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Abid Lone, a 21-year-old youth from Srinagar District, is a budding entrepreneur and an IT expert. Abid has completed his Bachelors of Information Technology (IT) and is presently pursuing a Masters degree in IT.
Abid belongs to a working class family; his parents are employed in the public sector and his elder brother works for a private company in Maharashtra. The idea to start his own website came to him when he used to recharge his cell phone from a website called www.ptm.com. “I used to recharge my cell phone more than twice a day from the website,” he says. “So, I thought of starting the same service with other portals. He started the website www.fuelmyphone.com in November 2011 for the purpose of recharging and paying Internet utility bills online. Even though he was just beginning his venture, he started making profit from the very first day of its inception. Abid recalls, “From my childhood I always dreamed of developing websites.” Therefore, he is very pleased in his ability to turn this dream into a reality.
Abid’s family support was negligible when he started his venture because his parents wanted him to join the public sector to ensure job security. He states, “Except for my brother, no one supported my decision to become an entrepreneur.” He didn’t approach any financial institution for support; rather, he preferred to seek help from his friends. They made the initial seed capital investment of Rs. 30,000 with which he started the portal for Fuel My Phone. The website is mobile phone compatible as well. Abid states, “You can recharge online through other websites, but from www.fuelmyphone.com you can earn incentives. And, if you recharge by becoming a member of the website, you can earn incentives on every recharge.”
After briefing telecom companies about his website, Abid secured many service providers in the country who agreed to provide commission to users. He explains, “Almost all telecom companies agreed to this plan and people across the country can make recharges using this website.”
When asked about the challenges that he faced while starting up his own venture, he replied that the lack of support from his family is the only challenge that has plagued him so far. He also admits that the only mistake he made was to enter into partnership with a person who was not fully committed to the business endeavor. “My partner was very interested in the project but suddenly he started losing interest and decided to quit,” says Abid. “Now I am a one man army.”
During the second month of his venture he made a transaction of Rs. 50,000 and is quite happy with it. He considers launching airline ticketing, hotel booking and electricity bill payment through his website in the near future. When asked to share some words of advice with budding entrepreneurs, he humbly replied, “I am not in such a position to give any tips to others, but the only thing that I want to share is that before investing in any sector, we should investigate the particular industry to know all the pros and cons of the business”.