Sanjay AJ: Landscaping his way to Entrepreneurship
Sanjay A.J.’s entrepreneurial venture, AJS Services is one of the winners of TATA First Dot, powered by NEN, India's first national platform for student startups.
Sanjay, a passionate 21-year-old started his venture when he had just entered his college life. He is currently pursuing his B.E. in Electrical & Electronics from Velammal College of Engineering, a college which is focused on fostering entrepreneurship amongst students and supporting potential entrepreneurs by providing them with necessary resources. Sanjay’s four-year-old startup, AJS Services, offers landscaping, painting, electrical, interior decorating solutions, started as a means to make some money to repay his parents. Over a period of time, Sanjay has created more than 350 contract jobs with diverse skills such as carpentry, painting, electrical wiring and gardening and also built up a solid client base, including a few corporate houses.
NEN spoke to Sanjay about his dreams and passion for entrepreneurship. Here is an edited version of the Interview.
Tell us about your startup. How did you come up with the idea?
I was strapped for cash in my first year of college. My parents were paying for my college education, and I felt guilty to bother them for pocket money. I felt it was a sheer necessity to make money, and fast forward a couple of months, I started AJS Services.
How did participating in TATA First Dot help your startup?
TATA First Dot has been a blissful experience. I got to meet people whose ideals can weigh a person down so that they are realistic about their goals, as well as seasoned entrepreneurs who've encouraged us to reach for the skies and not settle for anything less. I think TATA First Dot is an essential college experience for Student Entrepreneurs, because it helps us in establishing a peer group for us to delve into for inspiration whenever required.
Did you attend any mentoring sessions? If so, how did the perspectives help you?
Yes, and the perspectives of my mentors have helped me be less anxious and more gritty when it comes to planning for the future of my business.
What did you learn from interacting with industry leaders during the program?
That everyone has things planned out for their future but they can't actualize them until they see it through themselves.
Which entrepreneur or speaker inspired you the most?
Mr. Kishore Choukar and Mr. Gaurav Jain, CEO of Mast Kalandar were a great inspiration for sure.
How did winning TATA First Dot change things for you, especially in light of the media coverage?
The media coverage that TATA and NEN have provided me with has created quite the impression among my existing customers. Just when I thought the sheen of me being a college student would wear off, I now have major selling point for AJS Services. I guess these are things that really give a business an identity with respect to its outreach among the public.
What do you think is the future of entrepreneurship?
I've not met a single person who's against the idea of doing what they love on their own time and making a profit out of it. I think in the near future, student entrepreneurs will be coming out of the woodwork, and entrepreneurship will become something, that one has to take up at least once in their lives and not just when push comes to shove.