“An entrepreneur is a person who pays a certain price for a product to resell it at an uncertain price, thereby making decisions about obtaining and using the resources while consequently admitting the risk of enterprise.”-RICHARD CANTILLON
Some of the famous entrepreneurs of India are:
1. Dhirubhai Ambani 2. Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani 3. Anil Dhirubhai Ambani 4. JRD Tata 5. Ratan Tata
6. Kumar Mangalam Birla 7. Azim Premji 8. Shiv Nadar 9. Dr. Vijaypat Singhania 10. N. R. Narayan Murthy.
List of Famous Entrepreneurs in India
Famous Entrepreneur # 1. Dhirubhai Ambani
Dhirubhai Ambani was born on 28th December, 1933 in the village of Chorwad in Gujarat. His parents were Hirachand Gordhanbhai Ambani (father) and Jamnaben (mother). Hirachand Gordhanbhai Ambani was a school teacher and Dhirubhai Ambani was the second son of him. Dhirubhai Ambani started his entrepreneurial career by selling ‘Pakora’ to piligrims in Mount Gimar over the weekends. He married to Kokilaben and had two sons, Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani and two daughters, Nina Kothari and Deepti Salgavcar.
In 1949, at the age of 17, Dhirubhai went to Aden (now Yemen) in search of job opportunity, and worked as a dispatch clerk for A.Besse and company for a salary of Rs. 300 per month. Two years later, the company became a distributor for shell products and Dhirubhai was promoted to manage the company’s oil filling station at the port of Aden. It was here that he dreamt of setting up and owning a refinery, which he later realized with his petrochemicals venture.
Reliance Commercial Corporation:
In 1962, Dhirubhai returned to India and started the Reliance commercial corporation with a capital of Rs. 15,000. The primary objective of starting this business was to import polyester yarn and export spices.
The business was setup in partnership with Champaklal Damani, his second cousin, who used to be with him in Aden, Yemen. The first office of the Reliance commercial corporation was setup at the Narsinatha Street in Masjid Bunder. It was a 350 Sq. ft. room with a telephone, one table and 3 chairs. In 1965, Champaklal Damani and Dhirubhai Ambani ended their partnership and Dhirubhai continued on his own. It is believed that both had different temperaments and a different take on how to conduct business.
While Mr. Damani was a cautious trader and did not believe in building inventories, Dhirubhai was a known risk taker and he considered that building inventories, anticipating price rise, and making profits. In 1968, he moved to an upmarket apartment at Altamount Road in South Mumbai. Ambani’s networth was estimated at about Rs. 10 lakhs by late 1970s’.
Sensing a good opportunity in the textile business, Dhirubhai started his first textile mill at Naroda, in Ahmedabad in the year 1966. Dhirubhai started the brand ‘Vimal which was named after his elder brother Ramaniklal Ambani’s son, Vimal Ambani. Extensive marketing of the brand ‘Vimal’ in the interiors of India made it a household name. In the year 1975, a technical team from the World Bank visited the Reliance Textile manufacturing unit. This unit has the rare distinction of being certified as “excellent even by developed country standards” they added.
Dhirubhai’s Control over Stock Exchanges:
Dhirubhai had excellent control over the stock exchanges i.e. he knew the pulse of Indian investing public. In 1982, Reliance Industries came up against a right issue regarding partly convertible debentures. Dhirubhai Ambani intelligently settled the issue of downfall of prices of securities intentionally made by few bear speculators.
Overtime, Dhirubhai diversified his business with rare specialization being in petrochemicals and additional interests in telecommunications, information technology, energy, power, retail, textiles, infrastructure services, capital markets, and logistics. The company as a whole was described by the BBC as a business empire with an estimated annual turnover of $12 bn, and an 85,000 strong workforce.
The role of Dhirubhai cherished most was perhaps that of India’s greatest wealth creator. Under Dhirubhai’s extraordinary vision and leadership, Reliance scripted one of the greatest growth Stories in corporate history anywhere in the world, and went on to become India’s largest private sector enterprise in multi sectors.
As with all great pioneers, there is more than one unique way of describing the true genius of Dhirubhai; (a) the corporate visionary (b) the unmatched strategist (c) the proud patriot (d) the leader of men (e) the architect of India’s capital market (f) the champion of shareholder interest-these shows unique features of Dhirubhai.
The secret of Dhirubhai’s success lay in his vision that allowed him to predict optimum integration strategies for his product mix and his company’s ability to customize technologies for optimal cost efficiency.
Dhirubhai is a true philanthropist, not a preacher or a reformer. His corporate philosophy and brand management were initially taunted by his competitors. But they become silent after seeing the real strength of Dhirubhai and his outstanding achievements.
Dhirubhai saw beyond the banks and financial institutions to the real source of funds. His corporate objectives were very simple – better company results and good returns to shareholders. Dhirubhai taught India to think big because, as he used to say “Ours is a big country, and if we do not think big, we shall never be able to attain our potential”.
