Meaningful Business (MB:) Please tell us a bit about your background.
Prashant Pachisia (PP): I am a serial entrepreneur having built the 2COMS Group, a manpower solutions powerhouse – training and recruitment company. In 2017 I established Care Netram, and have closely worked in rural and ‘rurban’ landscape of India trying to solve the problem of livelihood generation and primary eye care. Care Netrams’s objective is to give access to primary vision care by making it accessible and affordable. Lack of awareness, and the shortage of skilled manpower, results in high cost and poor access to eye care services especially in rural and ‘rurban’ India.
MB: Please introduce your business and the problems you’re trying to solve.
PP: Most of the rural and ‘rurban’ population in India cannot afford quality eyeglasses. Major eyewear brands in India serve urban centres and rural markets do not have access to decent eyewear. 80% of the optical retail market in India is highly unorganised and non-standardised. Eyeglasses available in the market are expensive and out of the budget for a majority of the population. The average annual disposable income of low-income mass consumers is around Rs 3,500, and eyeglasses become the last priority because of high cost.
Care Netram builds up sustainable structures to supply people with affordable spectacles and other add-on eye care services through permanent Vision Centres supported by mobile eye care teams.
In our four years of operations, we have performed 100,000+ free eye tests and sold over 30,000 eye glasses at affordable prices to the rural and ‘rurban’ population. We have over 100 team members working at our Vision Centres and community eye camps.
The team at Care Netram.
MB: What is your biggest challenge right now and what support do you need?
PP: Our first four years of operation have been about learning and building the structure for future growth. We now wish to scale up and expand to new geographies to serve larger populations. Our aim is to set up a chain of optical shops, with a mission to provide eye glasses to all without the high operational costs. We will leverage economies of scale and provide value pricing to the customer by increasing volume and lowering margin.
We are seeking investment/funding support to open and operate a chain of Vision Centres across India to provide access to eye glasses and eye care services for rural and semi urban Indians on a sustainable basis.
Prashant at the Annual Care Netram Meet
MB: What is your ambition for the future of your business?
PP: We wish to be a sustainable social business, building and opening over 500 vision centres by 2025.
MB: What is your advice to other leaders who want to combine profit and purpose?
PP: Social enterprises are challenging to start and to operate initially. But when they start showing impact and generating sustainable revenue it becomes highly satisfying. These are career opportunities which create respect, recognition, profit and satisfaction.
MB – Tell us a mistake you’ve learned from:
PP: I did not look properly at the self-sustainable model during the formation of the enterprise. Now we have to reinvent the wheel in trying to make the enterprise generate revenue for its purpose and create impact.
MB – How do you spend your time away from work?
PP: I love to spend time with family and friends and also watch movies.
MB – What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
PP: So many of them – life’s been a constant learning – I can’t pin point one in particular.
MB – What is the one book everyone should read?
MB – What is something you wish you were better at?
PP: Managing my time.
MB – What’s one thing you want to achieve in 2022?
PP: Scale the Care Netram Network of Vision Centres after securing funding for the same.
Discover the other leaders recognised on the 2021 MB100, for their work combining profit and purpose to help achieve the United Nations Global Goals, here.