Meet the 23-Year-Old Blind Indian Man Who Built a $16 Million Startup
Srikanth Bolla had a very difficult start in life, but it didn’t prevent him from achieving a level of success that many may never reach, despite being born blind.
The 23-year-old made a name for himself after getting a scholarship from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later becoming the CEO of a $16 million startup, AsiaOne reported.
Bolla is a simple, young man who was born in a rural Indian community called Andhra Pradesh. Coming from a poor farming family, he worked his way through high school, landed himself in MIT and finally, in 2012, started Bollant Industries, a sustainable packing company.
Because he was born blind, he faced a lot of discrimination especially in school. When he expressed his desire to study science, Andhra Pradesh Education Board denied his request saying that the field of Arts was the only area a blind person could manage.
But because of his excellent academic records and various achievements in different fields, he proceeded to apply to a few United States schools wherein he impressively secured four admissions – Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, Berkeley, and MIT. Bolla eventually decided to go to MIT, which made him the school’s first international blind student, according to Business Insider.
After he graduated from MIT, he felt the need to do something about the lack of opportunities for the disabled in India, so he took a pass on the lucrative opportunities he had in America and went back home.
In 2012, he started Bollant Industries Pvt. Ltd which gives opportunities to physically challenged but deserving employees in India. But apart from giving work to disabled people, Bolla also had the environment in mind.
His company makes biodegradable tableware and eco-friendly packaging solutions from leaf husks and agricultural waste that would have otherwise been burned. Now, he has five manufacturing units and his company sales already crossed $16 million.
“I learned that even if a student is not educated, he or she can have clarity of thinking and expression if encouraged properly. Thus, I learned to treat everybody with equal respect, regardless of their education level or socioeconomic status,” Bolla said.
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