Dhirubhai Ambani was admitted to the Breath candy Hospital in Mumbai on June 24,2002 after he suffered a major stroke. This was his second stroke. The first one had occurred in February, 1986. He was in a state of coma for more than a week. A group of expert doctors failed to save the great business leader. He breathed his last on July 6,2002, at around 11.50 pm (IST).
The funeral procession was attended by people from all walks of life i.e. by business tycoons, politicians, and thousands of ordinary people. Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani can be seen carrying their father’s body as per Hindu traditions. Mukesh Ambani, the elder son of Dhirubhai performed the last rites as per Hindu traditions. He was cremated at the chandanwadi crematorium in Mumbai around 4.30 pm (IST) on July 7,2002.
Dhirubhai Ambani, the star of the business world started his -long journey from Mumbai Street. As a mark of respect to this great businessman, the Mumbai Textile Merchants decided to keep the market closed on July 8,2002. At the time of Dhirubhai’s death, Reliance group had a gross turnover of Rs. 75,000 crore or 15 billion US Dollar.
“If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.” – Late Dhirubhai Ambani
Dhirubhai Ambani was an iconic enterprising business tycoon in the annals of Indian corporate world, who is credited with carving India’s equity culture, ushering millions of retail investors in capital markets, till then dominated by financial institutions. He revolutionized the capital markets by harvesting amassed wealth for those who trusted him and invested in his companies.
Dhirubhai Ambani was born on 28th December, 1932, in a baniya family to Hirachand Govardhandas Ambani and Jamanaben in the district of Junagarh. His father was employed as a school teacher while his mother was a homemaker.
Raised in frugal living conditions, right from an early age, he was aware of the insufficient financial resources of his family due to the meager family income and expanding expenses. Due to the poor health of his father and impoverished living condition of the family, he discontinued his education and took up a job offered in Aden, Yemen.
At that time, Yemen was the second largest busiest oil port in the world. After learning the nuisances of business in Yemen, he returned to India in 1958 and explored business opportunities in Bombay.
Due to frugal funds, he initially settled as a spice trader under the name Reliance Commercial Corporations selling articles like spices, sugar, jaggery, betel etc. to countries in Gulf Emirates. In 1966, Dhirubhai started his own textiles manufacturing unit at Naroda, in Ahmedabad.
Later, he established his first brand “Vimal”, producing finest quality of polyester textile. The biggest breakthrough in his life came in the year 1977, when he managed to attract over 58,000 investors in the very first IPO of Reliance Commercial Corporation; and from there onwards he never looked back ever since.
By 1972, Reliance operation become substantially enormous and it also received a nod of excellence from the World Bank. The team of technical experts from World Bank that visited Reliance premises certified its product quality as “excellent even by developed country standards.” This certification further led to the up-gradation and expansion of all plant operations.
In 1981, the entry of his elder son Mukesh in to the business resulted in Reliance’s backward integration path from textiles into polyester fibers and further into petrochemicals, petroleum refining and going up-stream into oil and gas exploration and production.
Later in 1983, his younger son, Anil Ambani also joined the business and took over as the chief executive officer at Naroda. With innovative instruments like the convertible debenture, Reliance group quickly became a favorite of the stock market in the 1980s. In 1992, Reliance became the first Indian company to raise money in global markets, Reliance also became the first Indian company to feature in Forbes fortunes global 500 companies list.
Over the period of time, the Reliance industries diversified into other sectors, such as, telecommunications, information technology, energy, power, retail, textiles, infrastructure services, capital markets, and logistics. As of 2017, the company has more than 250,000 employees and contributes almost 5% of the Central Government’s total annual tax revenue.
Owing to his incredible contribution to the business world in particular and society in general, he was honored with the following prestigious awards.
These are as follows:
i. January 2016 – Awarded Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second-highest civilian award posthumously.
ii. October 2011 – Awarded posthumously the ABLF Global Asian Award at the Asian Business Leadership Forum Awards.
iii. August 2001 – Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence for Lifetime Achievement.
iv. A poll conducted by The Times of India in 2000 voted him Greatest Creator of Wealth in the Centuries.
v. November 2000 – Conferred Man of the Centaury award by Chemtech Foundation and Chemical Engineering World in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the growth and development of the chemical industry in India.
vi. In 2000, 1998 and 1996- Featured among Power 50-the most powerful people in Asia by Asiaweek magazine.
vii. June 1998 – “Dean’s Medal” by The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, for setting an outstanding example of leadership. Dhirubhai Ambani has the rare distinction of being the first Indian to get Wharton School Dean’s Medal.
viii. Dhirubhai Ambani was also named the “Man of 20th Century” by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
i. Futuristic outlook
ii. Fiery instinct
iii. Burning passion
iv. Strong business acumen
v. Out of the box thinking
vi. Defying the standards
vii. Inexhaustible energy
i. Think Big, Think Differently, Think Fast and Think Ahead
ii. Sharing of wealth with the stake holders
iii. Winning people’s trust
iv. Never say die
v. Profit we share, losses are mine
Famous Entrepreneur # 2. Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani
Mukesh D. Ambani is the eldest son of Shri Dhirubhai Ambani, founder Chairman of the Reliance Company. He studied chemical engineering from the University of Bombay and pursued MBA from Standford University, USA. Mukesh joined Reliance in 1981 and initiated Reliance’s backward integration from textiles into polyester fibres and further into petro chemicals, petroleum refining, oil and gas exploration and production.
