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Mixing biz with Pleasure

They say a business venture with friends is a bad idea. Varun Vazir met a few friends, who think otherwise

Coffee shop partnership
On March 15, friends-turned-business-partners Mathew Lawrence (26) and Shreyas Chitre (24) started Café Gup Shup in Dombivli, Mumbai. “We are friends since the last two years and met Pune’s Vishwakarma Institute of Management. In Pune, there are a lot of coffee joints and I thought it would be nice if we started something back home,” says Mathew. Like every fresh business entrepreneur, they met the hurdles of finance issues. They rented out a place on a three-year contract and even took personal loans. “Now we’re four partners, Gaurav Godbole and Prem Shetty,” he adds.
Mathew adds that they have segregated their work areas and don’t interfere in each other’s tasks. “I handle the café in the evenings, while Shreyas dedicates
the entire day.”

Aage kya?
When asked about their future plans, a modest Mathew said that they’d love another branch, but for the time being, they’re concentrating on making the present one flourish. “Our café has a low price margin, and regulars love the place. Due to construction work, if our café is shut even for a day, customers come and enquire. It is overwhelming,” says Mathew.

NGO for a good cause
Whoever said friends can’t be working professionals said it wrong. A group of 12 friends, with the help of their family, started http://ourbit.in/, an NGO website that works for social issues. While one friend is an engineer, another is a lawyer, HR professional and PR, etc. The members include Ankita, Chetan, Pooja, Priyanka, Rishika, Megha, Pranit, Puneet, Saakeb, Mamta, Mallika and Shayamal (see pic).

Pooja Goenka (25), a graduate from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, along with her friends always had a dream of doing something hatke, but other commitments kept them busy. After graduating, they took up the initiative to start this NGO. She says, “I enjoy working with friends. It’s easier to communicate, as they understand each other really well. Also, we’ve become more responsible since we started the NGO.”

Pooja believes, as freshers, they may not have concrete future plans, but do have a dream to take their NGO to the next level. “We’re new and people find it difficult to trust us. We are making an effort to hold programmes, including free dance and drama workshop, etc.”

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