It was distressing news that irked a Kolkata-based entrepreneur, Sagar Daryani, into action. One of the co-founders of his food company, had just lost his father to COVID-19.
“It was a very hard day. By the end of it, I was exhausted and overwhelmed with a feeling of helplessness. When I shared this with some of my fellow entrepreneurs on WhatsApp, the idea to start a relief initiative began to shape up. As entrepreneurs, our first move is always to find solutions to problems, and so, on the same night, we conducted a Zoom call followed by starting a WhatsApp group for Kolkata-based entrepreneurs to discuss and deliberate on solutions.”
This group of entrepreneurs then officiated itself under the name, Entrepreneurs of Kolkata (EOK), and launched an initiative called ‘Breathe Again’, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Calcutta Visionaries. Now, with over 200 members, EOK has been able to raise over Rs 6 crore to support high-priority COVID patients with essentials like beds, medicines and oxygen cylinders.
So far, EOK has confirmed over 200 critical care beds across Kolkata and aims to set up more than 500 high dependency units (HDU) or isolation beds in association with private and government hospitals. They have also been procuring and donating hundreds of oxygen concentrators, BiPAP machines, ventilators and other life saving machines. Sagar adds that recently they were also able to import more than 50 BiPAP ventilators from Singapore via Mumbai that were donated to private and charitable hospitals, which are already in use.
One of the entrepreneur members of EOK has a skill development training facility, which was utilised to provide more than 300 healthcare workers and nursing staff to hospitals across Bengal.
“Our objective is to use our network and resources to lend a helping hand to the government and hospitals. It is an opportunity for us to give back and be the change we want to see,” he adds.
Mahindra salutes the challenger spirit of people like Sagar who show us that together, we can help each other overcome any challenge to defeat #Covid19.