‘Never know the odds until you play and win’

At 26, he has emerged as one of the successful businessmen in the Kashmir valley. Managing Director, Chowdhary Group, Babar Chowdhary shares his experiences and future plans in business with GK Business correspondent, Mukeet Akmali. Excerpts

Tell us something about yourself.
 I have done my schooling from Burn Hall and later I did my MBA. I started work when I was just in class 11. My father advised me that if you want to achieve success, you have to start from zero. Initially, I used to accompany drivers to distribute products. Later I was assigned the job of accounts and step by step I was promoted to the position I am holding right now. But I am very thankful to my father who helped me at every step.

Was business in your mind right from the beginning?
 Actually I wanted to be a F1 racer. I have participated as F1 driver in a championship in Dubai. But my family and my father was particular about it that I should join my family business and work only in Kashmir. Now I am also very happy that I chose to be here and be part and parcel of Kashmiri society. I want to contribute to my people and help youngsters in whatever way I can.

Give us a brief of your business?
 Our ancestral trade was fruit business. But my father Showkat Chowdhary, founder of Chowdhary group started Hattrick and Babar Enterprises.  Now Chowdhary group has multiple businesses. Babar Enterprise is one of our ventures which deals with distribution of Pepsi Co in the Kashmir valley that we introduced in 2004. We have 124 dealers who are currently working with us and have three shipment facilities from Kashmir, Baramulla, Anantnag. When we started our business we sold only 28,000 cases of Pepsi but now we are selling around 21 lakh cases in a year. Similarly we have Hattrick Food industry for which we are known. Initially we started Hattrick as restaurant, and not as food outlet chain. But with public response, Hattrick has now become a brand which everyone recognizes. We have 23 outlets of Hattrick now and we are opening other outlet at Baramulla within few days. Till 2014 we have plans of expanding our business and increase number of outlets to 40. We have a beauty saloon running under the name and style of Grandeur and Alpine Associates.

Your future plans?
 One of our ambitious project is Hattrick Public School. With this project the Chowdhary group will make its entry in education sector. We have hopes from this project as we want to contribute towards the society and there is no better way than providing education to our future generation.  We have plans to start the school from September 2013. It will be one of the best schools in the Kashmir valley which we have constructed on land measuring 250 kanal. We have decided that Chowdhary group will give 10 per cent scholarship to the students from socially backward classes in which 70 per cent share shall go to girls.  By March we are starting our new venture Hattrick Events and Hospitality, to organize functions, events and arrangements for marriage like wazwan, catering, services, etc. Customers can get solution to all of their needs. Besides, Chowdhary Group will try to take Hattrick brand to national level by opening our outlet at New Delhi. Chowdhary group has announced its cricket team to promote the cricketing skills of youngsters and provide them platform to do well in this field.

At a time when majority of youngsters in Kashmir seem to be giving utmost priority to government job, how much potential do you find for business in the Valley?
 Kashmir has a lot of scope for business activities and it is still unexplored due to turbulent times we have witnessed here. Kashmir has a great potential for tourism sector and for that we have to develop infrastructure. Currently valley has only 50,000 rooms and I think we need at least 3 lakh rooms. It shows how much potential there is for investment and we should encourage young businessman who would invest in hospitality to earn their livelihood and will also provide livelihood to hundreds of educated youth.  We can’t always blame government for everything and we should step in and do our jobs ourselves instead of waiting for help from government.

Do you think that private sector has a role to solve the problem of unemployment in the state?
 I think that private sector can help a lot in solving the problem of unemployment. Also the youngsters are now joining the private sector. With number of private companies and industries coming up in Kashmir, more and more people are getting absorbed in private sector.  We at Chowdhary group have at least 500 employees who are on payrolls and more than 900 people are working with us as agents or franchisees. If private sector is fully developed in the state the problem of unemployment will be solved once and for all.

You wish to say something to young entrepreneurs?
 My advice to them is that you can never know the odds until you play and win. Our young generation has lot of talent and they need to focus. No doubt there will be failure but they have to overcome all the difficulties and emerge successful. I have myself witnessed failures but have learnt from those failures. I urge youngsters be passionate about work and don’t be afraid of criticisms. Failure and success are part and parcel of life. You need to come out of these things and prove your mettle in whatever field you are working.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 2 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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