He is Srikanth Bolla, a 24-year-old blind entrepreneur from Hyderabad. When he was born, his parents, who were earning Rs 20,000 in a year, were advised to get rid of him, but somehow he survived.
Despite getting 90% in class 10th, he was not allowed to chose Science stream for 12th; he sued the State Govt., fought for 6 months, and won the case. He scored 98% with Science in 12th.
When IITs and NITs didn’t give him hall ticket for writing competitive exams, he applied overseas and got selected in 4 of the best colleges ever created on Earth: MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, and Carnegie Mellon. He chose Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received a scholarship, and was MIT’s first International blind student.
After returning from the US in 2012, he launched BollantIndustries, where 60% of employees are poor, physically challenged. This 450 employees company is now worth Rs 50 crore, and recently, Ratan Tata invested in his venture.
As per him, “I was made blind by the perception of people..” When the world said to him that you can’t do anything, Bolla said, “But I look up at the world and say I can do anything.”
Srikanth Bolla is the founder of Bollant Industries. He is the first international blind student in brain and cognitive science and business at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Bolla started a Braille printing press in the Samanvai Center for children with multiple disabilities in Hyderabad, India, which provides accessible educational material available to disabled students. In 2012, Bolla started Bollant Industries, which manufactures Areca based products and provides employment to several hundred people with disabilities, with funding from Ratan Tata.Bollant has shown exceptional growth averaging 20% a month since inception, with 2016-17 fiscal year revenues over 25 Crores (USD 4 million). In April 2017, Bolla was named by Forbes magazine in its list of 30 under 30 across all of Asia, one of only three Indians in that list.
For the future, Srikanth has a vision of building a sustainable company with a workforce comprising 70% people with disabilities. He sure has come a long way in changing people’s perceptions about the capabilities of the differently abled.