Bengaluru: One fine day, 28-year-old city based engineer, Shubhendu Sharma, switched from making cars to making forests. “It seems like everyone was making cars and no one was making forests so someone had to take the idea forward,” smiles Shubhendu, who is a TED 2014 Fellow and has also participated in the TED 2014 talks.
Shubhendu, who used to work at Toyota, had volunteered to create a forest at the Toyota campus backyard along with a renowned scientist Akira Miyawaki, who had developed a concept of making forests grow very fast. “There must be around three lakh trees at that campus now. As I was monitoring the growth of that forest, the beauty of the idea led me to forming a company that could create more forests,” says Shubhendu.
That was how Afforestt (service provider for creating natural, maintenance-free, native forests in 2011), was started in January 2011. It has got 43 clients, which means 43 forests have been gifted to the country in a short span of time! “We have amazed people by converting barren land into lush green forests,” says Shubhendu, who is also an INK fellow and for starters created a forest in the backyard of his own native home in Uttarakhand, “I started studying the methodology so that I could replicate it and using the Miyawaki method I created a forest in the backyard of my house.”
The 28-year-old has successfully created 8 patches of native natural forests in the city and has also bagged two major projects in Africa. “One is a seven-acre property in South Africa, and the other is a two-acre property in Nairobi,” says the young man, who is also working on a pilot project in Muscat, Oman.
What about investment? Shubhendu replies, “I did not want to take a loan as this is a non-existent market so I started with the savings from my salary which luckily was very good. Afforestation as an industry is yet to develop and you won’t get external investments and anyway I wanted to start small, where I
could enjoy my freedom of choice,” he says.