Mukesh D. Ambani is a creative entrepreneur with good forethought. He directed the creation of several new world class manufacturing facilities involving diverse technologies. As a result of this, Reliance Petro-chemicals manufacturing capabilities increased several hundred times.
Mukesh D. Ambani initiated the creation of the world’s largest grass roots petroleum refinery at Jamnagar, with a current capacity of 33 million tons per annum. He has also setup one of the largest and most complex information and communications technology initiative in the world in the form of Reliance Infocom Limited, now this is called as Reliance communications limited.
After the death of Dhirubhai Ambani, the Reliance Group took a new term. It got divided on account of diverse opinion between the two young brothers. Kokilaben, the wife of Dhirubhai, tried her level best to integrate the strength and opinions of her two sons. However, she failed in her attempt and finally agreed for the division.
Mukesh Ambani is the chairman of Reliance Petroleum Limited and Reliance Retail Ltd. He is also a director of Reliance Europe Limited and Pratham India Education Initiative.
Honours and Rewards (Accolades):
A Plethora of Honours and rewards conferred on Mukesh.
a. Global vision 2007 award for leadership by the US – India Business council.
b. Council member of ‘World Business Council’ for sustainable Development’.
c. ET Business leader for the year-Award by Economic Times in 2000.
d. Honorary Doctorate by the Maharaja Savajirao University 2007.
e. Global Indian leader Award-Award given by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Man Mohan Singh.
f. Asia Society leadership Awards – by the Asia Society, Washington D.C., USA in May 2004.
Mukesh Ambani is the member of various committees and bodies.
A few among them are as follows:
a. Member of the Prime Minister’s council on Trade and Industry, GOI.
b. Member of the Board of Governor of the National Council of Applied Economic Research.
c. Member of the Indo-US CEOs Forum.
d. Member of the International Advisory Board of Citi group.
e. Member of the International Advisory Board of the National Board of Kuwait and Mc Kinsey Advisory Council.
Famous Entrepreneur # 3. Anil Dhirubhai Ambani
Anil Ambani was born on June 4, 1959 in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He is the second son of (late) Dhirubhai Ambani, the founder of Reliance and Kokilaben (mother). Anil did Bachelors in Science from the University of Bombay and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. He is married to former Bollywood movie star Tina.
Anil Ambani joined Reliance; the company founded by his late father Dhirubhai Ambani, in 1983 a co-chief executive officer. He pioneered India Inc’s forays into overseas capital markets with international public offerings of global depository receipts (GDR), convertibles and bonds. Starting from 1991, he continued his efforts to raise around US $2 billion from overseas financial markets. In January 1997, the 100 years Yankee bond issue was launched under his leadership. He served as managing director and vice chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd. from July 31, 2002 to June 2005.
A split takes place in the Reliance Dynasty. After the split in Reliance Group, Anil Ambani founded Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group. Now, he is the chief and chairman of all listed Group companies. They are – (a) Reliance Communications (b) Reliance Capital, (c) Reliance Energy, and (d) Reliance Natural Resources Ltd.
In June 2004, Anil Ambani was elected as an independent member of the Rajya Sabha Upper House, parliament of India with the support of the Samajwadi party. In March 2006, he resigned voluntarily.
Anil Ambani is a member of various committees and Boards.
Some of which are given below:
i. Member of the Board of Governors, IIM, Ahmedabad.
ii. Member of Board of Governors, IIT, Kanpur.
iii. Member of the Central Advisory Committee, Central Electrical Regulatory Commission.
Awards and Honours:
Awards and honours conferred on Anil Ambani are as follows:
(a) Voted Businessman of the year 2006 by Times of India.
(b) Adjudged as the CEO of the year at the prestigious plats Global Energy Awards for 2004.
(c) Voted as MTV Youth Icon of the year for 2003 in September 2003.
(d) Conferred The Entrepreneur of the Decade Award by the Bombay Management Association, October 2002.
(e) Wharton Alumni Award by Wharton India Economic Forum, December 2001.
Anil Ambani is a young Indian entrepreneur. He is a man of forethought and courageous. He is influenced more by his father, late Dhirubhai Ambani. He is successfully running the group of companies in which he has interest. As March 2007, he has a networth of US $18.2 billion, making him the 18 richest people in the world. He was the world’s fastest growing multi-billion-dollar fortune in percentage terms as his wealth tripled in 1 year.
