I am a management professional with two decades of global experience across business functions. In 2017, I decided to materialize my long time desire for a meaningful sabbatical. I’ve always been disconcerted by our growing socio-economic-ecological problems; and had long wished to be a part of the solution. With these guiding thoughts; I resigned from corporate in Singapore and set sail to India with a year long immersion plan
Agriculture is the backbone of India and almost 60 percent rural households depend on it as their principal means of livelihood. The sector was therefore my first choice of engagement. To bridge the gap of domain knowledge I undertook practical courses in Sustainable Agriculture [Agroecology & Organic Food Systems in Uttarakhand (Navdanya) and Permaculture in Telangana (Polam and Aranya)], living on farms, working with communities, spending half a year traversing the rural landscape. I attended Schumacher College in Devon, UK, and learnt about creating value driven businesses, sustainability and circular economies from industry leaders such as Unilever and Ikea. I discovered the joy of online learning with LinkedIn and Edx and brushed up some fundamentals I'd learnt as a graduate but had fallen out of touch with.
During this period few realisations dawned. I became aware of Human Impact on our planet. I was astonished at our collective ignorance of the consequence of human action (development, production & consumption) on our planet. Conventional Agriculture and Industrial Food Systems plays a vital role in the ongoing degeneration of our environment and health. In the meantime, I came across a new generation of aspiring entrepreneurs and young farmers with business ideas that cared for People, Planet & Profits. However, this space is mired in problems, given the inherently complex nature of agriculture and industry barriers. Added to this was an absence of fundamental understanding of business, strategic thinking, operational efficiency and market linkages (connectivity, consumer & capital).
It is then I began to toy with the idea of bringing my passion (for people) and inherent strengths (Business training and Corporate experience) to become a part of the solution. I decided on a three-prong approach. First, create consumer awareness by spreading information about industrial practises and how it affects the wellbeing of people & planet. Second, engage youth and academia, in conversations on sustainablity, local and circular economies. Third, foster entrepreneurship where Business is a solution to address some of our pressing socio-economical-ecological problems.
At the culmination of my sabbatical, i am happy to share some milestones. Working with progressive leadership, I was instrumental in launching a Green Business University Incubator and help take off from ideation to launch of the incubatee, mentor the startup journey of first-time entrepreneurs and co-found a farm-to-fork enterprise aimed at improving small-holder profitability, environmental sustainability and consumer health. Although my sabbatical comes to an official end in September 2019; i look forward to continuing my work in a personal capacity and contribute towards the propagation of ideas that lead to a greener, healthier and wealthier world. Please feel free to reach out to me here