From rags to riches: The untold stories from India!

It is literally a rags to riches story. Four entrepreneurs who made it big from the scratch. Let us follow their journey to success and glory…

Ram Chandra Agarwal
CMD, Vishal Retail

Age: 42
1985: Joins a rolling shutter company at Rs 300 a month
1986: Opens his garment shop, all 50 sq ft of it, rented at Rs 1,200 a month, in Lal Bazar Street, Kolkata
1989-90: Organises discount sales of MNC clothing brands
Now: Vishal Retail, of which he owns 65 per cent, occupies 1.35 million sq ft and is increasing it to 8-10 million sq ft “in a short period”
“Extraordinary work can be done by ordinary people if they have the passion and a good leader”

Shantanu Prakash
MD, Educomp Solutions

1988: Son of a SAIL employee in Rourkela, “where no one had any money”, cracks IIM- Ahmedabad
1990: Set up a brick-and-mortar education company in partnership with a college friend
1994: Sets up Educomp with two employees and a scraped-together capital of Rs 100,000
Now: Along with wife Anjlee, controls 60 per cent of Educomp, whose market capitalisation stands at Rs 4,115 crore or Rs 41.15 billion. (The first venture, which the friend kept, has shut down)
“I have an unshakeable belief that I have a larger purpose in life – to change the world through education”

Lakshaman Dass Mittal
Chairman, Sonalika Group, and Consul General, Republic of Macedonia

Age: 75
1962: Makes a wheat thresher with the help of local blacksmiths in Hoshiarpur
1963: The family goes bankrupt
1970: The net worth of three generations of Mittals – clothes included – touches Rs 100,000
Now: Owns the Rs 3,000 crore (Rs 30 billion) Sonalika Group, whose tractor plant is certified by Washington-based Environment Protection Agency
“Once I applied for dealership of Maruti Udyog but was rejected. Today, I give out dealerships”

Sudip Dutta
CMD, Ess Dee Aluminium
Age: 35
1989: Comes to Mumbai to earn a living and joins a pouch making company for Rs 15 a day
1990: Watches his first film in a theatre
1991: Persuades the owners of the foil company, who had lost interest, to sell it to him for deferred payments
Now: Owns 65 per cent of Ess Dee, whose name is the phonetic form of his initials and whose market capitalisation is Rs 1,413 crore (Rs 14.13 billion)
“If you give me a balance sheet, I will not be able to discuss the schedules, but will tell you what the problem with the company is”

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