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Jabir Karat – From Lakhs of Loss to Crores of Profit in Waste Management

In this episode of Dream Malayalam podcast, Jabir Karat – Young Social Entrepreneur from Kerala discusses his mission of cleaning up Kerala and India. Jabir, who has achieved Gandhi Fellowship, made a conscious decision of dirtying his hands for a good cause. Jabir is undoubtedly Kerala’s Prince of Waste Management. He is the CEO of the Waste Management company Green Worms based in Kozhikode, Kerala. Listen to this informative podcast interview where Jabir talks about his massive initial failures, how he turned around his failures to learning points and eventually to huge sucess in life. If you want to know how a history major with no background in business became one of the successful businessmen of India, that too with a social cause, then tune in. 

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ജാബിർ കാരാട്ടിനെ കുറിച്ച്

ഡ്രീം മലയാളം പോഡ്‌കാസ്റ്റിന്റെ ഈ എപ്പിസോഡിൽ കേരളവും ഇന്ത്യയും വൃത്തിയാക്കാനുള്ള തന്റെ ദൗത്യത്തെക്കുറിച്ച് കേരളത്തിൽ നിന്നുള്ള യുവ സാമൂഹിക സംരംഭകനായ ജാബിർ കാരാട്ട് ചർച്ച ചെയ്യുന്നു. ഗാന്ധി ഫെലോഷിപ്പ് നേടിയ ജബീർ ഒരു നല്ല ലക്ഷ്യത്തിനായി കൈകൾ വൃത്തികെട്ടതാക്കാനുള്ള ബോധപൂർവമായ തീരുമാനമെടുത്തു. കേരളത്തിലെ മാലിന്യ സംസ്കരണത്തിന്റെ രാജകുമാരനാണ് ജബീർ എന്നതിൽ സംശയമില്ല. കേരളത്തിലെ കോഴിക്കോട് ആസ്ഥാനമായി പ്രവർത്തിക്കുന്ന Green Worms എന്ന മാലിന്യ നിർമാർജന കമ്പനി സിഇഒയാണ്. ഈ വിജ്ഞാനപ്രദമായ പോഡ്‌കാസ്റ്റ് അഭിമുഖം ശ്രവിക്കുക, ജബീർ തന്റെ പ്രാരംഭ പരാജയങ്ങളെക്കുറിച്ചും ജീവിതത്തിലെ വലിയ വിജയത്തെക്കുറിച്ചും സംസാരിക്കുന്നു. ബിസിനസിൽ പശ്ചാത്തലമില്ലാത്ത ഒരു ചരിത്ര മേജർ എങ്ങനെയാണ് ഇന്ത്യയിലെ വിജയകരമായ ബിസിനസുകാരിൽ ഒരാളായി മാറിയതെന്ന് അറിയണമെങ്കിൽ, അതും ഒരു സാമൂഹിക ലക്ഷ്യത്തോടെ, ട്യൂൺ ചെയ്യുക.

About Jabir Karat – show notes

Jabir Karat is a Garbologist (newly coined term by him) and a Social Entrepreneur. Jabir hails from Adivaram, near Thamarassery. He studied in Malayalam medium during his school days. Jabir Karat completed his graduation and post-graduation in History.

How a person who studied Indian History transitioned to Waste Management?

Entrepreneurship was being viewed as a negative thing during those days. Jabir was an outdoor person. He was trying to understand the things that happens in the outside world. He was an average academic student.

Jabir wanted to do something different and received the coveted Gandhi Fellowship and got an opportunity to work in the Mumbai slums. It was during that time he found that speaking English language or education did not really matter in the real life. He was a person of low esteem during his early days. He was able to gain a lot of self-confidence during his experience working in Mumbai in the slums. He understood during this experience that it did not matter which college you went to, who your parents were, what is your net worth was? He realised that what mattered was your hardwork, rigour, and perseverance.

He was able to meet many mentors who were social entreprenuers and who were scaling at a big level. At the end of the fellowship, Jabir finalized on going to work on something which could make a social impact. And he went on do deeper study and research on many ideas related to entrepreneurship. Finally he found that there is a great opportunity in Waste Management and realised that it was his calling.

He found that Waste Management had social and environmental impact, it was futuristic in nature and had a great potential as a business model aswell. Not many colleges or universities were dealing with Waste Management. It was not a fancy sector as well. Still, he realised that there was money to be made in the field and at the same time would make a social impact for the betterment of the society.

How did Jabir come to the conclusion that Waste Management was going to be his career?

He wanted to have a model that would be apt for Kerala in the initial phase. Jabir preferred Kerala to be his home base. He liked the subject of cleaning the environment, even though he was not a fervent environmentalist initially. But he always preferred villages and clean environment over cities. He watched lots of videos like Satyameva Jayade.

Was his path to business in Waste Management a contrarian truth whose time has come?

Jabir thinks India is still on its path to accepting the concept of waste maangement. He consistently stuck to the Waste Management domain, but has pivoted to different areas within the Waste Management domain. His message to young entrepreneurs is to keep exploring the domain they started their venture in and try finding areas within the same domain to find your true strength and niche. This is because every domain or every business sector is so vast that when you keep exploring and trying new things within the same domain, you might find your true strengths where you can excel over everyone else.

How did Jabir find a business opportunity in Waste Management?

Jabir rates work experience over a degree or MBA. He understood that folks and companies who are producing waste would be willing to pay to take care of the waste they produce. He saw many people were struggling to dispose waste and were willing to pay for disposing them.

He knew that the waste management workers were treated one level below the scrap shops. Customers know the value of the usual items like paper etc. 

Many of his early market assumptions turned out to be incorrect. Only 3% responded positive to the assumption he made initially. Jabir had to face many failures in market analysis due to not having the business background. But he had perseverance.

Every time Jabir failed, he went back and tried different things and was persistent. Those were expensive and time consuming mistakes. But with trial and error, he was able to triumph over failures. So he rates perseverance higher than MBA or any degree provided by an institution.

This is an amazing story of a company CEO who worked purely as a rag picker for 3 months to gain first hand experience. During his time as a rag picker, he saw sanitary in the dumpster, he worked at the bottom of the bottom level. The ladies who worked there asked why he was doing this. He wanted to be with the people who worked in this area to understand the ins and outs of the waste management industry.

His story is truly inspirational and you won’t find many who has walked through his path and achieved all the things he has achieved. His experience is an eye opener to all, you don’t have to trash the environment to create profit, but it is the other way for Jabir Karat

Jabir is creating profit and cleaning the environment at the same time.
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Music – “Verano Sensual” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

Jabir Karat Malayalam Podcast YouTube Link:

Malayalam Podcast Waste Management – Jabir Karat