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Binoy Meghraj MBA2000, Vice Chairman of Meghraj Group and the Chairman of Meghraj Capital Advisors, the Group’s Indian investment bank, is making an impact through his involvement with Business …

Binoy Meghraj MBA2000, Vice Chairman of Meghraj Group and the Chairman of Meghraj Capital Advisors, the Group’s Indian investment bank, is making an impact through his involvement with Business Bridge, whose aim is to provide high quality, low cost business education to entrepreneurs and small business people in developing economies.

This was first published in AlumniNews, Issue 131, February 2014. Find out more about our alumni community at http://www.london.edu/alumni

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  • 1. AlumniNews ISSUE 131 FEBRUARY 2014 MAKING AN IMPACT Binoy Meghraj MBA2000, Vice Chairman of Meghraj Group, an international financial services organisation, and the Chairman of Meghraj Capital Advisors, the Group’s Indian investment bank, is putting something back through his involvement with Business Bridge. DOMINIC MIDGLEY reports KNOWLEDGE IS POWER: Budding entrepreneurs at work on a Business Bridge course
  • 2. ■TheBigIssue/Developing Africa When Binoy Meghraj heard about Business Bridge he knew that he wanted to get involved. Set up by London Business School’s Professor of Management Practice in Strategic and International Management and Entrepreneurship, Michael Hay, its aim is to provide high quality, low- cost business education to entrepreneurs and small business people in developing economies. “I am a big believer in the benefits that entrepreneurs can bring to their communities in terms of job creation, and wealth creation,” says Binoy. “Business Bridge is focused on providing actionable business education to entrepreneurs who wouldn’t get a chance to get such an education otherwise.That’s something that really struck a chord with me.” Today he is both a donor and a trustee of Business Bridge, which offers two basic courses: Making Sales, which is essentially about marketing, and Managing Money, which looks at financial accounting. “We’re very focused on trying to make what is taught as practical and as actionable as possible,” he says. Each course has eight modules, delivered in eight weekly four-hour sessions in a classroom. The trainers are a mixture of alumni of the School or other business schools, successful entrepreneurs and executives from local businesses who offer their services pro bono. One student called Sivuyile, who runs a security business, is a good example of the transformative efect the Business Bridge course can have. When he joined the programme in 2012, he had just one employee. Today he has 15. He was in the third week of the “I am a big believer in the benefits that entrepreneurs can bring to their communities in terms of job creation, and wealth creation” BINOY MEGHRAJ MBA2000
  • 3. ■TheBigIssue/Developing Africa Making Sales course when he spotted a film crew in the street. “When Sivuyile spoke at his graduation, he said that previously he would have thought, ‘It’s not something I can do’. Instead, he approached the crew and offered them his services,” says Binoy. “While they turned him down, he persisted, and when he approached them again the next day, they saw the wisdom of his pitch and hired him. It was all down to the confidence he had developed through attending classes at Business Bridge.” He adds: “We’re very focused on trying to make what is taught as practical as possible, and as applicable as possible. I think that what’s driving it, what is at the heart of all of this, is a belief that business education is a powerful tool to help to overcome poverty. It does that by building businesses which are sustainable, and which are generating employment. “We work particularly with micro and small enterprises that are operating in poor communities in developing countries. Typically, the environment is one where unemployment is high and where there is very limited access to business education of any sort. In these sorts of environments many people end up turning to running a small business as one way of generating income because there aren’t employment opportunities with companies.” Having run pilots in South Africa, Ghana and India, Business Bridge is the subject of a major research project run by a team from London Business School and the World Bank, which focuses on measuring the impact of training in South African townships on employment creation and business performance and sustainability. Interim results show a very encouraging impact on all of these measures. Results will be published later this year. Binoy’s involvement with Business Bridge means he makes regular visits to the School campus. He is also a loyal donor to the School and has been a volunteer interviewer for the MBA programme. “It’s a fantastic community to be a part of,” he says. ■ For more on Business Bridge, contact JanineTitley at janine@thebusinessbridge.org