Profile of Mr. Madhusudana Rao,
Chief Promoter and Managing Director
Mr. Mannem Madhusudana Rao, the Chief Promoter and Managing Director of the MMR Group companies is a first generation entrepreneur. The journey, though physically covers around 400 kilometres from his village Palukuru in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh to the capital city of Hyderabad, his real journey is story of a successful man from rags to riches. Born into an impoverished working class family as fifth child and only the second of their eight to be educated, now helms various ventures that bring in a turnover of between Rs 75 crore and Rs 90 crore.
His inspiring story has been highlighted in the recent book, Defying The Odds: The Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurship (by Devesh Kapur, D Shyam Babu and Chandra Bhan Prasad; published by Random House India). He is also the subject of a PBS documentary broadcast in the United States. His success not only lies in his growth but it is a remarkable one, of creating opportunities and, as the title of the book says, defying the odds.
For generations, Rao’s family had provided inexpensive labour to the local landlords. There was little money in the household. Inspired by neighbours who managed to find jobs after studying engineering, Peraiah, Rao’s father, sent him and his elder brother to school, first in the village, and then to the social welfare hostel for scheduled caste/tribe children. While his brother went on to take a degree in engineering, Mr. Madhusudanarao, who is fondly called by his close friends as MMR, earned a diploma at a polytechnic because his parents felt that might be a safer option.
Since no job awaited them after graduation, they took up construction work with their siblings in Hyderabad, at houses or digging trenches to lay cables. And then the miracle happened. One day, waiting to be interviewed for a job at a firm of engineers, he overheard an executive talk about the immediate need for workers to lay cables. MMR offered to get the required number of labourers and, using his connections with the workers, who he was a part of, showed up with them and the project moved once again, much to the firm’s satisfaction. His first contract earned him a profit of Rs 25,000.
The odd bump in the road apart, there was no looking back. He went on to become a labour contractor for telecom majors such as Tata Tele services and Vodafone, and at the height of that business, was maintaining 40,000 kilometres of optic fibre cable across five states. His companies also came into the corporate world with his short name MMR and thus we have the flagship company MMR Engineers and Contractors India Private Limited. With telecom in a downswing, he has diversified into Infrastructure, Construction, Mining, Software, Renewable Energy, Skill Development Training, Entrepreneurship Development and plans to enter various other sectors.
MMR has not confined himself to earning. He is committed to help his fellowmen. He wanted the Dalits to grow as job givers and not job seekers. He met the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi with other delegates of the Dalit Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI) in his capacity as the President of its Andhra Pradesh state chapter. Though the initial appointment was only for 10 minutes, the meeting stretched to 30 minutes and MMR apprised Modi of the need to implement the 4 per cent reservation in procurement by public sector units for goods by SC/STs which so far exists mainly on paper. It became mandatory from the very next year.
Those who know him well affirm that the other “key” to his success is his ability to work hard, on many days up to 18 hours a day. He always talks only about two things: creating wealth and helping society by promoting entrepreneurship. MMR says he is passionate about helping people from backgrounds similar to his. So, roughly 60 per cent of his 200 permanent employees are from villages, are poor and come from backward communities.
MMR has executed a Rs 100-crore township in Rajahmundry, and built a modern slaughter house at Vizag that boasts of being the largest in Asia. He has many other plans but they are not just money spinners. He wants to empower at least 5,000 youth with Skill training and Entrepreneurship training. He wants to see them employed as well as become entrepreneurs. That appears to be a reasonable ambition as he has already got contracts from the government departments to train thousands of unemployed youth in various employable skills and EDP training.
Ease of Doing Business
Round Table – An Ambedkar Age
The Pioneer Magazine
The India Awakes Film
Business Standards News Paper
Enadu News Paper
Ajthak – India Today TV