Helming one of the largest food chain businesses of Kashmir, young and energetic Babar Chowdhary believes that the business in Kashmir is full of challenges yet there is no dearth of opportunities for budding entrepreneurs.
Having ventured into the family business at the young age of 21, Chowdhary made his way to the post of Managing Director of Hattrick Group. He says that his entrepreneurial journey has been full of challenges mostly posed by the situation in Kashmir region which is always out of the hands of a businessman.
From starting an outlet in Delhi to introducing Balouch cuisines from Istanbul, Babar believes that there is no scope for a laid-back approach in business. “From starting from a single outlet to 27 outlets today, our focus is to generate more jobs for people in Kashmir and at the same time offer them quality food products.”
Babar who apart from the hospitality sector has also invested in the education sector and other trade segments believes diversity in business is the key to keep businesses afloat in tough conditions of Kashmir.
He is planning to take his food business to every state of India and is planning to launch a teacher training school in Kashmir. “We have a plan to start our food outlet in every state/UT of India, we have started from Delhi, in coming days we will open a production unit and five more franchises in the capital of India. Besides, in collaboration with Edudev we have launched a teacher training school here.”
Apart from running his business ventures, he is the chairman of Kashmir Young Entrepreneurs Federation which is an amalgam of young entrepreneurs.
“I got into family business at a young age; it was my childhood dream of being part of the business environment. Though initially I wanted to be a sports car racing driver, but later I realized I was not cut-out from that thing. I joined my family business, starting from a bottom position to the top level management. But I was not given everything on platter, I worked hard, faced failures, came back strong and overcames those obstacles to take my company forward.”
Babar who runs a successful food business in Kashmir is also an inspiration for scores of budding entrepreneurs who venture into the food business segment of the economy.
However, Babar has an advice for them, he says that though food business is a happening business, yet youngsters should think and research before starting their food ventures. “I have seen that out of 10 units, five are closed within two years because of the fact that entrepreneurs think it is easy to run a food outlet and take the research part of the starting business out of the ordinary. They must keep in mind they are dealing with highly perishable items which if not sold within time will become liabilities to add to it there is no guarantee of the situation in Kashmir. It becomes highly important for young food entrepreneurs to take all these measures in consideration and plan accordingly. Planning is the key which is then followed by the practical implementation. They must keep in mind to never compromise with the quality. ”
When asked about how he plans his business activities for a year, Babar said that planning for the whole year is very difficult in Kashmir because of many unforeseen things. “Since 2008 we have witnessed disturbance for seven years by one way or the other. In these situations you can’t plan, but be quick to adapt. Adaptability is the key, apart from this, in Kashmir businessmen must make calculations keeping in mind that four months of winter’s record almost zero business activities.”
When asked whether he has any advice for budding entrepreneurs, Babar says that “entrepreneur particularly in Kashmir should not be afraid of failures. Failure is the part of success. I have seen many failures yet I never got hurt by it, but tried to work even harder. Same is the case with young entrepreneurs given the fact that Kashmir has a limited job opportunities to offer, self employment is the key to become a job creator rather than job seeker.”