Hailing from a middle-class Bengaluru family, Raghav Raghunathan could have easily opted to what most students do — studying in a good college and getting a high-paid job. But the 26-year-old had something else in mind. He has set up a tribal farmer company in Madhya Pradesh and ha helped many poor farmers across different states to improve their situation.
In spite of cracking IIT Guwahati, Raman chose National Institute of Technology, Surathkal In Karnataka, where he could choose between civil, chemical or metallurgical engineering. From his college days, he was determined to become an entrepreneur. His business plan had also got selected by IIM Bangalore.
During his college days, Raghav launched a start-up called Tech Ventures, which studied labour-intensive small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and designated engineering students to design solutions. His team made a machine to for de-husking coconut.
After completing successful stints of internship in big companies like Reserve Bank Of India, Credit Suisse, Rolls Royce and McKinsey, his interest grew towards social development sector and he got through Young India Fellowship (YIF) in 2012. There, at YIF, coming across different people from different cultures, he was exposed to subjects like economics and political economy.
Though his parents were not happy, he found himself more attached to social developmental works. His fellowship led him to go on a visit to Bagli, a village in the Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh. There he found interest in agriculture sector and he joined as a CEO of RamRahim Pragati Producer Company Ltd (RPPCL), a farmer-producer company owned by more than 2,600 tribal women farmers from Dewas.
Raghav worked with them, securing a better price for their products and eliminating the middlemen from the business. He also convinced companies like Hindustan Unilever Foundation and Azim Premji Foundation to work in the area of financial instruments specifically targeted at farmer companies. It is with YIF, he realised how tribal people requires a lot of assistance to connect with the mainstream.