Famous Entrepreneur # 4. JRD Tata
JRD’s full name was Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata and he was popularly known as Jeh to his friends. JRD Tata was born on July 29, 1904 in Paris. His mother was French while his father was Parsi. JRD’s father Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata and Sri Jamsetji Tata shared their greatness from the same great-great-grand father, Ervad Jamsheed Tata, a priest of Navsari.
JRD Tata was the second of four children. He was educated in France, Japan and England. It was said that he served in the French Army for a short period before coming to India.
JRD Tata joined Tata and sons as an unpaid apprentice in 1925. He has great interest in flying. On February 10, 1929, JRD became the first Indian to pass the pilot’s examination. With this he was recognized as India’s first pilot and was instrumental in giving wings to India by building Tata Airlines, which ultimately become Air India. His ambition for flying was fulfilled with the formation of the Tata Aviation service in 1932.
In 1938, at the age of 34, JRD was elected chairman of Tata and sons thus he become the head of the largest industrial group in India. He started with 14 enterprises under his leadership and half a century later on July 26, 1988, at the time when he left, Tata and sons was a conglomerate of 95 enterprises. These enterprises were either started by the Tata groups or in which it had controlling interest in them.
JRD Tata, in the year 1948, launched Air India International, as India’s first international airline. The Indian Government, in the year 1953, appointed JRD Tata as the chairman of Air India and a director on the Board of Indian Airlines. This position was continuously held by him for 25 years since its assumption. For his outstanding achievements in Aviation, JRD Tata was bestowed with a title of Honorary Air commodore of India.
In 1956, JRD Tata initiated a program of closer “employee association with management” to give workers a stronger voice in the affairs of the company. He is of the opinion that employee participation is a pre-requisite for strengthening the base of the company. He gave top most priority for employee welfare and exposed the principles of an eight-hour working day, free medical aid, workers’ provident scheme and workmen’s accident compensation schemes. These Principles were later on adopted as statutory requirements in company management
JRD Tata had great concern for his workers. In 1979, Tata steel instituted a new practice “a worker is deemed to be at work from the he leaves home for work till he returns home from work. The company is financially liable to him if any mishap occurs on the way to and from work.” This philosophy is being practiced by many business establishments even today.
Awards to JRD Tata:
JRD Tata received a number of awards:
a. Padma Vibhushan in 1957 on the eve of Silver Jubilee of Air India.
b. Guggeheim Medal for aviation in 1988.
c. India’s highest civilian award “Bharath Ratna” in 1982.
d. United Nations population Award for successfully implementing Family planning in India.
JRD Tata was the trustee of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust from its inception in 1932, which remained under his foldings for over half a century. Under his guidance, this Trust established Asia’s first cancer hospital, Tata Memorial Centre for cancer, Research and Treatment at Bombay in 1941. It also founded another premier institute “The Tata Institute of Social Sciences” in 1936. In addition to these, the trust also established the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in 1945 and the National Centre for performing Arts.
JRD Tata died in Geneva, Switzerland on November 29, 1993 at the age of 89. On his death, the Indian parliament House was adjourned in his memory – an hour not usually offered to persons who are not the members of parliament.
Famous Entrepreneur # 5. Ratan Tata
Ratan Tata was born on December 28, 1937 in Mumbai. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture from Cornell University in 1962. After his return to India in 1962, he joined the Tata Group and was assigned to various companies before being appointed director-in-charge of the National Radio and Electronics Company (NELCO) in 1971. Ratan Tata was appointed chairman of Tata Industries in 1981. He was assigned the task of transforming the company into a Group strategy think-tank, and a promoter of new ventures in high technology undertakings.
In 1991, Ratan Tata took over the Chairmanship from JRD Tata. Under him Tata consultancy service went public to mobilize capital and Tata Motor was listed in the New York stock exchange. In 1988, Tata Motors marketed Tata Indica, the first truly Indian car. In July, 2009, Tata Group marketed Tata Nano Car; the first Indian car targeted the middle income group. This car was the brainchild of Ratan Tata.
Ratan Tata is presently the chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group.
Besides, he is also the chairman of the following major Tata Companies:
i. Tata Steels
ii. Tata Motors
iii. Tata Power
iv. Taj Group of Hotels
v. Tata Consultancy Services
vi. Tata Tea
vii. Tata Chemical
viii.Tata Tele services
Honours and Rewards:
Ratan Tata has the dynamic entrepreneurial character which can be seen from his contributions. He has the genuine concern for the average income class. His contributions to entrepreneurial world and to a society at large are tremendous. He has wonderful ideas, which can be seen from his deeds. (Tata Nano is the best example for this).
Ratan Tata has been honoured with many medals and rewards.
A few among them are as follows:
i. Padmabhushan Award in 2000.
ii. Honorary doctorate degree in business administration by Ohio State University.
iii. Honorary doctorate in technology by the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok.
iv. Honorary doctorate in science by the University of Warwick.
Famous Entrepreneur # 6. Kumar Mangalam Birla
Kumar Mangalam Birla was born on June 14, 1957. He spent his early days in Kolkata and Mumbai. He is a Chartered Accountant and did his MBA from the London Business School, London. He took over as chairman of Aditya Birla Group at the age of 28 (in 1995), after sudden demise of his father Aditya Birla.
