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Nilesh Makwana’s entrepreneurial journey from bicycle in India to business class in Australia

"Inspire other young men and women to believe that their dreams are achievable with tenacity and hard work."

Indian-Australian entrepreneur Nilesh Makwana who lives in Perth, Western Australia, has charted his inspiring journey from bicycle to business class in a book.

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Nilesh Makwana (LinkedIn)

Nilesh is the co-founder and CEO of Illuminance Solutions, a National Technology Company, and a Microsoft Global Partner for Social Impact. His new book entitled “Terminal 4 – An Entrepreneur’s Journey from Bicycle to Business Class” was launched in Delhi on 12 July 2022.

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Hon. Roger Cook launching Nilesh Makwana’s book in Delhi (Image supplied)

Nilesh told The Australia Today that this book tells his story and takes readers from his childhood in India to studies in the UK and Australia, and his business ventures. He adds that his book is told through the lens of a migrant:

“HOW AN INDIAN HIGH SCHOOL FAILURE, WHO, DESPITE NOT BEING SUCCESSFUL ACADEMICALLY, TRAVELS THE WORLD AND EVENTUALLY BECOMES A GLOBAL AWARD-WINNING ENTREPRENEUR IN AUSTRALIA, AND LECTURER TO MASTER LEVEL STUDENT AT AN INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY.”

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ilesh Makwana’s book at Mumbai Airport (Linkedin)
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Nilesh adds that the initial idea behind writing this book was to pay it forward. He says:

WHEN I SET OUT WRITING THIS BOOK THE IDEA WAS TO PAY FORWARD THE LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED THROUGHOUT MY LIFE, EITHER AS A SCHOOL DROPOUT LATER BECOMING A LECTURER AT AN INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY, OR AS A YOUNG KID SELLING PENS AND STICKERS TO FULFILLING MY ENTREPRENEURIAL STREAK WITH MY NOW BUSINESS ILLUMINANCE SOLUTIONS.

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Nilesh Makwana at Mumbai Airport (LinkedIn)

Nilesh also mentors a lot of young migrants in Australia and advises start-ups in India. He observes:

I AM APPROACHED BY YOUNG MIGRANTS AND ENTREPRENEURS ON A DAILY BASIS FOR GUIDANCE ON HOW TO AND WHAT TO, AND I THOUGHT A BOOK COULD BE OF HELP FOR THEM. I NOW REALISE THAT IT GREW INTO SOMETHING ELSE AS WELL, AND THAT PEOPLE AND BUSINESS LEADERS WHO DEAL WITH INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, MIGRANTS AND ENTREPRENEURS CAN LEARN A THING OR TWO FROM THE BOOK, GETTING TO KNOW HOW IT MIGHT BE TO BE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THINGS. I ALSO EXPECT THAT THE BOOK COULD BE AN ASSET FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS AND STUDENTS TO READ BEFORE THEY EMBARK ON THEIR JOURNEY.” 

The WA Deputy Premier Hon. Roger Cook MLA and WA International Education Minister Hon. David Templeman MLA will be in attendance. The launch of Nilesh’s book coincides with the Western Australian government’s investment and trade mission to India.

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Hon. Roger Cook with WA delegation (Image: Roger Cook – LinkedIn)

This will see key WA Government and business representatives visit Delhi, Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and Chennai to build stronger economic and cultural ties with India.

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WA Deputy Premier Hon. Roger Cook (WA govt.)

The Deputy Premier Cook observed that he was pleased to support Nilesh’s book launch to highlight Perth as a place where people from India “can live, learn and launch their entrepreneurial journey.” He added:

“Nilesh Makwana’s entrepreneurial story is a great example of the positive impact Indian migrants have made to not only WA’s business community, but the wider community.”

India is WA’s largest international student market, accounting for 20 per cent of enrolments in 2021. The launch of Nilesh’s book also follows the reopening of the WA border and the welcoming of international students back to Perth.

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WA International Education Minister Hon. David Templeman (WA govt.)
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Minister Templeman said he hoped Nilesh’s story would encourage India’s tertiary students of the future to think about what WA has to offer. He further observed:

“With our world-class universities, strong economy, wealth of job opportunities and desirable lifestyle, WA is a study destination like no other.”

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella‘s portrait by Lene Makwana – Microsoft Inspire conference in Las Vegas 2019 (LinkedIn)

In June 2019, Nilesh’s start-up beat 3000 other nominees for the partner for social impact award. This was presented to him for his company’s AvantCare customer relationship management software that was developed for not-for-profits to better manage clients in the NDIS era. Nilesh told media:

“That was the first global award ever given by Microsoft to any partner for social impact and we happened to be that company, it was bizarre, crazy, unbelievable news.”

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Nilesh Makwana at Mumbai Airport (Linkedin)

Nilesh has been an Australia Day Council Ambassador and with his interactions with community members he inspires Australians to be more diverse and inclusive. With his new book, Nilesh hopes tha it would “inspire other young men and women to believe that their dreams are achievable with tenacity and hard work.”

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Nilesh Makwana with Hon. Roger Cook at the book launch in Delhi (Image supplied)

Nilesh says that at this stage there is no plan to write another book, but HALO Films and Seadog TV International based in Perth has commenced the work on a documentary based on this book.

Nilesh has also established a NGO, Borderless Gandhi, With his wife, Lene, who is a Norwegian artist, to promote Mahatma Gandhi’s message of peace, equality and non-violence through various artistic reflections.

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