How Celebrating Success Can Inspire Next Generation

Have you experienced a feeling of deep satisfaction seeing a fellow awardee win that feels greater than your award?

I felt this on April 30, 2023.

That evening, I was honoured, and so was a dear friend of nearly three decades. He was ailing, so he asked me to receive his award. Both moments – my award and the one I collected for Gaurav Patra – was special and deeply satisfying.

But what caught my fancy that evening was the achievements of the youngest awardee of the evening and what he said while accepting the award.

Asish Mohapatra, 42 years, has co-founded two unicorn startups — OfBusiness and Oxyzo Financial Services.

Sounds HUGE?

You haven’t read everything yet.

Oxyzo became a unicorn in its maiden funding round.

While Asish is the CEO of OfBusiness, his partner (in life and work) Ruchi Kalra is the CEO of Oxyzo and Co-founder of both.

Staying with numbers, there’s more.

Asish and Ruchi are the co-founders of the youngest company in India to —

* Reach a revenue of 100 crores in one year

* Cross a turnover of 1000 crores within three and a half years of starting operations

* Surpass 10,000 crores in six years of being in business

In seven years, they now have close to 4200 employees on their rolls, and in the last fiscal year, they topped 16000 crores.

Not impressed?

Maybe you think many start-ups boast huge turnover but bleed each day they are in business.

Fair point! Know this — OfBusiness has been profitable for nearly four-and-a-half years and closed last financial year with a profit after tax (PAT) of nearly 500 crores. Oxyzo has been making profits since its inception and ended last year with almost 200 crores PAT.

This is a story of the real achievement of first-generation entrepreneurs. Numbers don’t lie. A simple Google search can confirm.

While trying to digest these phenomenal numbers, I was taken aback by what Asish said while accepting his award:

“I am only the 4th in the world to have founded two unicorns. I can guarantee you – of all the people sitting in the audience – nobody knows me.”

He was there to receive the Showcase Odisha Award at an event that recognised and celebrated the exceptional accomplishments of individuals and organisations from the state who have made significant contributions in their respective fields.

He rattled off more statistics of finding very few Odias at the top as he moved from IIT to ISB and from ITC to McKinsey & Co.

“The disadvantage we Odias have is that we do not have enough champions of excellence in our field, or we don’t know about them as they are outside the state,” he said.

Asish elaborated, “The problem is about awareness. It is about celebration. There are many successful Odias outside the state. You need to celebrate them so that more people come to know and are inspired.”

“Media needs to do it; what’s needed are agencies like PNV Foundation that have created a platform such as this one. That will ensure that those awarded today – captains of their fields – are popular in their state.”

Lessons from Mumbai Cricket

To further elucidate his point, he gave the analogy of Mumbai cricket’s performance in the 1920s, which he had recently read about.

“Though matches were held in the Bombay Gymkhana, Bombay was poor in cricket. Lahore, Calcutta & Madras were breeding grounds for cricketing talent. Till Vijay Merchant became the best opening batsman in the world through his talent and perseverance. His photograph was then pasted in every stadium in Maharashtra. That spurred others to come forward. Then came Polly Umrigar, Vinoo Mankad, Chandu Borde, Dilip Sardesai, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vensarkar, and then – Sachin Tendulkar – all great batsmen. Each of them brought capital into the field of Mumbai Cricket.”

Why Celebrating Success Matters

Asish concluded his acceptance speech with, “Capital and captains are very important. And for that to happen, podiums like these where such stories are celebrated and relayed are much needed.”

And then came his parting shot:

“My next generation should achieve more than me. And I hope all of you who have heard the stories of all winners today will return and share these stories so that they inspire others to better these achievements.”

A Call to Action

Why did I pick this?

It’s the same reason why I write.

I love hearing stories. I love reading stories. And I love telling stories.

Asish Mohapatra’s story is an important one to tell. His success is not just a matter of pride for his state or our country; it is an achievement at a global level.

Thanks to PNV Foundation for recognising and felicitating him. But it should not end here.

His story must be relayed far and wide so that others know and are inspired to dream, dare, and do what Asish did. And as he says, “surpass his achievements, much like the Mumbai batsmen he mentioned who succeeded each other.”

You and I have a role to play here. As you can see, I am doing mine by publishing this one.

The ball is in your court now.

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