SMBWrap: Rags-to-riches stories of two Indian entrepreneurs, and other top stories of the week

SMBStory traces rags-to-riches stories of two entrepreneurs who proved that grit, determination, and hard work can make anything and everything possible.

29th Mar 2020
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Not everyone is born with a silver spoon. Some have to undergo great hardship before making a mark.


SMBStory traces rags-to-riches stories of two entrepreneurs who proved that grit, determination, and hard work can make anything and everything possible. 

Cycle Pure Agarbathies

Cycle Agarbathies

Arjun Ranga, Managing Director, NR Group

Losing a parent at a young age can be a life-altering experience. When faced with such a situation, some succumb to the tragedy while others emerge stronger. N. Ranga Rao was only eight years old when he lost his father.


Coming from a family of teachers and purohits (priests), he was burdened with familial responsibilities at a very young age. He started working small jobs, switching from one to the other to make his ends meet. Years passed by, and in his teenage years, he moved to Coonoor to work as a store supervisor. 


In the 1940s, Ranga Rao started an agarbatti business from his home and named the company Mysuru Products and General Trading Company, and later changed it to NR Group.


Ranga Rao started making agarbattis at home with the help of his grandmother. He used to visit the market every day to get raw materials, make the product, sell it, and use the money to buy more raw materials. He fed his family with the remaining money.


Today, the company clocks a turnover of Rs 1,700 crore with a strong presence in 75 countries. It claims to have sold 12 billion packets of agarbattis last year alone. 

Read the full story here.



Shiv Sagar

Shiv Sagar

Narayan T Poojari, Owner, Shiv Sagar

Narayan T Poojari’s story tells us how grit, determination, and hard work can take you places. From a small village Gujjadi in Udupi district of Karnataka, he comes from a poor family. Narayan came to Mumbai at the age of 13 to make a living.


He did several odd jobs – working in canteens and hotels – during the day, and attended night school to educate himself. 


In the 1980s and 1990s, when food items such as idlis, pav bhaji, and dosas were gaining popularity, Narayan saw that not many players were catering to this segment.


Seeing an opportunity, in 1990, at the age of only 23, Narayan started Shiv Sagar with an investment of Rs 40 lakh in Mumbai’s Churchgate area. 


Shiv Sagar soon became one of the most popular eating joints in Mumbai. Today, the business clocks a turnover of Rs 75 crore annually.

Read the full story here.




This week, we also traced the journey of these two entrepreneurs who donned the armour of perseverance to overcome difficult times.

UBON

UBON

Mandeep Arora, Co-founder of UBON


In 2004, Mandeep, his father Om Prakash Arora, and his brother Lalit Arora co-founded mobile accessories company UBON in Delhi. 


Speaking on the tough times, Mandeep says, “The toughest time for us was during demonetisation. We are the kind of company, which doesn’t give credit. Back then, people did not have money to give us and we were in a huge crisis. It was like a nightmare. We couldn’t believe that something like that could ever happen. We were all very clueless. Coronavirus scare has a lesser impact on our business when compared to demonetisation. During coronavirus spread, at least we have time to prepare ourselves. During demonetisation, we could not take note of the situation. Gradually, we took steps and found our way back.”


Mandeep did not disclose the turnover of UBON but adds that they are aiming to reach Rs 1,000 crore in the next three years and want to achieve 20-25 percent growth every year.

Read the full story here.



Medusa Beverages 

Medusa Beverages

Avneet Singh, Founder, Medusa Beverages

It was while studying architecture that Avneet Singh realised that the field wasn’t his calling. So simultaneously, when he was 19, he started ‘Bella Peau’, a skincare product brand, by investing from his personal savings and taking a seed capital of Rs 2 lakh from his father. However, the product didn’t work and Avneet started a café instead. 


At the same time, Avneet realised that there was a need for a beer brand in the market that catered to the needs of the younger crowd. So, in 2016, he managed to get a licence to start a liquor store in Delhi.


In 2017, Avneet founded Medusa Beverages and began its operations in January 2018. While the brand made a turnover of Rs 70 crore in 2018, it clocked Rs 150 crore in 2019, clearly showcasing that there was a huge demand for craft beer across the country. After launching in Delhi, Medusa Beverages is now present in Punjab, UP, and Chhattisgarh.

Read the full story here.


(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)

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