The successful Indian entrepreneurs we don’t talk about

Source | LinkedIn : By Dr Aniruddha Malpani

I was invited to give a talk at the Nashik Entrepreneurship Forum by Sanjay Lodha on angel investing. I had a great day because I learned a lot. I live in Mumbai, which is the economic capital of India. We Mumbaikars think we’re the leaders in the financial space, and know everything there is to know about investing. However, going to Nashik opened my eyes.

Mr Shrirang Sarda, a director at Sarda Group of Companies, and Mr Rajesh Malpani ( sadly, I am not related to him), a director at Malpani Group in Sangamner, both gave a great presentation on how they have grown their family business . They are third generation family businessmen , who went to the USA for higher education ,and then came back to run the companies which they inherited . They are progressive and forward-looking, and it was inspiring to hear how these businessmen, who are rooted in Indian culture, have crafted such great success stories by transforming themselves into professionally managed family businesses. They have successfully blended the best of both worlds , because they think global and act local. They have tons of domain expertise , a lot of which they have absorbed from their elders; and they can apply it scientifically using modern management principles.

Not only do they earn a lot of money, they also take extremely good care of their workers. Many of the perks they offer their employees are very innovative. Here’s an example. Indian weddings are expensive affairs, and they realised that a lot of their factory workers ended up in debt because of these marriage expenses. They started doing mass weddings for their workers, thus saving them a lot of money. An employer-sponsored mass marriage is a uniquely Indian twist on how to offer employee benefits creatively !

This is a great example of how empathetic founders who understand Indian traditions can create a win-win situation. Not only did employees gain by saving on the wedding expenses, the management also benefitted, because they created employee delight and loyal workers. Based on the success of this initiative, they started a nursery school in the factory premises so that the mothers could continue to work; and book banks for educating their children, so that they could complete their schooling. Enlightened management has helped to transform the lives of all their workers – and helped the town to progress dramatically as well. Not only have they become the employers of choice, they have also helped to reduce indebtedness by starting a workers credit society to rescue them from the clutches of the local money lenders ( sahukars) who would charge exorbitant rates of interest.

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