“While people keep cribbing about global warming, Sivaraj,a 26-year-old entrepreneur chose to make a change.”
- How was the idea of creating free eco-friendly cabs conceived and what is the business plan to sustain the same?
I am basically a ‘go green’ person and love to invent new things. When I was back in India after several years of studies, I happened to see so much pollution. So this is my initiative to do something for my country – I have come out with an vehicle ( Eco Free Cab) which purely runs on solar or mechanical energy. The pedal version is available in Chennai and people can use it to travel from 2 to 4km point to point without any charges. My expenses and driver’s cost are covered by sponsors who advertise in our vehicle.
- Your other ventures – advertising in cars and hangers are innovative ideas, how has the market accepted it?
The idea of mobile advertisement has been going around for years but it is only at this point that people are becoming aware of the current impact of this mode of advertisement. The whole concept brings forth many opportunities to car owners who wish to earn money while driving and you can, in fact tap into this opportunity by letting agencies advertise on your car. Because of the nature and the flexibility of this concept as an extra income generation for both car owners and car advertisers, this has proven to be quite a hit among many people.
So how does one earn money while driving one’s own car? You can have a high probability in getting the job if you have following requirements: being atleast 18 years of age (thus, legal to drive); owning a valid driver’s license; being a resident of the required place; and clean driving records without violations. If you drive in heavily trafficked places then you are more likely to get the job because you get to expose the advertising materials to many people to generate attention from potential customers. If you feel that you fulfil the following requirements then you are ready to go.
A lot of car owners, however, are likely to struggle with second thoughts whether to pursue this kind of opportunity or not.
The truth is, they are worried about what the outcome will be if their car is wrapped with the advertising material. Little do they know that the advertising material is going to printed in a specialized vinyl wrap sheet – a vibrant and striking mixture of colours and graphics.
Then again, you may end up sporting a totally awesome car in the streets that will woo everyone to your direction. But this is ultimately the main goal of mobile advertisement, and you can benefit from it only if you let certified and genuine advertising agencies advertise on your car.
Hangvertising is another direct marketing tool. It is done in 100% recycled and recyclable card board.
The designed hanger serves as general clothes hanger for suits, shirts, trousers, sarees and salwars. A strong branding is given by the high visibility of your advertising messages. As of now, hangers are given free of cost to laundry and dry cleaning services within the city. It can also be distributed based on the client’s requirement.
Time and again, people are looking at innovative ways of marketing their products. I seek to explore this avenue further and am sure the market is pretty huge for our kind of products.
- What are the challenges you face in marketing such creative ventures?
In the initial stages when I came up with the concept of eco-friendly free cabs, people thought I was mad but now, they have realised that I have a practical dream. I strongly believe that criticism should only motivate you further.
- Tell us more about your plans to launch cheap eco-friendly cabs?
I am working on two streams: Sale of eco- friendly cab : This will be a motorised version and will be cost effective, the cost of the vehicle would be between Rs.35,000 to Rs. 40,000. There is no need for petrol or diesel or for maintenance. All you need to do is just check on the tyres. I am also talking to few electronic companies to try and fit in television to entertain passengers.
Free to Public: This ‘free cab’ concept will be introduced across India. As of now, in Chennai, people walking from Tiruvanmiyur railway station to Tidel Park, from Anna Nagar arch to Roundana, corporation school children, Anna University students and the disabled can avail these free cab services to travel short distances. Eco free cab is basically a modified cycle rickshaw which will help people travel distances up to 2 km. The main source of revenue for the vehicle will be advertisements. Advertisers can use the space behind the vehicle to display their ads.
We are also in the process of introducing the world’s cheapest car at the cost of Rs.50,000 which runs on solar energy cum battery.
- Electric scooters and cars have never been appreciated much by the public, how do you think yours will make a difference?
I have already made a difference by coming up with a free public vehicle. As for my other projects, our main advantage is the price factor. No battery operated car is as cheap and effective as ours.
- What is your advice to other young entrepreneurs?
It’s time for youngsters to take up things and if you are desperate about achieving something, put your 200% effort on it and you will surely achieve it at one point of time. Never give up and never compromise
- Future Plans
Talks are on with a German company which has come forward to invest 50 crores to set up an manufacturing plant in Chennai for ecofriendly cabs and major stake will be held by me. We will officially announce once the deal is signed off.