The article first appeared in: www.brilliantread.com
As part of our relentless pursuit to identify and share some of the compelling stories from the startup ecosystem, this week we invited seasoned entrepreneur Pratik Gauri for an exclusive interview with us.
Pratik is a serial social entrepreneur, the India CEO of 5th Element Group – a global impact management consultancy, cofounder of India Needs You – a leadership movement, co-founder of Let’s Do This – a flagship GTM Engine, and is on the advisory board of 4 startups across India / USA / Europe / Africa.
He is helping create the 5th Industrial Revolution by working with brands to amplify their brand warmth by unlocking millions of dollars for social causes using the shared language of the UN SDGs. He is a Greenbiz Global 30 under 30, BP Scholar, WEF Global Shaper, Climate Reality Leader trained by US Vice President Al Gore, and an Ambassador at One Young World. He holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade and Certificate in Strategic Management of Non Profits from the University of Chicago. He has earned many prestigious awards and accolades for his exemplary work and recently made it to the 2019 Greenbiz Global 30 under 30 list.
Pratik is also a TEDx speaker and active Panelist on global speaker forums. His works have been covered by the World Economic Forum, Real Leaders magazine, NASDAQ, Horasis, The Climate Reality Project, Business Today, Yourstory, Bloomberg, Times of India, several IITs/IIMs, amongst others. He is an established writer and contributes to Real Leaders, World Economic Forum, MIT Technology Review, Thrive Global India amongst others.
Excerpts from our exclusive interview with Pratik:
We are aware of your contribution towards social entrepreneurship, Please share a little bit about the background and your journey so far;
I am a serial social entrepreneur, investor, public speaker, and writer.
When I saw poverty around me as a child growing up in Delhi, I developed a passion to lift people around me. The best way I thought problems like hunger / contaminated water/climate crisis/lack of education could be solved was by running purpose-driven startups solving these problems backed by sustainable financial models.
So, I started my first company in the education space when I was 17 years old. Since then, I’ve come a long way and have founded 5 companies ( all in the social impact space ), and I am on the advisory board of 4 purpose-startups across India / USA / Europe / Africa.
From a 17-year-old young enthusiastic boy who wanted to change the world to a 29-year-old social entrepreneur, my journey has been fascinating. I was lucky to get scholarships to study at top schools of India and the United States – So, most of my education was free! Thanks to the incredible India / USA education system which allows folks to study on meritorious scholarships.
During my journey, I have also been lucky to work with Fortune 500 brands – I worked with Reckitt Benckiser and also ran a 50 million dollar line for TATA Sky by heading their Trade Sales for Delhi.
However, I decided to put my learnings, get back to entrepreneurship, and start companies which solve social problems. So now, I dedicate most of my energy and time in building companies which help achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. I am helping create the 5th Industrial Revolution by working with brands to amplify their brand warmth by unlocking millions of dollars for social causes using the shared language of the UN SDGs.
I wear a lot of hats – I am the Partner and India CEO of 5th Element Group – a global impact management consultancy, Cofounder and Chairman of India Needs You – a leadership movement, President – International Executive Board at Alexis Group, and CoFounder of Let’s Do This – a flagship brand in the Go To Market space.
I am an investor, public TEDx speaker, and a writer contributing to Real Leaders Magazine, WEF, MIT Technology Review, Thrive Global, among others.
Why did you choose entrepreneurship over a job?
1 – I was always inspired by innovators like Bill Gates / Elon Musk / Steve Jobs etc because their scale of impact and circle of influence is big
2 – I always wanted to contribute to society by lifting people by solving social problems through innovative technology solutions. The best way to make this happen is running companies, developing solutions and bringing these ideas to life.
What gets you out of bed in the morning i.e. what’s your source of motivation?
That’s a good question.
My biggest source of motivation is lifting more and more people out of poverty by providing them access to affordable healthcare / clean water/education through services of my startups.
Making people smile keeps me going 🙂
What challenges/obstacles did you face in your journey so far?
One of the biggest challenges I faced when I started my entrepreneurial journey was to embrace and overcome “loneliness”. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely initially but now I have so many world-changing entrepreneurs as friends, and I am a part of amazing networks with some of them being World Economic Forum Global Shapers, Nobel Peace Prize Forum delegates, Skoll World Forum delegates, Climate Reality Leaders, Startup Leadership Program Fellows, amongst many others.
Second is building a financial model which is profitable from day 1 – I have always believed in running cash flow positive businesses – so a big challenge is to keep playing with your models until you figure out your sweet spot.
What comes first for you – money or emotions?
Emotions and Relationships – I am a People’s person.
The World is moving from 4IR to 5IR where we will be bending the focus of technology back to humanity.
Please see my recent TEDx talk on 5IR –
How do you handle the pressure and manage stress?
I am never stressed – I make sure I’m always surrounded by positive optimistic people – I call them superhumans LOL
In my free time, I travel/hit the gym / play with my dog / spend time with family to maintain a work-life balance.
What is one strategy that you believe has helped you grow as a person?
My strategy which has helped me so much – If you believe in yourself, the world will believe in you!
Always set goals for yourself which seem IMPOSSIBLE. We rarely unlock our true potential unless we are forced to overcome what seems impossible.
What advice would you give to someone starting out as an entrepreneur?
Don’t be afraid of challenges, NEVER GIVE UP, Ask for help and have good mentors, Take calculated risks, and always Believe in yourself.
Don’t work for money, work for impact and success will follow 🙂
One life lesson you would like to share:
Always set goals for yourself which seem IMPOSSIBLE.
We rarely unlock our true potential unless we are forced to overcome what seems impossible.
Follow Pratik At:
Website – https://pratikgauri.in/
LinkedIn – http://linkedin.com/in/pratikgauri/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/pratikgauri/