KOCHI: Very few business models voluntarily venture into philanthropic activities, and rarely do we hear of a business initiative started with the sole intention of funding a charitable foundation.
John Kurian Melamparambil’s autobiography - Zero to Zenith, starts off carefully weaving a narrative with the story of his childhood, adolescence, him blossoming into adulthood -- etched in an engaging manner, giving the readers a vivid context to his life story. His helplessness in the face of his father’s sudden death due to a cardiac arrest spurred him on to help those without access to proper medical care, thereby leading to the establishment of the Melam Foundation in 1986.
As the good word spread, patients approaching the foundation swelled, prompting Kurian to raise funds by creating his own source of income, resulting in the establishment of one the country’s largest spices and curry powder brands - Melam in 1992, which enjoyed a strong domestic and export presence. In a stark contrast from traditional business ventures, lack of support and funds, Kurian, was forced to begin with zero capital - a classic, yet a unique and innovative example of bootstrapping. In Zero to Zenith, Kurian retraces his entrepreneurial journey, carefully explaining the perils, opportunities and the sense of satisfaction in working towards the success of a venture.
With about 90 per cent of Melam Group’s profits funneled into the foundation, later chapters elucidate the story of how innumerable financially-challenged patients found a resort in their quest to get quality treatment with the foundation’s strong network of over 1000 hospitals in Kerala.
The last part of book’s synopsis holds true - “This heartwarming account of a man with a clear vision as a businessman and a philanthropist-and a business venture with a difference is sure to instruct and inspire.”. Zero to Zenith brought out by Penguin India is on stands now, retails at Rs 350.