How this young boy from Gujarat built a Rs 100 Cr revenue liquor business and other top stories of the week
In 1981, 12-year-old Bhimji Patel left Meghpar village in Kutch, Gujarat for Mumbai – the city of dreams. A voracious reader and highly skilled at mathematics, Bhimji was determined to put his talents to use in the bustling city. The boy joined hands with his cousin and took up odd jobs to earn a living.
After scraping by for a few years, Bhimji took a loan of around Rs 30,000 from his elder brother and started a general store. Taking small, confident steps forward and growing the business, Bhimji gradually expanded his store into a supermarket.
His son, Kunal Patel, tells SMBStory: “My father took up all opportunities that came his way. He found a chance to become a commission agent for various products that came from overseas – especially liquor. His constant knack for networking helped him supply imported liquor to foreign embassies in India.”
Bhimji’s days as a commission agent for imported liquor provided valuable experience and set the stage for Monika Enterprises, a wholesaling and distribution business, that he launched in Mumbai in 2008.
Since then, Bhimji and his family-run business have come a long way in selling premium imported liquor brands in India. Bushmills Irish Whiskey, Jose Cuervo Tequila, Ron Diplomatico Rum, Belenkaya Vodka, and Russian Standard Vodka are some of the foreign liquor brands that Bhimji introduced in India.
Today, Bhimji is a self-made entrepreneur and his business is booming. He employs around 125 people. Last year, Monika Enterprises recorded Rs 100 crore in revenue, claims Kunal, who joined the business in 2013.
Other top stories of the week-
HDFC Bank’s Sumant Rampal on MSMEs winning the COVID-19 battle
Sumant Rampal, Senior Executive Vice President, Business Banking and Healthcare Finance
India's MSME sector is the second-largest employer in the country, only behind agriculture. The sector took a massive beating amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with numerous surveys showing that the disruptions had impacted earnings by 20-50 percent, and that micro and small enterprises faced the maximum heat.
A year later, however, things are beginning to recover despite the second COVID-19 wave.
Charles Darwin famously said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.”
Sumant Rampal, Senior Executive Vice President, Business Banking and Healthcare Finance, HDFC Bank, believes that MSMEs have come out as clear winners in the COVID-19 war.
And this has been facilitated by bringing about certain changes in their existing operations, such as the focus on going digital.
As the country commemorates one year of the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19, SMBStory spoke to Sumant on how MSMEs survived the sink-or-swim situations posed by the pandemic, what lies ahead, and the role banks play in uplifting the sector.