Thanks to Vinay Kuruvilla for giving me this lead, I had the honor of interviewing Dhruv Lakra, the CEO of Mirakle Couriers. He has won several awards including the prestigious CNN – IBN Young Indian Leader Award for 2011.
I asked him how he got the idea of employing the people with hearing loss in the courier business. He said, “First, stop referring to them as that, and call them deaf.”
“Wouldn’t that be rude?”
“As much as you are proud to say you are a Tamilian and speak Tamil, they are deaf and they use sign language to communicate, and they are proud of their community.”
That got me. We spoke further and this is his story.
Upon his return to Mumbai, after an MBA program at the Oxford University – Said Business School, he encountered a deaf boy’s difficulties and decided to direct his energy at helping this community. In the next few days, he received a courier at his home, and the delivery person didn’t speak a word – he merely gave him the package, had him sign the receipt and that was that. Like many brilliant innovators, he connected the dots and decided to start a courier company Mirakle Couriers that now employs over 50 deaf people and delivers approximately 65,000 packages a month. While his firm can deliver anywhere in the world, it can do pickups only in the city of Mumbai.
I asked him about how he plans to scale his business and he said, “I want to grow steadily but profitably and with high quality.” When asked about training his employees, he said it was mainly through a few weeks of on-the-job training.
Like any man on a mission, he is in a hurry to get more business because it is such a big challenge. He lamented that the Government doesn’t give any support.
I wondered out aloud with him as to why India doesn’t have an MWBE law (Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise) that forces American firms to spend a certain percentage of their procurement dollars on minority and women owned enterprises. Perhaps our lawmakers working on the CSR Bill can take this up? We can only wait in hope.
He concluded the interview with a request to our readers – “Can you please help influence your company, or organization, or friends based in Mumbai to give my company some business?”
Good luck Dhruv.
And many thanks once again to Vinay for giving me this lead. If any one of you knows of other people that I can interview for this column, please let me know in the comments section. I would be happy to speak with them.
P.S. This series is featured inside Cognizant in the Cpecial newsletter Good Life Guide. If you want to nominate someone as a First Penguin, please write a comment or email me.