An American investor, business magnate, author and philanthropist, Bill Gates has all those qualities a perfect entrepreneur must possess. It was in 1975 when Bill Gates and friend Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft, and this became the largest PC software company in the world.
Bill Gates in his career at Microsoft held a prestigious position as the Chairman and CEO of the company. Gates is considered one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. He has been criticized for his business tactics which have been considered as anti-competitive.
It was in 2009 when Bill Gates started The Giving Pledge along with Warren Buffet, whereby they and other billionaires pledge to give away half of their wealth to philanthropy. He stepped down as the Chairman of Microsoft in February 2014 and took a new post of Technology Advisor to support the then newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella.
Bill Gates is currently the richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of $ 86.9 billion as of April 2017.
Watch his inspiring video down here:
Bill Gates And His Life Secrets
Arunachalam Muruganantham: India’s Social Entrepreneur And Menstruation Man
While a majority of men and women in many urban cities of India still consider the menstrual cycle a taboo, this man from Coimbatore changed the perspective of millions of women in rural India. Arunachalam Muruganantham, also know as PadMan, in an effort to impress his wife decided to produce sanitary napkins himself. Little did he know that a few years down the line, his whole world would be turned upside down, from almost getting a divorce to becoming the first man to wear a sanitary pad.
The initial idea seemed simple enough. Buy cotton, cut it in the size of a regular pad and wrap it using a thin layer of cotton. However, the feedback he received from his wife was devastating. His homemade pad was useless and she would rather continue using old rags. He did not stop there. He first enlisted his sisters to test his pads. When they refused, he visited a local medical school and asked the girls studying in those colleges. When they also eventually stopped helping, he created a makeshift uterus using a football bladder and goats blood to test the sanitary napkins himself.
When the neighbours started complaining about a foul smell and stained clothes, his wife left him and went to live with her mother. But, it was no longer about helping his wife anymore. Arunachalam was on a mission to produce low cost sanitary pads for all the girls and women in his country.
A school dropout from Coimbatore, Arunachalam challenged an age old taboo and changed a fiercely competitive industry with his cheap and affordable good quality sanitary napkins. After years of research, lots of sacrifices, a great deal of hard work and the willpower to succeed, he successfully created a low cost machine for the production of sanitary pads. His easy to use machines, priced at $ 950, created a revolution in India challenging the $ 500,000 imported machines. More than a decade later, his single product has helped employ more than 7000 women in rural India, selling 1,300 machines to 27 states in India and 6 countries.
However, the man behind the ‘Second White Revolution’ is still as humble as ever. Startup Stories had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Arunanchalam Muruganantham about his surreal journey. Speaking about his experiences and his journey, he says, “I feel grateful for what has happened so far it is what has made me what I’m today.” Despite changing the lives of over 3.5 million women in rural India, Arunachalam feels there’s still a long way to go. “Awareness is missing. But things do have changed compared to 2 decades before.. still a long way to go.” He further adds, “Menstrual hygiene is totally connected to a women’s health and lifestyle. Sanitary pad does play a role. We have over 80+% women not taking care of themselves. A lot of efforts needed to make them use hygienic practice.”
However, Arunachalam feels the Government can help boost this movement forward. “Tax has increased the price of pads. But still. Cost is one side of the coin. Government can make it tax free – the loss they might incur is not a loss at all as making pads affordable and accessible will make more women healthy – that is a greatest asset of the nation. Women strong – country strong.”
We could not agree with him more! India is a country that has seen some extremely powerful women in the leading roles. Nevertheless, like they say, there is strength in numbers and only when men and women work together, will this revolution be validated. It takes a lot of strength, courage and determination to take such a brave step forward. Startup Stories wishes Mr. Arunachalam Muruganantham all the best for his dream of making all the women of India use sanitary napkins.
4 Startups Founders Who Bounced Back After Failing
Failure is a part of life, maybe even a bigger part of the business. If fear of failure is holding you back, take inspiration from the stories of these successful startup entrepreneurs who bounced back after major failures.
Apple has one of the greatest comeback stories in tech history. Founder Steve Jobs was fired from his company in 1985. Apple found itself operating at a loss, as it inched towards failure. In the 12 years that followed, in need of a new approach, Apple hired back Jobs in 1997 and he scored a partnership with Microsoft to invest $150 million in the company. A year later, the company introduced the iMac and for the first time since 1995, returned to profitability. The rest, as they say, is history.
Also known as the real life Iron Man, Elon Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX both hit cash shortages just as the economy was tanking in 2008. SpaceX applied for a contract with NASA as its last hope to bail itself out and it won. The $1.6 billion contract has kept Musk’s space dream afloat.
Musk, who nearly went bankrupt launching Tesla Motors and rocket company SpaceX, is now worth more than $20 billion.
Evan Williams introduced “blogging” to the world when he launched Blogger in 2000. However it came without a business model, and a year later, Williams found himself out of cash and had to lay off the entire staff. Without any employees, Blogger dangled from a thin rope as Williams tried to find ways to make money out of it and turn it into a real challenging company. By late 2002, Google acquired the website for a reported $50 million. 13 years later, Blogger is alive even today. As for Williams, he did just fine cofounding Twitter and then Medium.
In the early 1990s, technology major IBM was on a downward spiral, with plans in place to break the company into several smaller operating units. Lou Gerstner took over the company in 1993 and started one of the greatest business turnarounds in tech. After huge layoffs and putting cash through marketing assets, Gerstner put the obstacles on the plan to break up the company and united everyone under one IBM. It worked, and the company survived.
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