These entrepreneurs show that following passion in business is key to success: top SMB stories of the week

This week SMBStory came across entrepreneurs who left their jobs and existing businesses to don an entrepreneurial role. Here are their stories.

There are often times when our mind juggles thoughts on choosing the right profession. Sometimes we feel we have made an appropriate choice, but after a certain period of time, we find our calling in something else.   

This week SMBStory came across entrepreneurs who left their jobs and existing businesses and made it big as entrepreneurs. Here are their stories:

Smile Electronics Limited

Suman Gupta and Mukesh Gupta, Founders, Smile Electronics

There is no set time to find your calling to become an entrepreneur and Mukesh Gupta, Director, Smile Electronics Limited, is the quintessence of this famous saying. 

An LLB graduate with 25 years of experience in the private financial market, including running a Category 1 merchant banking enterprise, Mukesh found a business opportunity in the electronics industry.  

In an interaction with SMBStory, second-generation entrepreneur, Ashita Gupta, COO, who joined the company in 2012 says,  

“My father had big corporates as clients when he was a financier. He had a fairly good understanding of the electronics industry. With his astute observations, he decided to step into the industry taking guidance from his contacts.”

Mukesh Gupta started Smile Electronics in 2000 as an Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) company to deliver design, manufacturing, fulfilment, complete forward and reverse logistics services, and holistic product life cycle management services to technology giants of the world. 

Today, Smile Electronics also has a manufacturing facility in Mysuru with procurement offices in Singapore and Fremont, USA. The company records an annual turnover of Rs 200 crore.  

Read the full story here

Kent RO

Mahesh Gupta, Founder and CMD, Kent RO

In the 1990s, IIT Kanpur graduate Mahesh Gupta was on a vacation with his family when both his kids suddenly fell ill. The children drank some contaminated water and were diagnosed with jaundice. 

The kids recovered but Delhi-based entrepreneur Mahesh could not forget the incident. 

He started doing research on water purification and found that the commonly-used Ultra Violet (UV) system purifiers were not good enough to remove dissolved impurities from water. 

The process of Reverse Osmosis (RO) caught Mahesh's attention. 

RO is a process of water purification that uses a partially-permeable membrane to remove ions, unwanted molecules, and large particles from water. 

In those days, no one in India was using RO to make water safe for people to drink. Mahesh decided to test it out and imported a membrane and a pump from the US. At home, he built his first RO water purifier.

Today, the business claims to clock a turnover of around Rs 1,000 crore and has a 40 percent share in the RO purifiers market. 

Read the full story here


Deepak Pahwa, Chairman and Managing Director, Bry-Air

Dehumidifiers are commonly used across the world to reduce and maintain the level of humidity in the air, usually for health and comfort or to eliminate mustiness and odours. But they came to India much after they gained popularity in the West.  

Dehumidifier maker Bry-Air caters to a wide range of industries.

Art Harms, who worked at Carrier Engineering Corporation, one of the world’s best air-conditioning engineering companies, founded Bry-Air in the US, in 1964.  

Art, however, exited the business and Indian entrepreneur Deepak Pahwa came on board and scaled the firm. 

Deepak had studied electrical engineering at Banaras Hindu University, after which he worked for three years at an instrument measuring company. Deepak joined the Bry-Air business in 1979 and took over thereafter.

Bry-Air now clocks a turnover of Rs 400 crore annually.   

Read the full story here

Other top SMB picks of the week:

Orient Bell Limited

Mahendra K Daga, Founder & Chairman, Orient Bells Limited

Even though India got independence in 1947, its business ecosystem took a long time to fall in place. Entrepreneurship in the 1970s was totally different from what we see today. Then, it was the time of Licence Raj under which a defined quota was fixed for all manufacturers across the country, to limit their production capacity.  

As an aspiring businessman, it took a lot of focus and passion for MK Daga to negotiate the speed-breakers along his path to success.  

Alok Agarwal, Chief Marketing Officer, Orient Bell Limited (OBL), shares the entrepreneurial journey of MK Daga. He says, “MK Daga initially wanted to get into manufacturing of bent glass. However, after noticing the vacuum in the sanitation industry, he thought of exploring the market.”

In 1977, MK Daga founded Orient Bell Limited in New Delhi from his personal savings and went on to build the company which now clocks Rs 571.14 crore turnover. 

Read the full story here

Finovate Capital

Akshat Birla always wanted to get into fintech, whereas Aljo Joseph wanted to be an entrepreneur. Akshat started his career as a supply chain consultant and then moved to investment banking and worked for Credit Suisse for some time. He was also involved in launching Samsung Pay and driving its operations in the global markets. 

Both were bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. They had earlier met while working in a co-working space. They would often consult each other and had developed a camaraderie. Akshat launched Finovate Capital in November 2018 and Aljo joined soon after. 

Finovate Capital aims at mitigating negative effects of working capital lockdown. It has closed a deal pipeline with existing clients to the tune of Rs 15,000 crore so far.

Read the full story here

Ajanta Orpat

Nevil Patel, MD, Ajanta Orpat Group

Ajanta Orpat Group founder Odhavji Patel was born into a Gujarati family of farmers. When he was young, Odhavji wanted to become a pilot.  

However, after completing his BSc, he did not get support from his traditional and conservative family in pursuing his dream. He started teaching science at a high school in Morbi, which he continued for 27 years. 

As the years passed by, he realised his resources were limited as he had to raise six children. 

As he interacted with various people in Morbi, he came to know that some of them wanted to start a clock manufacturing business. 

“Odhavji did not hesitate. In 1971, he and a few partners pooled in Rs 1 lakh, and started Ajanta Transistor Clock Manufacturing Company from a small, rented premises,” says Nevil Patel, third-generation entrepreneur and current Managing Director of Odhavji’s company, now known as Ajanta Orpat Group.

Last year, the company recorded a turnover of Rs 1,200 crore. 

Read the full story here

Kimaya Himalayan Beverages LLP

Abhinav Jindal, Founder & CEO, Kimaya Himalayan Beverages Llp

While Hoegaarden, Budweiser, and Corona are some of the most sought-after international brands, home-grown brands are gradually proving their mettle in the Indian beer market. 

One of them is Kimaya Himalayan Beverages LLP which has launched two beer brands - Bee Young and Yavira. The company was founded by Abhinav Jindal with an initial investment of Rs 15 crore. While the operations of the company started in 2018, the two brands were launched in September 2019. 

The company has managed to clock a turnover of Rs 25 crore in less than two years.

Read the full story here

(Edited by Javed Gaihlot)

Edited by Javed Gaihlot


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