Young Achievers

Bhupesh Sharma

Student entrepreneur Bhupesh Sharma (22) is a young man in a hurry to make his mark in the business world. An electrical and telecom engineering graduate of the University of Mumbai, Sharma has trained his sights on addressing India’s chronic energy deficiency problem. His two-year-old startup Breson — a partnership firm — designs and manufactures customised power generation windmills for rural and urban environments. “Although the idea of generating electricity by harnessing wind power is not new, conventional wind turbine technology has so far been out of the reach of residential and commercial consumers. I plan to reach consumers directly with smaller customised wind-mills which will generate electricity for residential homes and business offices,” says Sharma, currently a business design student at the Bangalore campus of the Welingkar Institute of Manage-ment Development and Research.

According to Sharma, Breson manu-factures light, compact and affordably priced windmills which can easily be installed on rooftops and in open spaces to generate electricity at wind speeds as low as 4.5 km per second. “The smallest unit we manufacture is a 500-watt turbine which can meet the electricity needs of a seven-storey building for 12 hours daily. This makes wind power cheaper than even solar energy. A 500-watt turbine is priced at Rs.1.5 lakh,” says Sharma.

Started in a one-room tenement in 2010, today Breson boasts a research and development wing in Thane (Maha-rashtra) where a dedicated 17-member team works under his supervision. “Over the years we have grown at a steady pace focusing more on the technical front rather than on sales. Now, we will expand our production from the present four-five units per year to 35-40 units in a new production facility under cons-truction in Navi Mumbai, to meet the rising demand for our products,” he adds.

Looking ahead, Sharma believes Breson’s affordable wind power units will help electricity-deprived farmers and people living in rural India to light up their homes. Recently, Breson has installed windmills in Jyotirao Phule Education Trust, a school for tribal children and orphans in Amli, a small village in Dhule district, Maharashtra. “Our turbines can be used for rural electrification as well as for improving irrigation systems and offer the addi-tional advantage of clean, green energy,” says Sharma.

Wind in your turbines!

Praveer Sinha (Mumbai)

Snigdha Nandipati

Within nine days of American-Indian Snigdha Nandipati making history by winning the 85th edition of the annual national Scripps Spelling Bee 2012 contest staged in May in Washington DC, USA — in which Americans of Indian origin have bagged first rank for five years consecutively — Bangalore-based Samvida Venkatesh (15) was crowned national champion in the HDFC India Spells 2012 competition (open to students of classes V-IX) in Mumbai. Following five elimination rounds at the school, city and national levels, Samvida bested 32 finalists from 30 cities countrywide to bag a cash prize of Rs.150,000, a trophy, and an all-expenses paid trip to witness the Scripps Spelling Bee 2013 finals in the US.

A class IX student of National Public School, Indiranagar, Bangalore who is currently doing a month’s summer internship at Cambridge University, Samvida is elated by her spelling bee success, attributing it to her ability to handle pressure on any stage, “a big lesson I learnt from participating in seven spelling competitions over the past five years. Most of all, I owe it to my parents for their tremendous support, and my school for encouraging me to participate in such events”.

Samvida’s interest in hard-to-spell words and their etymology goes back to 2007, when at age ten she registered for Murthy’s South Zone Spelling Bee — her first spelling competition — and qualified as a city finalist. “I remember watching the US Scripps Spelling Bee on television even then,” she recalls. In 2007-08, this teenager bagged fifth place in the international round of the MaRRs Spelling Bee staged in Mumbai. The next year, she and a teammate won second place in the Scholastic Word-master Challenge followed by a third position in the Rotary Club-sponsored Spellstar 2010, and subsequently first and second positions in the ING Vysya India Spell Bee 2011 and 2012 editions.

The elder of two siblings, Samvida was introduced to the reading habit at the early age of four by her parents — Sudheesh Venkatesh, an HRD manager in the Azim Premji Foundation, and Veena, a textiles designer. “I read 10-15 books per month, so I have probably read about 2,000 books to date. I don’t limit myself to any particular genre,” says this John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer and J.K. Rowling fan.

A scholar of the NCERT-sponsored National Talent Search Examination — a annual scholarship programme for academically gifted students in basic sciences — Samvida is weighing the possibility of a career in biotech and/or science. “Poor levels of health and education in rural India are disturbing trends which I hope to do something about in the future,” says this young go-getter.

Paromita Sengupta (Bangalore)