Agnelorajesh Athaide is an Author, Social Entrepreneur, Educationist and Business Mentor who believes in learning, earning, and returning. He is the chairman of St. Angelos Global Group of Companies. He is a first-generation entrepreneur and works globally in the sectors of technology and education, concept-based real estate development, hospitality, food and restaurants, architectural solutions and e-commerce.
Agnelorajesh Athaide was born in an economically challenged household; he says, “I am grateful for my childhood. It transformed me into the person I am today because I decided to change the situation and use it to my advantage.” His father was a Maharashtrian Roman Catholic from Maharashtra, while his mother was from Tamil Nadu. They had an intercaste marriage and were both on their own since they got married. They lived on rentals while his father worked for a multinational company as an accounts clerk, and his mother gave tuitions to make ends meet.
An incident in his childhood significantly shaped the person he is today. His mother had a 180sqft house allotted to them by the Housing Board in 1971. However, they shifted to that house only in 1982. The rent of the house was INR 9 per month, and since they had recently moved in, it had not been paid from 1971 to 1982. To pay the outstanding rent, his mother had to sell her two gold bangles and mangalsutra, an auspicious chain that the groom puts around the bride’s neck on the wedding day.
This incident took place before young Athaide and brought tears to his eyes. The situation compelled the young boy to mature in a day. His mother saw his pain and said, “Rajesh in life, either a situation will control you or you will control the situation. Always opt to control the situation.”
Athaide added, “That was a game-changer in my life. After that, there was no looking back. I cultivated a habit of controlling every situation and converting every adversity into an opportunity.”
He recalled, “My parents are my biggest blessings. They supported me with an unlimited belief that I would rise to great heights. My mother has always been my driving force. She was a fearless lady who instilled confidence in all of us. I look up to her for the way she led her life, for us. Her confidence and her control over fear of loss were commendable. I’m grateful that all of this rubbed off onto me.”
After the incident, Athaide developed a growth mindset that he says is an essential tool to success. He started working towards his goal of attaining financial freedom. He did an array of jobs, starting from working at a bindi factory at the young age of thirteen to working as an office assistant in a pharmaceutical company while simultaneously attending college.
During his final year of college, he bought a computer and started doing data processing jobs at home. He began teaching computer classes with a clear vision, ultimately transforming it into a profitable company, St. Angelos Computer Education, that has now successfully trained more than 4.5 lakh students over the course of 25 years.
Athaide says, “I am extremely proud of the work St. Angelos Computer Education has done for lakhs of students. We brought computer education within the reach of the common man and empowered him to grow financially and leverage global opportunities. It gave wings to the middle class and the lower middle class segments and brought tremendous growth potential to the future of the students.”
With an impeccable knack for business, after his first victory, he ventured into Real Estate in 2005, followed by restaurants in 2009 and hospitality in 2012. A year later, Athaide expanded his Real Estate Development Project across multiple cities of India, with their sales team set up in Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia, the USA, amongst others.
Talking about his passion, he says, “While developing Real Estate Projects, I ensured that all the basic amenities were provided. In my childhood home, the road outside was higher than the flooring in my house, which caused great difficulty during the monsoons with water gushing into our house. To avoid such hassles, I made it a point to make my projects the tallest villas in India. I engaged the services of Susanne Khan, a renowned Indian Interior Designer, to design my villas, and use the best materials available to make sure that each buyer received incredible value for their money.”
In 2017, Athaide started the Global Indian Realty Summit in association with Network 18, a Mukesh Ambani enterprise. This soon became a valuable resource for the real estate industry in India as many stalwarts of the country participated in contributing their knowledge and experiences to the advantage of the Indian audience.
He kept growing his business empire till the lockdown hit India, and there was a lull in business. Athaide recollected, “It became a period of introspection, I started reprocessing every decision I had taken. The greatest fear was the impact the past decisions could have on the current scenario.”
With his decades of experience and expertise, he turned the situation around; he continued, “I tweaked all my past choices to adapt to the new conditions. I also realised that remote working, use of technology, technology-supported businesses would take a giant leap. I immediately ventured into multiple new industries, all supported by technology.” Since then, he has ventured into several industries such as E-Commerce, Online Educational Platforms and Architecture.
Athaide has a unique skill of turning obstacles into opportunities; talking about his secret to success, he says, “I have been working since the age of 13. That has given me a lot of experience, exposure and thousands of meaningful relationships. And this is my main capital. Human connectivity is what I love. So all my businesses are connected to the direct gratification of my consumer.”
In conclusion, he says, “The quantum of your success depends on the quantum of people who believe in you and support you. It’s all about people and I am grateful to have a supportive family.”