A Peep Into The World of Soldierpreneurs

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Veteran turned Entrepreneur

Until the early 90s, most Indian armed forces veterans either took up a security job or started a security company. Even then, veterans, especially those who were technically qualified, started factories and businesses, but their numbers were a few.

Fast Forward to the new millennium; things started to change – Corporate opened their doors, and veterans started looking beyond security services.

Today, Soldierpreneurs – veterans who have turned entrepreneurs have ventured into multiple streams running factories, offering services in tech and non-tech domains.

There is also a sizeable population of Non-Resident veterans who are successfully running their ventures in foreign lands that has become their home.

For the veterans of the new millennium, age, gender, geography, and domain are not barriers anymore. They are open to taking risks and have no hang-ups about charting a new path exploring the unexplored.

Captain Harpreet Chadha, the Chairman & CEO of Legacy Resources Group, headquartered in Silicon Valley and a short services officer, is the first Indian army officer to go to Harvard Business School. Today, Capt. Chadha, a serial entrepreneur, successfully runs multiple businesses in silicon valley.

Soldierpreneurs, be it founders, co-founders in Limited companies or as solopreneurs running a one-person company as coaches, motivational speakers, endurance runners, etc., have become a beacon of hope and
guiding light for veterans.

Soldierpreneurs are curving their second career in fields that are in sync with their heart. For example, veteran Squadron Leader Meena Arora is a certified life coach and counsellor; she “picked up psychology” as she wanted to “make an impact in people’s lives.”

Similarly, Lt. Col Romil Barthwal, CEO of Boots and Crampons, an award-winning adventure and mountaineering company, leveraged his passion for fitness and mountaineering to becomes an Entrepreneur. “I always wanted a job where fitness is vital and not a desk job. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing,” says Barthwal.

As the saying goes, once a soldier is always a soldier; thus, when veterans spot a challenge affecting society, they can’t ignore it. Instead, they get involved in. either finding or contributing toward developing a solution. A case in point is Brigadier Deepak Bhatt, founder and CEO of SmartDrip. For example, during the lockdown, he motivated people to take up gardening as a stress buster.

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Armed forces skills its personnel in various fields, including but not limited to planning, administration, operations, finance, to name a few. Veterans are using their experience and knowledge to upskill and reskill individuals and corporate employees. Colonel Uday Jagavkar, founder and Director of Uniquee Touch, works with people and companies.   He says, “when I was in the corporate sector, I saw that there was a lot of difference between how we worked in the army and how work happens in the corporate sector. People could not communicate properly, whether it’s an email or verbal communication.” Thus, he started a company that provides softskiing training and career counselling. Soldierpreneurs are being recognised for their services and professional approach. Lt. Col Monish Ahuja, founder and Managing Director, PRESPL, has won multiple awards, including the coveted Biomass Energy Man of the Year Award. His company create alternative sources of energy using agricultural waste. However, Col Jagavkar has a word of caution and advice for aspiring Soldierpreneurs. First, he says, “while starting be patient as there won’t be inflow of money from day one.” And, as Solopreneurs, be ready to DIY and rough it. According to Col Jagavkar, budding Soldierpreneurs should avoid the temptation to start with huge investments. Instead, he advises “start small and build as your grow”, taking a “balance approach". This new bread of veterans is here to stay, grow and thrive. Soldierpreneurs are now guarding a new frontier - the nation’s economy. They are roaring to contribute by creating jobs and creating opportunities.