Ratan Tata is a well-known figure who does not require an introduction. There isn’t a single Indian who isn’t familiar with his name. Many aspiring entrepreneurs look forward to him as a role model. Despite his family’s fortune, he never took authority or wealth for granted.
— Harsh Goenka (@hvgoenka) December 29, 2021
Recently, his humble birthday celebration clip was still going viral on social media and Shantanu Naidu, who was spotted sitting next to Ratan Tata and placing his hand on his shoulder while feeding him a piece of cupcake, is still a mystery to many people.
Harsh Goenka, the Chairman of RPG Group, had also tweeted the video on the company’s official Twitter account.
“A charming scene with the unassuming #RatanTata on his 84th birthday,” the tweet read.
Who is Shantanu Naidu
Shantanu Naidu, a 28-year-old young man, has earned a position in the corporate world that has long been a dream for many individuals. According to reports, Ratan Tata receives business advice from Shantanu Naidu on how to invest in startups. Shantanu Naidu is the fifth generation of his family to work for the Tata Group, with an MBA from Cornell University.
Shantanu Naidu was born in the Maharashtra city of Pune in the year 1993. He is a well-known Indian entrepreneur, businessman, engineer, junior assistant, DGM, social media influencer, and author. Shantanu Naida, the deputy general manager of Tata Trust, is well-known throughout the country.
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Shantanu Naidu speaks to Humans of Bombay about how he met Ratan Tata one fateful day and how his life changed after that.
Shantanu’s journey with TATA
Shantanu Naidu received his bachelor’s degree in 2014 and began working for the Tata Group. He adores dogs and stray cats.
He was horrified when he saw a dead body of a dog lying in the middle of the road. Thereafter, he was determined to do something about it.
Naidu and a few friends came up with the idea of creating a collar with reflectors so that drivers can see the dog from distance. They walked around the city the next day, placing these collars around the necks of stray dogs. But he had no idea if this would work or not.
The youngster’s dream came true when Ratan Tata summoned him to a meeting following his Facebook post about dog collars with reflectors he had created for stray dogs so that vehicles could identify them on the roads of Mumbai.
“Word spread and our work got featured in the Tata newsletter,” Shantanu Naidu wrote in his post.
People were so much impressed by the creativity that they wanted to buy it but due to lack of fund, they couldn’t supply. The cash to make these collars was insufficient for a student organisation. As a result, they chose to build the collar out of denim jeans as a base. They gathered denim jeans from various houses in Pune and used them to make 500 reflective collars for 500 dogs. This was the time when Naidu’s father encouraged him to write a letter to Ratan Tata. Despite his initial reluctance, the young man eventually gave in since he realised there was no danger in doing so.
“I was hesitant at first, but then I said to myself, ‘Why not?’ So, I wrote him a handwritten letter and forgot all about it,” he points out. Two months later, Naidu received a letter from Ratan Tata himself.
Drivers could see the dogs wearing his collars from a distance even when there were no street lights on at night, saving the lives of street dogs. Many people took notice of his work, and anonymous online comments began to appear on his blog about how the collars made the dogs more visible, causing people to slow down.
Soon after, Naidu’s work received widespread attention, and it was included in the Tata company’s newsletter, earning him an invitation to Mumbai from Ratan Tata, the former chairman of the Tata group and an animal activist.
When he met Tata in Mumbai a few days later, the business tycoon showed his enthusiasm for Naidu’s work and expressed his profound gratitude.
“I still get goosebumps when I think of it. He then took me at this place to see his dogs, and that’s how our friendship began. He also funded our venture,” Naidu says.
This was the start of their friendship.Tata provided funding for his initiative, and Naidu went abroad to pursue his master’s degree, telling Tata that one day he would devote his life to the Tata Trust.
When Naidu returned to India, he received a call from Tata, who said “I have a lot of work to be done in my office. Would you like to be my assistant?”
After accepting the offer, Naidu has been working with Ratan Tata since past 18 months.
Shantanu Naidu’s Instagram username is ‘On Your Sparks,’ and he uses it to inspire students around the country who are hesitant to pursue a career in business. Shantanu Naidu established an online seminar called ‘On Your Sparks’ to support ambitious entrepreneurs during the Covid-19 blackout. He began his presentation by converting his life lessons into entrepreneurial lessons. He now goes live on Instagram every Sunday with ‘On Your Sparks,’ charging Rs 500 for each attendance, with all proceeds going to Motopaws, a charity that helps street dogs. Motopaws has now expanded to over 20 cities and four countries.
Shantanu Naidu also published a book called “I Came Upon a Lighthouse,” which is a modest reflection of his life with Ratan Tata, the business tycoon.
Shantanu Naidu, a young entrepreneur, has built a name for himself in the business world, and famed business magnate Ratan Tata is one of his supporters. Shantanu Naidu’s inspirational path began with a project to help street dogs, and his hard work and dedication soon led him to where he is now. His journey is a true inspiration for who we want to become tomorrow.