EOY 2014 Finalists

Innovative game changers

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Innovative game changers are a rare pedigree of exceptional entrepreneurs who combine their vision with tenacity and skill to realise their dream while building a better world for a people, communities and nations. They are the finalists of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year India Awards 2014.

Empowering rural India

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Amith Agarwal
Star AgriWarehousing and Collateral Management

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Empowering rural India

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Amith Agarwal
Star AgriWarehousing and Collateral Management

The idea behind StarAgri was to truly empower rural communities, and enable an integrated development of India’s rural ecosystem. Co-founded by Amith Agarwal, the success of Star Agri is an code to Amith’s passion for agribusiness. StarAgri today provides warehousing and rural finance management solutions to farmers and banks for agri-financing.

Set up with a seed capital of only INR 5 lakhs, StarAgri has steadily grown to become one of India’s most formidable post-harvest solution companies. It has developed a direct relationship with 3,00,000 farmers, agri-enterprises, agri-processors, oil millers, flour millers and exporters, while the loans it has facilitated – amounting to over INR 45,000 crores – have been repaid without delay or default.

Another of Amith’s initiatives saw StarAgri tie-up with more than 30 banks across the country that provide farmers with credit using agri-commodities stored in StarAgri’s warehouses as collateral. StarAgri has also diversified to offer post-harvest management solutions and value added services like procurement, risk management, quality testing, rural retailing and logistics.

StarAgri’s reach is spread across 250 locations in 16 states, with leased as well as owned warehouses having a combined capacity of 1.5 million MT. Amith has also actively worked on providing farmer education programs and knowledge sharing sessions. He has also established 14 quality testing labs to aid farmers.

Amith’s vision for StarAgri is to connect with 2.5 million farmers by 2020 and facilitate collective loans for them to prevent distress selling of crops. The company also aims to provide infrastructure like logistics, warehousing and lab testing by establishing 50 private mandis, licensed by the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee. An international foray is also on the cards, with regional hubs across Asia and USA, and post-harvest services in underdeveloped agri-economies like Africa being planned by FY16.

Under Amith’s leadership, StarAgri has partnered with reputed private equity players viz. IDFC PE in 2012 and Temasek Holdings in 2014. Also, StarAgri has won several accolades, including Business Today’s Star SME for Agriculture Award in the Small Enterprise Category in 2012 and the TATA NEN hottest start-up award for the fastest growing business in India in 2009.

Amith is highly respected for his work in the industry and sits on several key industry committees. He has been associated with the Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority since its inception, and has contributed in drafting its guidelines. He is also the member of the steering committee of Enterprise Solutions for Poverty (ESP) platform.


Driving the financial inclusion agenda

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Sanjay Agarwal
Au Financiers

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Driving the financial inclusion agenda

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Sanjay Agarwal
Au Financiers

In 1995, Sanjay Agarwal set up Au Financiers with a mission to originate loans for people in the semi-urban and rural areas of Rajasthan who find it challenging to access bank financing. For people who do not have credit documentation or a bank account in unserved areas, the chances of getting a loan for a vehicle or other business purposes was next to impossible due to underdeveloped banking facilities. Sanjay, through Au Financiers today is providing support to this segment of population underserved by the financial institutions and contributing significantly to the nation’s inclusive growth agenda.

Though it was an arduous task to raise capital for this rather unique venture Sanjay remained committed to his vision of financing people at the bottom of pyramid. In the early stages, despite initial challenges, he managed to raise funds from a few High Net worth Individuals (HNIs). His and passion and persistence paid dividends when in 2003, HDFC tied up with Au Financiers to provide loans in areas where it didn’t have a presence. Since then Au Financiers has seen investments coming in from MotilalOswal, IFC, Warburg Pincus, ChrysCapital and Kedaara Capital. The Company today provides access to finance in the semi-urban and rural areas of more than 10 states. AU originates vehicle loans, business loans against property and small loans to customers through a combination of channel financing, securitization, bank finance and through its own funds.

From a modest beginning, Sanjay, has transformed the company into a systemically important Non Banking Financial Company (NBFC) with assets worth more than INR1 billion. Au Financiers is also the only Rajasthan-based NBFC to be recognized as systemically important by the Reserve Bank of India. Au Financiers today has over 300,000 customers, with a network of 225 branches in 10 states and a team of over 4000 employees. It has also expanded its business relationship to more than 39 banks, 9 financial institutions (including 5 FIIs) and 6 mutual funds. Sanjay has diversified the Company’s product portfolio to include MSME, SME and structured financing, housing loans and insurance broking services.

In 2012, Au was awarded the best ‘PE‐ Backed Financial Services Company’ at the VC Circle Awards and was the only Indian NBFC nominated/shortlisted for ‘Sustainable Finance Awards’ organized (2011) by IFC for achievement in financing at the base of the pyramid.


Energising the Indian ecommerce ecosystem

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EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Kunal Bahl | Rohit Bansal
Jasper Infotech (Snapdeal.com)

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Energising the Indian ecommerce ecosystem

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Kunal Bahl | Rohit Bansal
Jasper Infotech (Snapdeal.com)

When high school friends, Kunal Bahl, a Wharton graduate and Rohit Bansal, an alumnus of IIT Delhi decided to start a business together few would have imagined that they were setting the foundations of an enterprise that will in a way shape the e-commerce ecosystem in India. They launched an offline couponing business in 2007 offering deals from local merchants, In early 2010, few merchants working with them suggested that Kunal and Rohit look at the online business. Based on this feedback, in February 2010 Snapdeal.com was born; within two years Snapdeal.com commanded 70% of the online coupons market. Over a period of further business model evolution, at the beginning of 2012, Snadpeal.com emerged as an online marketplace, providing a platform for buyers and sellers of products across the country to connect.

