From Strength to Strength
- If Shekhar Golchha’s plan for a motorcycle assembly plant materialises, it give a fillip to the country’s manufacturing industry
Dec 29, 2016-It is said that there are opportunities hidden in almost every challenge. In other words, problems, if treated as problems, will continue to remain as problems; but if they are taken as opportunities, they turn into opportunities.
At least that’s the mantra entrepreneurs live by.Perhaps, Shekhar Golchha, who does not need any introduction in Nepal’s business circle, had internalised this very well when he set out to launch his first business venture in 1989.
At that time, Nepal-India relations had turned sour following a trade embargo imposed by the southern neighbour. So, things were challenging for everyone, including Golchha, a 20-something at that time.
But he did not use a pessimistic lens to look at the world. Instead, he started exploring options to beat the doom and gloom. That was when he noticed shortage of medicines in the country.
“I then started importing pharmaceutical drugs from Pakistan to bridge the gap between demand and supply of medicines,” he recalls.
This business was doing fine. But then supplies from India resumed, making the venture irrelevant. This meant his first business venture soon became a failure.
This taught Golchha an imporant lesson in life: Failure is just the beginning point of success.
“This experience provided me an opportunity to understand the real business world, draw parallels between the business environment and what I had learnt from my family, and to familiarise myself with government rules and regulation,” says the soft-spoken Golchha.
He still cherishes the lesson learnt back then, as it turned him into a strategic and a mindful person. And the lessons are “still useful and relevant”, he says.
That person, who had once failed as he started out, has now made a remarkable turnaround and now provides jobs to over 1,000 employees and oversees businesses that generate a turnover of more than Rs1 billion per year. This has established Golchha as one of the most successful entrepreneurs of his generation.
A Bachelor’s degree holder in Commerce from Delhi University and Master’s degree holder in Business Administration from Webster University, the UK, Golchha started out by joining Golchha Organisation—a prominent business group set up by his grandfather Ram Lal Golchha—in 1990.
Initially, he worked as a general employee there, where he learnt the ropes of entrepreneurship, before setting out on his own. And when he did, his family name, which has emerged as a brand in itself over the years, did help him gain a foothold in the business world.
“That’s probably the only advantage I took from my family business, apart from automatic transfer of entrepreneurial skills,” says Golchha, now the executive director of Golchha Organisation.
Over the years, he has worked as a distributor of Daewoo television, electronic goods from Samsung and Himstar, and Bajaj two-wheelers. He is also engaged in the finance sector and, more recently, has started manufacturing livestock biotechnology products. His engagement in all these sectors justifies the several hats that he wears, serving as managing director of Him Electronics, Hansraj Hulaschand, and Hulas Investments, and director of Hester Nepal, Neoteric Nepal and Eastern Sugar Mills.
Having been engaged in trading business for long, Golchha has now set out to build his dream project: an assembly plant of HH Bajaj motorcycles. The assembly plant will be the first to be set up by an Indian company in Nepal. In the next phase, he plans to manufacture motorcycle spare parts, components and accessories here in Nepal. “For this purpose, we have already signed agreements with four Indian companies,” he says.
If the plan materialises, it would give a fillip to the country’s moribund manufacturing industry, whose share in the economic output has been falling over the years.
“Automotive and construction industries are the mother of all the industries, as they create tonnes of jobs, which help raise living standard of people,” he says. “Such industries also help in local value addition, supporting vendors as well as ancillary small and medium enterprises.”
Recently, Golchha has also set up a production plant for biotechnology products in Banepa in Kavrepalanchowk district. The production plant of international standard began manufacturing vaccines for livestock in the first month of its operation. Golchha hopes to export 90 percent of these products to 21 countries.
The establishment of this production plant also indicates he is gradually diversifying into manufacturing from the trading business, circumventing assumptions that investment in manufacturing units is not worthwhile in a country like Nepal, where power outages and labour problems are rife.
Golchha is very aware about the needs of the country because he has travelled it extensively. Since he became a part of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), the largest umbrella body of the private sector, he has travelled to 40 of 75 districts in the country. Going forward, he wishes to penetrate into the tourism business and turn Nepal into vibrant tourism destination like Thailand, Vietnam or Indonesia.
“I have seen a lot of energy in the youths even in rural areas,” says Golchha, who is also the FNCCI vice president. “But the lack of infrastructure has prevented them from tapping their potential. So, the government’s capital expenditure must go up.
“Also, a number of bills related to economic sector reform have remained pending in the legislature. The government as well as parliamentarians should push for early promulgation of these laws.”
Improvement in these areas, according to Golchha, would help the private sector to open up new ventures, introduce cutting-edge technology and generate employment.
“I was pretty lucky as I had my family to back me up in the initial days. But not everyone is so fortunate. So, a national consensus must be created to uplift living conditions of the people,” says Golchha, who also believes “entrepreneurs should work as responsible citizens in meeting social objectives and not focus on maximising profit all the time.”
Published: 29-12-2016 10:24