.In an exclusive interview with Faiz Askari of SMEStreet, Gaurav Aggarwal, Director with Lasons India Pvt Ltd explained the entrepreneurial experience he posses and opportunities which is observes. In the conversation he emphasized on emerging areas of business opportunities in India such as healthcare and food.
As an entrepreneur what are the key opportunities that you are witnessing these days?
In the last few years, entrepreneurs have seen opportunities come their way that didn’t exist before.
The e-commerce boom has changed the way a lot of businesses function and operate. Today, everything is available online. It has given small business owners the exposure to cater their products and services to a far larger geography.
Healthcare and the food industry have had their share of opportunities as well. There still remain many opportunities for entrepreneurs in these sectors. The healthcare industry in particular is growing at over 20% per year in India. We have to understand one basic fact. We are the world’s largest young population. Entrepreneurs are capitalising on this fact to cater with products and services to this age group. Moving forward, I believe the healthcare and food supplement industries will continue to grow at a very rapid pace.
The hospitality industry is changing rapidly as well. The consumer is more open to experimenting with new products. Healthy foods are a rising demand by the consumer too.
I see various opportunities across various sectors; however that also calls for a caution if you are venturing in to unfamiliar territories.
Is the “ease of doing business factor” effective India?
Doing business in India is a unique challenge. With most of my customers being overseas in more than 75 countries, I have had the opportunity of understanding how they conduct their business in their respective countries.
India has a long way to go with regards to the ease of doing business.
Our laws & rules need a quick up gradation and proper implementation. At the bottom, that is, the ground level Govt employees are not able to be as effective and dynamic as the upper management of the Govt. There is certainly visible a clear indication and desire by the Govt to end corruption and increase accountability of the govt to the people of the nation.
However for most entrepreneurs we haven’t seen much ease of doing business being effective in India as compared to what we had all hoped for.
How are the Govt. Proactive Policies for Entrepreneurs influencing the market?
I think the proactive policies of the govt were a bigger expectation from business India than reality. I say business India because most businesses of all sizes are a part of this thought.
I wish to talk about two examples here. The most spoken about and the one that had the biggest impact on every Indian is “Demonetisation”. The entire country stood with the Prime Minister as he announced his biggest and boldest move yet until that day. Life as we all can remember was difficult for everyone. All at the end hoped this would be for the benefit of all. Today, 7 months on, I don’t think the entire exercise yielded the result we all had hoped for. This of course was a matter of chance. I feel the govt could have done a bit more for business India.
On a more positive note, the govt policies with regards to start ups and new businesses, has given a rise to many people venturing into the business of their choices to take advantage of the various schemes introduced by the govt. This of course helps increase employment, revenues etc amongst others.
What prospects you foresee in the healthcare segment?
The word healthcare is a bit vague and covers many areas within it. These include the following as an example:
Pathology labs etc
Food supplements, Dietary supplements etc
In particular, I’d like to speak about the food & dietary supplements and the Nutritional products industry.
In the past few years we have seen a massive growth in food & dietary supplements, Nutritional products industries. The usage has increased rapidly and we have seen various pharmaceutical companies enter the market with their vision of food and nutritional products ranging from healthy snacks, packaged water fortified with Vitamins etc, Vitamins formulations for various reasons.
Moving forward, we anticipate a growth of more than 20% per year in this sector as people are becoming more health conscious and are comfortable spending more to live a better and eat healthier. I believe that in the coming years we will see many more innovations and collaborations of Indian companies with others from overseas to bring newer and advanced products to India. We remain one of the largest consumer markets in the world.
This of course gives rise to the connected industries as well such as packaging, consultancy, hardware manufacturers etc
Please share some details about your organization. What are the key milestones you have achieved?
We are a leading manufacturer of Vitamin B3 (API) from India since 1984. Over 80% of our production is exported to more than 75 countries worldwide across the Pharmaceutical, Nutraceutical, Cosmetic, Food, Feed and Electroplating chemicals industries.
Our company & products are accredited ISO, GMP, HACCP, Halal, Kosher, FSSAI, HACCP. We are also a govt recognised export house.
In the last 15 years we have moved from being the smallest (capacity) manufacturer of our products to being one of the largest in our product range.
We are also the only company in India to offer the product rage that we do.
In the last few years we have expanded our products in to speciality chemicals which are a substitute to imports from China. We are happy to say that the products are very well accepted and welcomed by our clients in India and we have been successful in reducing the imports for the products from China.
As a second generation entrepreneur what challenges did you experience while taking charge of your company?
I think being the second generation is actually an advantage more than anything. It surely is a challenge but can be used and shaped to your advantage. I still remember the early days of joining the company, there was mostly a disagreement in the way things can be done and what is right and what is not. Obviously, both approaches and mindsets have the same aim but different ways.
Belonging to the second generation entrepreneurs, the biggest challenge is the transition of control moving from 1st to 2nd. That being said, control doesn’t have to move, it can be in the hands of both. This actually is pretty easy and the best for long term functioning.
I think the most important factor here is recognising one single head of the company or family. That one person who will take a final call in case there is a gross disagreement or whose decision should not be overruled. Although easier said than done, I think if a close business family can understand and follow this, there should be less challenges and difficulties and moving from 1st to 2nd generation.
I have been with the company for almost 18 years and even today there are times we disagree on various topics with each other. This is actually good because there are then that many opinions to the matter with a common goal “best for the company”. This helps us make the best decision possible at the time.