When Kumar Mangalam Birla assumed the charge of Aditya Birla Group, doubts were raised about his ability to assume the responsibility of a giant business house. But very soon he proved that he has every capacity to bear any kind of eventualities by bringing radical changes in business. He professionalized the entire group and replaced internal systems. He reduced his group’s dependence on the cyclic commodities sectors by entering consumer products.
Under Kumar Mangalam Birla’s leadership, the Aditya Birla Group, apart from consolidating (i.e. combining into a single unit) its position in existing businesses, also ventured into sunrise sectors like cellular telephony, asset management, software and BPO.
Kumar Mangalam Birla is the chairman of the Aditya Birla Group. It is said to be India’s third largest business house. Major companies under the umbrella of Aditya Birla Group in India are – Grasim, Hindalco, Ultra Tech Cement, Aditya Birla Nuvo and Idea Cellular.
Aditya Birla Group’s joint ventures include – Birla Sunlife (Financial Services), and Birla NGK (Insulators).
Aditya Birla Group also has its presence in various countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Egypt, Canada, China and Australia.
Present Positions and Membership:
Kumar Mangalam Birla holds several key positions on various regulatory and professional boards.
A few among them are as follows:
a. Chairman of the advisory committee of the Ministry of Company Affairs for 2006 and 2007.
b. Member of the prime minister’s advisory council on trade and industry.
c. Chairman of the Board of Trade reconstituted by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry.
d. Member of the Central Board of Directors of the RBI.
Honours and Awards:
Kumar Mangalam Birla has won several honours and awards for his outstanding performance in the entrepreneurial world.
Some of them are:
a. The Business Leader of the year (2003) by the Economic Times.
b. Business man of the year (2003) by Business India.
c. The Ernst and young Entrepreneur of the year (in 2005).
Famous Entrepreneur # 7. Azim Premji
Azim H. Premji was born on July 24,1945 to M.H. Hasham Premji (father), a businessman of Mumbai. He had his earlier education from St. Mary’s School, I.C.S.E. in Mazagaon, Mumbai. He studied Electrical Engineering from Standford University, USA. While he was studying in USA, his father died and Azim was called upon to handle the family business. He took over the reins of family business in 1966 at the age of 21. Soon after he returned to India, he took over the family’s fledging (developing) Vegetable Oil business, “Western Indian Vegetable Products Limited” (Now called Wipro).
Azim Premji started his career with simple vision -“To build an organization on a foundation of values”. He practiced what he preached, when it comes to upholding personal values. There is no margin of error. He is more punctual, simple and hardworking.
Premji is married to Yasmeen, the couple have two children – Rishad and Tariq. Rishad is married to Aditi.
Premji is known for his modesty and frugality inspite of his wealth. He drives a Toyota Corolla and flies economy class, prefers to stay in company guest houses rather than luxury hotels.
When Azim Premji occupied the hot seat, Wipro dealt in hydrogenated cooking fats. Afterwards he diversified his business into different areas such as – Bakery fats, ethnic ingredient based toiletries, hair care soaps, baby toiletries, lighting products and hydraulic cylinders. Thereafter premji made a focused shift from soaps to hardware.
Under Azim Premji’s leadership Wipro has transformed from a Rs. 70 million companies in hydrogenated cooking fats to a pioneer in providing integrated business, technology and process solutions on a global delivery platform. Today, Wipro Technologies is the largest independent Research and Development service provider in the world.
Under the chairmanship and leadership of Premji, Wipro Technologies made great strides. It is considered as one of the largest software companies in India. For the sake of overall convenience, Premji setup the headquarters of Wipro Technologies in Bangalore, The Indian Silicon City. Premji was rated the richest person in the country from 1999 to 2005 by Forbes. His wealth in 2006 was estimated at 14.8 billion dollars which places him as the 5th richest Indian.
When Premji was honoured with the Businessman of the year 2000 award, he attributed his stupendous success to the 12,000 people who work for Wipro Corporation. It is this kind of feeling that has catapulted Premji to unprecedented heights.
Azim Premji’s Tips of Success:
Azim Premji is a man of experience and a great scholar. He spelled out some tips of thought for success in entrepreneurial career.
i. Have the courage to think big
ii. Never compromise on fundamental values, no matter what the situation.
iii. Buildup self-confidence, always look ahead.
iv. Always have the best around you, even if they are better than you are.
v. Have an obsessive commitment to quality.
vi. Play to win.
vii. Leave the rest to the force beyond.
Honours and Awards:
Azim Premji’s vision, leadership qualities, secrets for success and pro-societal feelings are recognized by various quarters. Honours and awards rushed to the doorsteps of Premji.
Among the various honours and rewards, important ones have been listed below:
i. Padma Bhushan award by the Government of India in 2005.
ii. Honorary doctorate degree conferred by the Manipal Academy of Higher Education 2000.
iii. Businessman of the year, 2000 by Business India.
iv. Doctor of Letters (D.Litt), an honorary degree by the Muslim Aligarh University, 2008.
