Srikanth Bolla is the first international blind student in Brain and Cognitive Science and Business at the prestigious MIT ( Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Born visually impaired in Machilipatnam, in Andhra Pradesh in 1992, his family was mainly dependent on farming. After his matriculation, Srikanth Bolla wanted to pursue science, but was not permitted to do so. Bolla filed a case, and after a six-month wait, he was allowed to pursue science at his own risk. He topped his class with 98% on his XII board exams.
Bolla was denied admission to coaching institutes for IIT, where he wanted to study engineering, because he was handicapped. Not willing to give up, he registered for a few universities in the US and gained entrance into MIT. He was given corporate opportunities in America, but he was looking for some innovative idea in India.
Today, he runs Bollant Industries Limited as its CEO, with five factories, employing over 650 people, nearly half of whom are differently abled men and women.
Bolla’s parents, Damodar Rao and Venkatamma (who were cousins), were devastated that their baby was born blind. The blindness was the genetic effect of a consanguineous marriage, and his parents received a lot of unsolicited — and wholly unwelcome — advice. “Snuff out the blind boy”, some members of the rural community said: “He is utterly useless, and you’ll struggle to bring him up.” Fortunately, his parents turned a deaf ear to these heartless suggestions.
From a ‘useless baby’ to a millionaire, this is the story of how a single person, despite a disability and various roadblocks, came out stronger than before. Srikanth Bolla’s story is a true story of inspiration, not just because of the hurdles he faced and conquered, but because of his continuing battle with the world to provide better opportunities to people with multiple disabilities.
Having faced challenges at every stage during his education, he always had the urge to do something differently. Rejecting a couple of job offers from multinational corporations in the US, Bolla decided to become an entrepreneur so that he could be a job-provider rather than be a job-seeker.
Pooling together a few lakh rupees, Bolla embarked on his entrepreneurial journey and set up Bollant Industries Ltd. in 2014 to fashion eco-friendly, disposable products and packaging solutions, made entirely out of natural leaf and recycled paper. The product portfolio includes areca leaf plates, dinnerware, food trays, cups and eco-friendly products, including disposable plates, paper cups and biodegradable products made from betel leaves.
From a small facility in Hyderabad, Bollant has, today, grown to several manufacturing units. Thereafter, several marquee investors pitched in. The spark in Bolla and his tenacity to fight against all odds encouraged a number of investors, including Ratan Tata, in his personal capacity during 2016; that was Tata’s first non-tech investment.
Despite his considerable success, Bolla continues to innovate and personally supervises the plant floor to ensure top quality.
One of Bollant’s early initiatives was to co-found Samanvai, a centre for children with multiple disabilities, helping them get over their challenges.
Bolla is profoundly inspired by late Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who said, “You cannot change your future, but, you can change your habits, and surely your habits will change your future.”
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Hindi Biography ::
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