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MBA Chai Wala: From Roadside Tea Seller to Cafe Chain, This Entrepreneur Braved all Odds

MBA Chai Wala (Photo taken from LinkdIn)

MBA Chai Wala (Photo taken from LinkdIn)

He initially wanted to pursue MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, but could not clear the entrance exam.

It was a rather tough decision for 21-year-old Praful Billore to give up on his dream of pursuing MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and sell tea. But all the years later, the decision looks worth it as he now owns a Rs 3 crore empire, all earned by selling tea since 2017.

Praful, hailing from Madhya Pradesh, wanted to study at IIM, Ahmedabad. The lucrative job offers that MBA graduates received attracted the 21-year-old boy. During his graduation in commerce, he earned Rs 25,000 a month as an Amway salesman and pursuing MBA only seemed a viable option. But he could not crack the CAT (Common Admission Test) exams.

Despite taking an English-speaking course, his marks were not enough to secure him admission to any of the prestigious colleges. It was in 2017 that he gave up the idea of pursuing MBA even though his family pressured him to join any college and continue his studies.

He recalls those days of not getting admission and struggling to find a breakthrough as days of frustration and depression.

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But Praful had other ideas. He explored the city and loved its vibe, and realised that it was a good place to start something of his own. He initially worked at McDonald’s where he initially earned Rs 300 a day.

Three months after working at McDonald's, he decided to start something of his own, a tea stall as he believed in the idea of 'Dream Big, Start Small, and Act Now'. With an loan of Rs 8,000 from his father he started his business and named his tea stall MBA Chai walla.

On July 25, 2017, he started his business. To make his stall look different, he served tea in earthen cups along with a toast and tissue paper. He sold the combo at a minimal price of Rs 30.

Praful would approach people encouraging them to try tea at his stall. His fluency in English helped him. Within a month he was selling 10,000-11,000 cups daily, but his family was clueless about what he exactly was doing.

Once they came to know about it through a YouTube video, they weren't receptive to the idea, but accepted his decision with time.

For somebody coming from a good family, starting a tea stall was a huge decision, he was quoted as saying by the Brut. He recalled how his family and friends would "laugh" on him saying that someone who wanted to do MBA had started selling tea.

He was intimidated by cops, goons and admin people asking him to stop selling the tea from that spot. But he braved all odds. From a roadside tea stall, he took a spot near that place and now Praful runs a successful chain of cafes.

first published:February 23, 2021, 12:35 IST
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