Arjun Deshpande, Founder & CEO at Generic Aadhaar. He came up with this inspirational insight at the young age of 16. Generic Aadhaar is an organization that provides medicines at affordable prices so that health and well-being is never a burden for anyone.
The young and ingenious entrepreneur who completed his schooling at DAV Public School, Thane, has a zeal to transform the pharmaceutical sector. Shri Ratan Tata has invested in his innovative venture because of his compassionate cause towards believing that medicines are not a luxury but a basic necessity.
Q1) You founded Generic Aadhar at a young age. What inspired you to take this up at such a young age?
Arjun Deshpande – I always say,’ start a startup, build an organization.’ I didn’t let age come between my innovative idea. At the age of sixteen, I saw a burning problem. And that made me realize that even though our country is a hub of manufacturers and suppliers of medicines, our people have to spend a lot of money on essential medicines.
It all started when I encountered an older man at a medical store to buy some errands, and there I met an older man, around 70-75 years old. He requested the owner to pay the bill later as the medicines were costly. That man (dadaji) was already in debt, so the owner wasn’t ready to accept his plea.
After seeing this scenario, I went to that man and asked him about the exact problem. His wife had cancer, and his son is the only bread earner in the family, an auto driver. They were already spending a lot on treatment. They weren’t able to afford these expensive medicines daily. He was feeling helpless and guilty. He started telling his tale of woe with teary eyes and shaken voice.
I saw how the common man was burdened with paying bills for necessities like medicines. This life-threatening problem made me determined to act on my plan during the initial days of my deep research in the pharma sector.
I was determined to bring a new era to the pharma world where the common man won’t feel helpless and suffocated to take benefit of such necessities. I saw the problem, found an idea, and it was time for the strong execution. I was sure that success would come not immediately but definitely.
Generic Aadhaar has come forward to curb the illicit trade in life-saving drugs and provide low-cost drugs to the people. Generic Aadhaar has disrupted the conventional pharma industry and is determined to empower single-store owners and benefit the end customer. With Generic Aadhaar, we have brought a revolution in this field and changed the dimensions of the pharma world.
We are bringing all small mom-and-pop medical stores, which are roughly more than ten lakhs and were losing their business in the market because of massive competition under one roof of our Brand to help them and support their business grow with huge profits. It aggregates the stand-alone pharmacy to compete with big retail, medical malls, and online pharmacies.
I believe that young entrepreneurs can change the Indian economy; hence, we give them opportunities to start their businesses. We are not climbing alone but holding the hands of these youngsters and directing them towards a unifying vision.
Q2) You have been awarded as the young entrepreneur of the year 2020. As an entrepreneur making strides in your chosen field, what advice would you give someone who wishes to venture into entrepreneurship?
Arjun Deshpande – As I firmly believe that ‘don’t start a business for the sake of doing something but to make an impactful change in society.’ The first step to start an impactful venture is to find a burning problem. Come up with a compelling solution-based idea that will be beneficial and have the ability to change the lives of millions. Money and success are a by-product. Also, it is essential to implement that idea on time. If we don’t execute that solution on time, we are losing a significant opportunity to tackle that situation and bring a change.
Today Startups have become a backbone to the growth of our Indian economy, and Entrepreneurship has always been the strength of India. Not just young people but people of any age are willing to take risks and develop innovative solutions to challenges. First, search for a burning problem regardless of any field.
Out-of-the-box ideas always work in terms of achieving success. To start an effective venture, you need to look for a problem making people suffer in society. Start a venture when you are ready with a solution to help get rid of that problem. Bring fresh ideas, not because it is something cool to do but to help your people satisfy them.
Through entrepreneurship, you are creating employment for furthermore people. So instead of being a job seeker, be a job creator. Innovation is complex, but you need to have a winning idea. Successful entrepreneurs have unique ideas that make them stand out from the rest. To be successful in entrepreneurship, you don’t need to reform. What you need is to do things differently from what is already exists.
Learn to recognize the risks that will benefit your business and take them. Successful entrepreneurs also know which risks should take and which they shouldn’t. The opportunities they present often are worth risk-taking.
Q4) What is your idea of success? What has been the most significant milestone in your journey so far?
Arjun Deshpande – For me, success is not a one-time thing but achieving your goal every day. It would be best if you always had confidence in your product or plan that it won’t fail. Execute that thing, work on it, and you will get success. Not immediately, but definitely.
In my Generic Aadhaar journey, I had achieved many milestones right from the start when we opened our first Generic Aadhaar franchise store in 2019. And in just three years of span, we managed to take over 150+ cities by opening 1500+ stores across India. Generic Aadhaar has launched 5 new phases of products in such a short period because of people’s high demand and fantastic response. It has multiple products on its comprehensive range portfolio in a total of 19 segments.
After seeing the life-changing vision for millions of people and seeing these efforts, Business Icon honourable Mr Ratan Tata sir joined hands in this noble mission. We both are on the same mission to provide better healthcare for India. Generic Aadhaar did a grand launching of an application in the presence of Mr Ratan Tata sir.
In the new year, Generic Aadhaar made a new history in the pharma world by opening 25 franchises in a single day all across India to serve the common man of our nation.
