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    It’s no secret that since the early noughties, Bangalore’s property and real estate market has experienced growth like no other metropolis in the country. On my way to work, I notice that the skyline of the city’s outskirts is crowded with colossal, nearly-finished apartment buildings, sprawling residential complexes, or billboards advertising the arrival of the aforementioned to a neighbourhood near you. As big builders make inroads into the IT city, the online aggregators and brokerage start-ups follow suit.
    What’s interesting about Bangalore’s property market is the range of buyers: HNIs (High Net Worth Individuals) with exquisite taste, working professionals who’ve moved to the city and scour online ads for apartments, and your typical middle-class couple that looks to put their nest egg into a family home in a residential enclave.
    It’s this third category of buyer that Esther Enterprises began to service in 1980. The company’s MD Francis Selvaraj narrates the story of how his father, an ex-serviceman in the Indian Army, started the fledgling business to help others like him find their own patch of land without getting ripped off by dodgy fly-by-night operators.
    Today, Selvaraj has grown his company into a brand that’s synonymous with trust — a key decision-making factor that prospective buyers need assurance about. He was among the first developers to take his business strategically to untapped localities and towns en route to the airport. “As the housing market expands, the airport isn’t going to be far out from the city anymore,” Selvaraj, who’s also a former A division footballer, explained. He adds that while apartments are currently oversupplied, the future of property development lies in gated communities.
    Meanwhile, with an eye on his company’s future, Selvaraj has diversified his real estate assets by recently setting up “Camp Revive” in Hosur. The camping centre has seen a steady inflow of corporate teams on off-site training programmes. However, it’s the idea of a social enterprise, much like the vision his father had, that is at the heart of this venture. Camp Revive uses sports and outdoor activities to organise value education for all teens, including underprivileged kids from rural schools. “I always wanted something to leave behind, a legacy,” Selvaraj mentioned, “and Camp Revive hopes to teach young people leadership skills and how to make the right choices in life.”
    So what nuggets of entrepreneurial advice does he have for the scores of kids conjuring up start-up dreams while still in college? “Find your passion,” Selvaraj said, “and then be consistent; stay with it, even when it gets hard.”
    pauldharamraj
    @gmail.com

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