Vote now! - Sarath Babu nominated for Pepsi-MTV Youth Icon of 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Posted by: Vivek Iyer
Sarath Babu is among the 30 nominations for Pepsi-MTV Youth Icons of 2008. Pepsi and MTV, two of the leading youth brands in India, annually identify icons that match the aspirations of Indian youth. Past icons include Anil Ambani (2003), Rahul Dravid (2004), Shahrukh Khan (2005), M.S.Dhoni(2006) and Orkut(2007). This year the organizers have identified 30 “non-celebrity” individuals who match their requirements. To quote from the organizers
We were looking for the ones who may not be super achievers but those who have made a difference”.
From helping his mother sell idlis on Chennai’s streets to the top echelons of academia with an enrolment in chemical engineering at BITS Pilani and IIM-A, and now as the steward of his Food King Catering business, Sarath has come a long way.
His humility perhaps made him reject several high-brow offers from MNCs after his MBA. That, in a way, was the genesis of Food King Catering—with a paltry Rs 2,000 seed money.
Today, his food business spans six locations with Rs 9-crore turnover to boot and set to clock Rs 20 crore by year-end. For 28 year old Sarath, his mother, who once sold idlis on the pavements of Chennai and worked as an ayah, is a pillar of strength. A mother of 5 children, she earned to get her son, Sarath an education at BITS Pilani in Chemical Engineering.
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During his graduation there, he managed the college canteen as he had a natural inclination and knack for food. He then worked in a software company for 3 years post which he went to IIM Ahmedabad and studied Industrial Training. It is during this time in year 2000 that he went to Bihar and came across a report that stated 30% of Indians are under the poverty line.
This was an eye opener for Sarath who then decided to set up Food King. With Rs. 2000 as initial capital and one employee he set up Food king in the same year.
Through Food King he desires to give quality employment to the poor.
In the next 5 years he wants Food King to be a source of employment for 50,000 people by opening 400-500 branches all over the countries.
As of now there are 250 people in his company but the plans are big. Despite all his success, he is a simple man at heart and continues to live in a hut. He maintains that his inspiration is and will always be his mother.