Azim Premji is a member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee for Information Technology. He has been recognized by the Business week as one of the “Greatest Entrepreneurs of All Time” for his vision and leadership. Premji is the only Indian to make it to the list.
As on October 6, 2007, Premji was declared as the 5th richest Indian, with a networth of 13.6 billion dollars.
Wipro’s code of conduct for employees lays it all – “Do not do anything that you are unwilling to have published in tomorrow’s newspaper with your photograph next to it”. It is that kind of integrity that has catapulted Premji and Wipro to unprecedented heights.
Azim Premji Foundation:
The foundation was setup with financial resources contributed by Azim Premji, programmes of the Foundation focus on “Creating effective and scalable models that significantly improve the quality of learning in the school and ensure satisfactory ownership by the community in the management of the school”.
Azim Premji Foundation says “it dedicates itself to the cause of universalisation of elementary education in India”. The organization has over the years has been instrumental in improving the quality of general education particularly in rural schools.
Four new titles of educational CDS for Indian schools were produced earlier in 2005.
a. Friendly Animals and Journey on the clouds (English)
b. Swatantra Divas
c. Fun with Chinchoo in Mathematics
d. Khel-Mel (Hindi).
With these, the total number of master titles available is 70.
The foundation is also involved in computer based assessment in Andhra Pradesh over 50,000 students took part in early 2005. It is a learning guarantee programme and a policy planning unit in Karnataka.
Famous Entrepreneur # 8. Shiv Nadar
Shiv Nadar hails from Moolaipozhi village in Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu. He was born in the Nadar community in 1946. He received his engineering degree from PSG College of Technology in 1968 and started his career in DCM’s calculator division.
Shivnadar did not continued in DCM Ltd. though it was a high paying position. In association with few of his friends he started Micro comp to sell tele digital calculators in the Indian Market under the brand name of ‘Televista’.
Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL) was found later in 1976 with an investment of Rs. 1,87,000. He admitted his six friends as co-promoters and offered a 26% equity share capital to Uttar Pradesh Government. While the company focused on building a micro-computer from scratch, it received an unexpected boon when foreign companies like IBM left the country due to the policies adopted by the then Industrial Minister George Fernandes in 1977 creating a market space for the Micro computers in India.
In 1980, HCL ventured into the International market with the opening of Far East Computers in Singapore to sell IT Hardware. The venture reported Rs. 1 million revenues in the first year and continued to address the Singapore operations.
During 1984, the company focused on designing Micro-computers and writing custom applications for clients on these systems. When the Indian government liberalized regulations for import of technology, the computer market was in effect opened for adopting new global technologies.
HCL utilized the opportunity to develop personal computers solutions (called busy bee) and UNIX plat form based solutions. In the IT hardware business, the company opened a subsidiary called HCL office Automation that quickly became India’s leader in office solutions. By 1987, HCL recorded revenue of Rs. 100 crores and features as India’s number 1 company.
Shiv Nadar looked at marking a place in the global arena after having captured Indian IT leadership. In 1989, HCL America was setup by him. But due to some miscalculations, the venture did not succeed in the world’s largest market. However in India, HCL consolidated its market position in the early stages of 1991. Liberalization was the main feature during this stage. HCL joined HP and created a Joint Venture called HCL-HP Limited. The joint venture built revolutions to address the local computing market as well as gave HCL it’s first experience in out sourced R&D.
In the mid-90s, Shiv Nadar entered into a sale agreement with Ericsson and Nokia to distribute their products in India.
By 1995, HCL emerged as a complex organization with over 40 subsidiaries and Nadar quickly realized the bright future for IT services. Soon he formed IT services and the R & D division of HCL-HP was merged into HCL consulting. The company was renamed as HCL Technologies in 1996 and the same year joint venture with HP broke off.
By early 1998, Shivnadar took a strong step to consolidate his business into 5 entities.
Accordingly the following groups have been formed:
a. HCL Technologies (global IT service company),
b. HCL Info systems (Indian IT hardware leader),
c. HCL comnet (network services company),
d. HCL Perot (IT applications) and
e. NIIT (education services).
In 1999, Shivnadar lead HCL Technologies to public. At the time of IPO, HCL was the second largest IT Company with revenue of Rs. 7.23 billion behind of TCS but ahead of Wipro and Infosys. During that time internet boom was in full swing, then HCL decided to put complete focus on R & D services. When the internet bubble burst in 2000, HCL was left behind by its competitors because of their forwardness in enterprise application services.
In 2001, Shivnadar entered into an agreement to acquire Apollo contact centre and Deutsche software limited.
A major reshuffle attempt was initiated by Nadar during 2004. The number of companies in HGL was consolidated from five to two – HCL Technologies and HCL Mo Systems. In 2007, Shivnadar passed the responsibility of CEO of HCL Technologies to Vineet Nagar, Shivanadar remained chairman of HCL Technologies and its largest shareholder.