Q5) What were the challenges you faced at the beginning of your journey? How did you overcome them?
Arjun Deshpande – Entering into a market of decade existing giant pharma companies that were already in power and deep-rooted and starting from scratch is itself was a big challenge. The world’s largest MNCs have been selling drugs at exorbitant prices for many years, and people were not even aware of it. As such, it was the duty of Generic Aadhaar to come forward to curb the illicit trade in life-saving drugs and provide low-cost drugs to the people.
It is ironic that even though India is one of the biggest pharmaceutical manufacturing hubs of generic medicines, our people cannot benefit. Indians were paying high prices for these medicines, and those who could not afford them were losing their precious life.
So, that was another challenge to make them aware that there is no difference between generic medicines and branded medicines. We started from Ground level campaigns to make people aware of generic medicines with an innovative business model of Generic Aadhaar from arranging free health camps.
When Generic Aadhaar’s work started receiving a very positive response and demand from people, it created a buzz on various social media and other media platforms. I got felicitated on many national and international platforms such as numerous IITs, CPhI, black book Germany, TEDx, and many more. I created a lot of awareness about my motive through talks.
Challenges keep us moving, and we should face them with all hard work, innovation, and focus to overcome them.
Q6) If a book has to be written for you, what do you think would be the best title for it?
Arjun Deshpande – “Lakshya Of Arjun Deshpande”
Q7) What do you consider non-negotiable in your business?
Arjun Deshpande – “Customer’s satisfaction is the real worth of an entrepreneur”. The main motto to start Generic Aadhaar was to solve a burning problem in the society that was making people suffer for ages. So, it is essential that our people are finally getting rid of that stress and are satisfied with our service.
Customer satisfaction and quality go hand in hand. Any medical store associated with us is happy because their end consumer is happy. Hence, another non-negotiable thing is quality. In Generic Aadhaar, we focus on both things as we provide WHO-GMP certified high-quality medicines at a price every class of people can afford. It achieves people’s trust and loyalty.
Q8) What is the experience of working under the mentorship of Ratan Tata, who is himself an exemplar of a leader?
Arjun Deshpande – As I mentioned before, When Generic Aadhaar’s work started gaining appreciation and high demand from people. It grabbed attention on many social media and other media platforms. Various national and international platforms such as numerous IITs, CPhI, black book Germany, TEDx, and many more invited me over there, where I created a lot of awareness about the aim behind Generic Aadhaar. At that time, it also caught the attention of honourable Business Icon Mr Ratan Tata sir.
He got impressed with the venture and saw how I am bringing change in the pharma sector for better healthcare in our nation.
We share the same mission and want to serve every people in India. When I met him, Ratan Tata sir quoted, “Arjun, if this venture gets success, it can change the entire healthcare ecosystem for the betterment of India.” When he saw the same vision and determination to work for the people, he spontaneously supported the Generic Aadhaar.
As per Ratan Tata sir’s involvement, he is my mentor. He advised and guided me when the Generic Aadhaar entered the digital world. Generic Aadhaar did a grand launching of a mobile application in the presence of Mr Ratan Tata sir. The common man can order the medicine at the same discount, and it reaches within one hour to their doorstep from nearer shop of the location.
I feel fortunate to have such a business legend’s guidance and inspiration for my venture’s journey through which we both are changing the lives of millions for the betterment of the nation.
Q9) What goals are you still working towards achieving?
Arjun Deshpande – Generic Aadhaar has its presence in every state in India. We have created micro-entrepreneurs in every corner of our country, including metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, etc., and remote villages like Birbhum Kusheshwar Asthan, Chidambaram, Mhow, etc. We are expanding from Jammu to Kanyakumari and from Kutch to Arunachal Pradesh. Generic Aadhaar has its franchise in 150+ cities with a portfolio of 1000+ products. Generic Aadhaar has created direct and indirect employment for around 8000 people.
It will mark its presence in 1000+ cities in the next five years. Generic Aadhaar will make its promising presence all across India by onboarding 15000 stores and creating the same number of micro-entrepreneurs in the next three years.
Generic Aadhaar’s demand has reached even neighbouring countries of India such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, UAE, etc. They are approaching to open a Generic Aadhaar franchise in their country.
Generic Aadhaar is running fast towards its goal of opening the Generic Aadhaar in every nook and corner and providing medicines at a reasonable cost to 130 crore Indians, and it will soon spread worldwide.
Q10) Lastly, who has been your constant support and pillar during all this time?
Arjun Deshpande- I’ll say our common people are my biggest strength and support throughout my journey. People were tired of spending half of their salary on needed medicines because of their exorbitant prices. When they learned about Generic Aadhar and its work, they supported me. Many pension holders and senior citizens gave blessings, saying that Generic Aadhaar came as a new hope. These blessings and demands of common people for Generic Aadhaar proved as strong support and made us walk a mile extra each day.
The modest and responsible Arjun Deshpande has caused a wave of development in the pharma sector and has aimed to provide opportunities to the upcoming youth. His success has inspired many to learn how to move ahead in life, thinking, respecting and caring about everyone.