Coming from the village of Phoolan Devi but belonging to a family of freedom fighters, Satya had grown up listening to stories about the freedom struggle. He was aware of how his father opted out of traditional engineering education and got to establishing number of schools to provide basic primary schooling in remote rural areas. Satya and his three siblings were made to study in the same school. This was a great leveler for all four of them and did not let arrogance set in. This also helped him emerge as a grounded human being and respect all strata of society. It made him realize the importance of quality and creative education too. He completed his Master’s in History from Kanpur University and subsequently pursued LLB. Simultaneously, he worked on Licentiate in Teaching (LT) which was similar to B Ed. An understanding emerging from diverse fields of education, a disciplinarian father’s training, socialist ideologies, and agnostic thought kept Satya curious about the change needed in the society. This was one of the reasons why he later chose to join EDII and benefit from it.
He started his career with World Vision, which was a non-profit organization and worked in the remote areas of Uttrakhand, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Gujarat to assess the development impact on education.
Following this, he worked on a project to develop local leadership through cooperatives. The idea germinated in the years to follow. He tried to develop Farmers & Producers’ Associations and Federations of SHGs at Shramik Bharti, a renowned NGO in Kanpur. Innovative practices like thrift and credit were introduced. Satyavir admits that he understood the informal interpretations of concepts like collective bargaining and also the need for professional training.
He also worked on a World Bank Project where he introduced the idea of taking Self Help Groups (SHGs) to the next level. He initiated the idea of federating them and helped in designing self-financing health schemes and tried to coordinate with various other relevant services. He was already inspired by Gandhi’s Gram Swaraj and then Satya heard about Entrepreneurship Development Institute in Gandhi’s own land, and its focused NGO Management course.
Although Satya had got admission in International MBA at Colorado, he was unable to get enough scholarship. Meanwhile, Satya attended a MDP by EDII. It left him very curious and with an inner dialogue he decided to join the first batch of NGO Management. He was lucky to get 100% scholarship for academic support by NABARD. He was enamored by the well-stocked library and knew that he would definitely benefit from this treasure during his stay at EDII. And all that reading did help him to plan what he would do next and benefit the society too. He joined the programme to gain an understanding of the sector and as he puts it, “so that I could initiate my career on the premise of knowledge and not solely on my inclinations and instinct. And, I was proved right.”
He found two more like minded people and established Shikhar Microfinance. Over the decade Shikhar Microfinace has a portfolio of 59.4 Crores through 41990 active loans across 26 branches with the help of a team of 168 people. The journey was arduous but satisfying. What remained constant was a dream to bring about a change since his days at Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India through his PGDEM NM programme. His grooming here not only enriched his educational competency but also developed empathy for all around him. With a vision to empower communities by providing financial services and livelihood opportunities Satyavir values his Shikhar family and aids their training sessions to constantly upgrade their skills and awareness about the sector.
His employees appreciate the blend of happiness and success that each of them manages to find with the organization.
He also manages home for destitute ‘Sewa Ashram’ under Delhi House Society , which aims to rehabilitate the poor and destitute in the NCR. Simultaneously Satyavir floated Partners of Shikhar Trust (POST), an investment vehicle through crowd funding; to invite investment from likeminded development oriented individuals with an aim of promoting microfinance activities. He acquired Anup Leasing Pvt. Ltd (ALPL) and renamed it as ‘Shikhar Microfinance (P) Ltd’ (SMPL). He also manages Shikhar Dairy Private Ltd. Satyavir says that micro credit needs to reach the next level of enterprise creation which was essential for the actual growth of society. He says that we need to relook the business models used in the development sector. Satya’s hard work has finally paid off and his Sewa Ashram is now on auto pilot mode, which he feels should be replicated.
Satyavir however admits that not all of his experiments were successful. His dairy project faced many challenges and he needed to revamp the complete program. But his training from EDII made him more resilient, making him never say die. His parents stand by him in all his decisions. His wife Esther, belongs to Madhya Pradesh and has been extremely supportive. She co-founded the company with him and keeps him motivated.
When asked about his future plans Satyavir shared that by 2021 he hoped to set up Shikhar Small Finance Bank and bringing IPO of SMPL. He would like others to benefit from his own experience. He intended to give entrepreneurship advisory services, mentoring and start-up funds, besides providing easy housing financing to the needy. He also wanted to replicate the Sewa Ashram through franchisee model.
Satyavir’s message to upcoming students and social entrepreneurs is that risks should be taken voluntarily to taste rewards. “Values are getting commercialized and hence there is a need to focus on them & ensure a value-based society. The time has come to build the nation by opportunity and wealth creation from bottom up”, he concludes.
EDII wishes Satyavir Chakrapani all the best in everything he does.