In the process, Shivnadar created wealth for himself, his associates and investors. When contacted Shivnadar said – “In these 25 years, we pioneered the growth of IT in India in virtually every sphere, including hardware, software, services, solutions, networking communications, Internet and IT infrastructure”. He further stated that “through these years, we have not only created new technologies but have been incubators for India’s leading IT professionals and entrepreneurs”.
Shivnadar has outstanding personalities; on account of this reason Microsoft founder Billgates had a private meeting during his famous India visit in 1996.
A US-based non-resident Indian today, Nadar is involved in day-to-day operational details of just one company in his group, HCL Technologies, though he figures on the boards of most firms.
Shivnadar is actively associated with another trend setting company – NIIT Ltd. It framed the rules in India for corporate education by establishing a web of computer training institutes in the country. It also extended its activities to many other countries in recent years.
Shivnadar also ventured into granite business and was thinking to setup aqua-culture project -that had become fashionable in south India a few years back.
Today, HCL is again facing problems. The slowdown in the US economy and global recession has been eating into much of its profits of his companies.
As regards his original passion for computer hardware, he has his eyes set on the group’s latest offering – India PC, an inexpensive high-performance personal computer for the masses.
Famous Entrepreneur # 9. Dr. Vijaypat Singhania
Shri Vijaypat Singhania is the chairman emeritus of the Raymond Group of clothing and textiles. He is a former Sheriff of Mumbai. He is known for his excellent achievements in the field of business and other activities.
Dr. Vijaypat Singhania is recognized by the universe for his Excellency and multifarious attitudes. He successfully comes out with all his mission and goals. He is a successful aviator and has great experience in aviation. He has been in aviation field for over 4 decades with a total flying experience of over 5000 hours. He has made many records in the sphere of Aviation.
They include the following –
a. He had undertaken a sole flight in a micro-light aircraft from UK to India in August/ September, 1988 establishing a new world record. This event has been recorded in the Guinness book of world records.
b. He won the first International Round the world Race in 1994, starting and ending in Montreal (Canada), after a 24 day covering 34,000 KM across several countries, thereby winning the FAI (Federation Aeronantique International) Gold Medal, being the most coveted award given in aviation.
Shri Vijaypat Singhania has also been active in the sport of Thoroughbred Racing for 3 decades and was a member of the managing committee of the Royal Western India Turf Club, Mumbai for several years. He retired from it as a chairman in 1996-97. Besides this he loves playing other sports like squash, billiards, golf and swimming.
Shri Vijayapat Singhania, beyond business, aviation and sports, always has been committed to social welfare activities.
a. He is actively promoting cattle development, an issue close to his heart. He encouraged the development and propagation of Embryo Transplantation Technologies for the upgradation and breeding of high milk yielding cattle. He has constantly supported in house research for 30 years in the field of upgradation of Indian sheep.
b. He is also the founder of various educational and philanthropic institutions, such as –
i. JK Sports Foundation
ii. Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhavia’s School
iii. Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania Hospital and Medical Research Centre.
Dr. Vijaypat Singhania is a Philanthropist, a keen photographer and loves teaching. He believes that education is the foundation of a strong and progressive Indi a. This is propagated through institutions like sports, education, research etc.
Vijaypat Singhania also served as a member in various Organizations, Associations, Boards and Departments.
Some of which have been produced below:
a. Member of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
b. Visiting professor of the Jamanlal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai.
c. Member of the Board of Governors, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
Honours and Awards:
a. Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Smarak Award on the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of Indian Railways and the centenary of aviation.
b. Hon. Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in October, 2006 by the London Institute of Technology and Research.
c. Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award for the year, 2001, in recognition of his lifetime achievements in the field of aviation adventure.
d. The Battle Axes award by the 7th Air Squadron of the IAF.
e. Hon. Air Commodore of the Indian Airforce by the former president of India, Mr. R. Venkataraman.
Not satisfied with the medals and the accolades, Dr. Singhania determined to break the world attitude record of 64,997 feet in a Hot Air Balloon, set by Lindstrand; a record that stood unbroken for 17 years. Finally, on November 20, 2005, he set the new world record by attaining a height of 69852 feet, breaking the earlier record by almost 5000 feet.
Dr. Singhania is a man of many dimensions. He has achieved in 67 years what an ordinary individuals like us can only dream of or take several lifetimes to achieve.
Famous Entrepreneur # 10. N. R. Narayan Murthy
Mr. N.R. Narayan Murthy born on August 20, 1946. His father was a modest school teacher in Mysore earning as little as Rs. 250 per month. The 5th born of eight children, Murthy’s father brought up their children with great difficulty. Murthy’s father’s ambition was to make his son a civil servant but Murthy’s ambition was to become an engineer in a hydro-electric power plant.
