Driven by a dream to see every child use a computer, but with no real expertise to back it, Sayed Asad started a small computer-recycling venture in 1999 when he was only 23.
Calling himself an environment entrepreneur, Asad buys computers from companies, refurbishes them at his own expense and then sells them at subsidised rates to students and small ventures.
What began in a 10x10 ft room has today become a nationwide enterprise with branches across the country under the banner of Best Computer Solutions (BCS).
“Every family is entitled to own a computer irrespective of their economic condition,” said Asad. The board outside his Saki Naka headquarters reads: ‘Buy computers with latest technology at Rs3,500 with a three-month warranty’.
Today, the BCS has tied up with 26 companies in the country, including the State Bank of India, Canara Bank, HDFC Bank as well as multinational companies such as Idea Cellular Limited, 3i Infotech Limited and Kodak India Limited, among others.
BCS purchases old computers, laptops and printers from these companies at throwaway prices.
“All the computers that the multinational companies and banks buy come with a three- year warranty, after which they replace their entire set-up,” said Asad. “We purchase computers, laptops and other electronic wastes in the condition that they are. The companies sell them cheap because they want to get rid of them.”
BCS’s marketing team works seven days a week to keep up with existing clients and scout for new ones. “It is an ongoing business and we have no room to miss out on even a small branch of our client even if it is located in the interiors.”
Once the e-waste is collected from the company, 25 full-time computer engineers at the Saki Naka warehouse refurbish and upgrade the computers with multimedia and entertainment capabilities. “We replace the non-functioning parts with new ones, and ensure that they are almost as good as new,” he added.
The newly assembled computers are then sold for Rs3,500 to schools, computer classes, offices, homes and also call centres. “We have just received an order for 250 recycled computers from a leading city-based call centre,” he said.
When asked about the driving forces behind this venture, Asad said, “As a child, I never got the opportunity to use a computer because my parents couldn’t afford one. There is nothing better than creating wealth from waste venture.”