In Conversation with… Priyank Patel, Founder, Nukkad Tea cafe Ventures LLP
Please help us know you better. (Your background)
I am Priyank Patel, graduated in Electronics and Telecommunication in 2007 from Shankaracharya college of engineering, got placed in an IT firm Tech Mahindra in Delhi, and worked with various other firms for the next four years in IT sectors.
I was chosen for the prestigious Young India Fellowship by ICICI Foundation under which I worked extensively with various organizations in Gujarat, Odisha, Maharashtra for two years. I have worked on rural livelihood, stayed within the community, experienced the village-based economy, social structure of Indian villages, and the gap in our system. Soon, I realized an immediate need for an interactive community space that works as an inspiration, hence, came with the idea of a Chai café that will employ and empower the marginalized segment of the society.
Started in the year 2013, currently, Nukkad Tea café has 4 outlets in two cities and has so far employed & empowered 30+ hearing impaired, dwarf, and down syndrome community members and was India’s very first café employing 20 Transgender community members.
Tell us about Nukkad. How did it all start?
Nukkad tea café is a social enterprise founded in the year 2013 with the sole motive of providing undiscriminating employment opportunities to the most vulnerable marginalized community members of society. For the last 7 years, Nukkad engages, employs, and empower members from deaf, dwarf, transgender, and learning-disabled community member.
We are known for our cozy and aesthetic ambiance, flavourful delicacies, and social experiments like Tea&Tones (open mic platform) where guests can share their writings or can interact with socially influential personalities. We have a Digital detox initiative whereby submitting your cell phones while chilling at Nukkad you can avail yourself of a discount. Gyaan Daan – Book exchange initiative, Bol do is an anti-depression movement offering peer support. We also engage in sessions about social taboos and discussions.
Break The taboo – a discussion over socially taboo subjects like death, menstruation, sexual rights, and more.
How has your journey been so far?
Our journey has been a rewarding and learning experiential journey. We have created a social impact and touched hundreds of lives. We have proven that people with disabilities have immense potential and can be utilized as an amazing workforce. We have worked with many marginalized communities and learned new things about the community and its social challenges. Society has accepted us well and we could be able to sensitize the masses about the issues around inclusion and acceptance.
How is the competitive scenario in the industry you operate in?
Nukkad has a soul that is different from any other food chain. We are not just a business. We are an extended home where we welcome people of all communities, we meet and grow together. Our initiatives, personalized ambiance, and experience are what make us different from any other café. Our consistent efforts and candid inclusive events keep us ahead of the competition. Nukkad also enjoys a strong positive word of mouth that works in favour.
The pandemic has affected many businesses. What are the immediate challenges your Business faced, and how do you plan to overcome them?
Amid the chaos and pandemic of covid19 Nukkad also is severely affected, but instead of sulking about the problem, we as a team decided to overcome the problem and offer help to the needy. With the support of our team and volunteers, we started Project Rahat, for which we collected Rs 3.80 lakh and could prepare and distribute Food packets to almost 29,000 migrating and lockdown affected people.
Looking back at your entrepreneurial journey, is there something you feel you could have done differently?
No, I just could have started Nukkad a little earlier.
What would be your advice to all the budding entrepreneurs?
“Always TRY what you dream of and even if you Fail, dust off and attempt with more effort.”
Life is always about learning. Never wait for the perfect moment or perfect idea. Every idea is unique and needs a passionate push to make it a success. Do not do it just because you can, do it because it is NEEDED.