N.R. Narayan Murthy studied electrical engineering (UOM. 1967) and M. Tech in 1969. According to him, his role models were his teachers, both in school and university. His teachers had distinctive characteristics; they taught him to be inquisitive and articulate to achieve success. Besides his teachers, his parents’ influence in moulding the character of Mr. Murthy’s personality was significant. According to him his father used to tell about the importance of putting public good before private good and mother would talk about sacrifice and truth.
Mr. Narayan Murthy began his career with Patni Computer system in Pune. Afterwards, he took up a job as chief systems programmer at HM, Ahmedabad. During that time there were enough job opportunities in computer field. He received job offers from HMT, ECIL, TELCO and Air India. Though offered good pay package to attract candidates, he decided not to leave the IIT and continued his former vocation.
While he was in IIT, Ahmedabad, he came to contact with one of the scholars of IIM, known to be Prof. Krishnayya. Prof. Krishnayya was a great man with a broad vision. Mr. Murthy became the close associate and spent many days with him. As Murthy said, he learnt many good lessons from Krishnayya. He along with his colleagues used to work nearly 20 hours a day.
Mr. Narayan Murthy also visited various countries and acquired treasury of knowledge and vast experience. Though there are great prospects, he determined to comeback to India, his motherland.
In 1981, Mr. Narayan Murthy along with other software professionals founded Infosys. Among them Nandan, Raghavan, Gopal, Shibulal and Dinesh are very important. Each of them has distinctive characters. According to Narayan Murthy, Nandan has a great ability to communicate and get himself connected to networks; his thinking is very strategic. Raghavan is a good people manager. Gopal is the best in technology. Shibulal and Dinesh are great on projects. This is a very optimum combination of all leadership characters.
With the liberalisation of Indian economy in 1990s, Infosys grew rapidly. In 1993, the company came up with its IPO. In 1995, Infosys setup development centers across cities in India and in 1996, it setup its first office in Europe in Milton Keynes, UK. In 1999, Infosys became the first Indian Company to be listed on NASDAQ. By 2006, Infosys has turnover of more than 2 billion dollars and has employee strength of over 50,000.
In 2002, Infosys was ranked No. 1 in the “Best Employers in India 2002” as per survey conducted by Hewitt. In the same year the Business world conducted its survey and considered Infosys as “India’s Most Respected Company”.
Mr. N.R. Narayan Murthy is the non-executive chairman and Chief Mentor of Infosys Technologies Limited. He is a living legend and an epitome of the fact that honesty, transparency and moral integrity are not at variance with business acumen. He set new standards in corporate governance and morality when he stepped down as the Executive Chairman of Infosys at the age of 60.
Honours and Awards:
Mr. N. R. Narayan Murthy has received several honours and awards for his contribution to entrepreneurial world.
Some of which are given here:
i. Distinguished Alumni Award for the year 1998 by the IIT, Kanpur.
ii. JRD Tata Corporate Leadership Award for 1996-97.
iii. The stars of Asia for 3 successive years in 1998, 1999 and 2000 by business week.
iv. Businessmen of the year 1999 by Business India.
v. Asia week Magazine feature him in a list of Asia’s most powerful people.
vi. World Entrepreneur of the year, 2003 by Ernst and Young.
vii. Recipient of the Indo-French Forum Medal, 2003.
Besides the above honours and awards, Mr. Murthy is recognized for his Yeomen service to corporate community and nominated him to several Boards and Trusts.
Mr. Murthy is a member of the National Information Technology Task Force of India, and also of the Prime Minister’s council on trade and industry. He is a Director on the Board of the RBI.
He was a member of the operating system for handling air cargo for Charles de Gullae airport, Paris. He was the president of National Association of Software and service Companies (NASSCOM) from 1992 to 1994.
Mr. Murthy’s thought provoking advice to the next generation of entrepreneurs is as follows – “Early to bed and early to rise and work like hell. Those people who have entrepreneurial strengths need to get a marketable idea and understand the window of opportunity for it. They have to bring together a team that has mutually exclusive, but collectively exhaustive skills and workout a value system. Entrepreneurship is about running a marathon, not a 100 metre dash”.
Infosys Foundation – Infosys Foundation came into being with the objective of supporting the underprivileged in our society. The Foundation Trustees comprise of Ms. Sudha Murthy (an educationist, a writer and a Computer engineer), Ms. Sudha Gopalakrishna and Mr. Srinath Batni (Director, Infosys Technologies Ltd.)
The Foundation Primarily aims at improving the health, education and basic facilities, benefiting a large number of individuals and institutions.
Since its inception in 1996, by 31st March 2004 the Foundation has given grants totaling about Rs. 40 crores. Both the husband and wife are pleasure in giving. As Ms. Sudha Murthy says – “I take pleasure in giving”. I feel that I have reasonably good amount of money for all of which I do not have much use. So I thought I should share it with my poorer countrymen”.
Mr. Murthy says – “I have always said that the real power of money is the power to give it away”. Thus both the husband and wife are having the same view about the use of money for the societal good. With the objective of this in their mind they started Infosys Foundation, which is really contributing to the betterment of the society.