming, but he is not good at selling his output in the market. In Jharkhand, ladyfinger is left at farms when farmers have to sell it for Rs1. At the same time, the market price of ladyfinger is Rs40. All of this is happening due to the middlemen.
So, via PCF Agri-tech, I want to create a direct channel between farmers and the market. The company would have only its operating cost and salaries. Other than that, the benefit will be in the hands of farmers. We want to create a processing industry that is not present in India.
Normally, educated people do not prefer farming as a profession. Those who are doing it lack knowledge and education. We will be educating farmers and making the necessary services available to them. They can grow on their own. It is the next revolution we are looking for where farmers will be leading the growth.
We are also working with Women Reform Organization that is a Nigerian NGO. We will be working for them on an agriculture project.
For me, money is not an important thing. The experience I will get from my journey is.
A person in a job usually takes care of her family members, but an entrepreneur looks after all employees, workers, labourers connected with him. In a job, a person thinks of earning x amount. At the same time, an entrepreneur looks to invest that money in the ecosystem and generate more value.
My love for business is such that I cannot separate myself from it. I am glad that I have a great team and mentors who help me expand my venture. I am also very grateful to my spiritual guru, who provided me with the sanctity to work persistently in hard times.
Often we seem to lose our mind in difficult situations and forget to see the opportunity in front of our eyes. My spirituality keeps me sane through my business’s thick and thins and motivates me to set high goals and achieve them.
This was Prabha Shankar’s journey of PCF Construction and Agritech, an entrepreneur helping the agriculture sector and a significant supplier in the construction industry. Prabha Shankar’s story makes us realise what being a BOSS is all about. Leaving one’s home to kickstart a business from scratch requires the balls of steel.