Snapdeal is today, India’s leading online marketplace that connects over 60000+ merchants, mostly small businesses, with 30 million customers spread across 5000+ cities and towns in India with a team of 4000 people.

The Company today aims to create life changing experiences for buyers and sellers. It provides access to the widest assortment of products across a variety of categories to millions of customers across India. Snapdeal is also the first and only ecommerce firm in India to sell pre-fabricated homes online.

Snapdeal has witnessed remarkable growth from FY12 to FY14 when its revenue grew at a CAGR of approximately 212%. Snapdeal is also at the forefront of the m-commerce revolution, with over 60% of its orders coming from mobile phones.

Under the leadership of Kunal and Rohit, Snapdeal has been widely recognized for its commitment to grow the ecommerce ecosystem in the country. Recently, Kunal featured in the 2014 Fortune Global 40 under 40 list and has also been named Dataquest IT person of the year 2014.

Snapdeal is actively working with the Government and Non-Government bodies to bring artisans and craftsmen of our country into the ecommerce fold thereby providing a national market to them. It is engaged in delivering better life experiences for people with initiatives like ‘Assisted ecommerce’ to bring the lower income group into the ecommerce fold, a special store for differently-abled people and partnering with a delivery company that employees deaf people from low income groups.


Insuring long-term success

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Sanjiv Bajaj
Bajaj Finserv

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Insuring long-term success

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Sanjiv Bajaj
Bajaj Finserv

An MBA from Harvard, Sanjiv assumed the leadership of Bajaj Finserv in 2008, determined to break the mould and expand the scope of operations of Bajaj Finance, the primarily captive 2 wheeler financing arm of the Bajaj Group. He moved the company beyond the bread-and-butter Bajaj products business to other businesses such as consumer durable loans, small-scale enterprise loans, funding construction equipment and offering loans against property.

Coming from a family of influential business leaders with a history of creating brands that have often defined the narrative around Indian business, Sanjiv took the mantle of expanding the family business. However, he created a niche for himself by focusing on the side of business which was in its infancy and turned it around to make it one of the most valuable entities in the Bajaj fold.

It is primarily due to the innovative new approach and ambitious plans that he brought to the table that turned the fortunes of Bajaj Finserv. The company is today a leading name in the financial services industry, with insurance, lending and wealth management services. Under his leadership, the company has seen a surge in income with a CAGR of 24% between FY12 and FY14. Bajaj Finserv operates in the Insurance business through Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Limited and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Limited, and in the lending business through Bajaj Finance Limited.

Sanjiv’s focus on innovation has played a key role in the success of Bajaj Finserv. The company was the first financier to launch an electronic KYC swipe card that enables the secure processing of loans faster to customers allowing for a quick check out of showrooms with their purchases. The variety of new products and service offerings grew by over 3 times in the last 6 years. With over 6000 retail outlets across India, Bajaj Finance’s sheer volumes provide good margins to the company.

Sanjiv has aggressive plans for the next leg of growth. The company which has now ventured into rural financing is disbursing loans for auto re-financing and farm equipments. In addition, the continued focus on deepening and strengthening the insurance business has created new products and channels for future growth.

Bajaj Finance was ranked in India amongst the Top 3 Financial Services Companies to work for by Great Places To Work in June 2014, while Bajaj Allianz General Insurance has won a host of awards for its prompt service, and Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance for its Micro Insurance initiatives, amongst others.


A cool symphony

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Achal Bakeri
Symphony

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A cool symphony

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Achal Bakeri
Symphony

What started as a personal project to build a compact, better looking air cooler, was the foundation stone of India’s first branded air cooler – Symphony.The brain behind this was Achal Bakeri, an architecture student fresh out of a Business School With the product idea in place, Achal managed to gather a seed capital of nearly INR 1 lakh from family and friends and launched Symphony Limited in February 1988.

It hasn’t, however, always been a breezy ride for Achal and Symphony. The company was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2002 when Achal revived the business by focusing on ‘one-product-multiple-markets’ strategy and successfully steered Symphony out of bankruptcy with revenues increasing at a CAGR of 36% in last 10 years. Today, its air coolers are available in 60 countries. Symphony commands a market capitalization of about Rs. 7000 crores with 8 patents, 49 registered designs, 108 trademarks and 7 copyrights.

Symphony acquired Mexico based Impco Air Coolers, the world’s first cooler manufacturing company that patented the cooling technology called ‘Evaporative Cooling’, in 2008. The company also has a R & D unit at Thol (near Ahmedabad); an assembly plant at SEZ-Surat for export products; manufacturing at 9 OEMs and a manufacturing plant in Monterrey, Mexico (its subsidiary Impco’s plant), with a combined annual manufacturing capacity of approx.2 million units. The company exports to 60 countries globally, with revenue contribution of 26% in FY14. Symphony is now the world’s largest manufacturer of air coolers.

True to its genesis, Symphony under Achal’s leadership has remained close to the idea of its conception – design and efficacy. It was awarded the ‘Quality Mark Award 2014’, in the Home Appliances category, organized by Quality Mark Trust and the ‘India Design Mark’ award in 2014, for best design of its Diet 22i air cooler, organised by India Design Council.


Banking on excellence

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Arundhati Bhattacharya
State Bank of India

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Banking on excellence

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Arundhati Bhattacharya
State Bank of India

An accomplished banker with a successful career of over 36 years with the State Bank of India (SBI), Arundhati Bhattacharya has many firsts to her name. She is the first woman chairperson of India’s largest bank, SBI. Arundhati is also the first woman to ever lead a Fortune 500 company in India, and the only woman banker on this influential list.

Arundhati joined the State Bank of India in 1977 as a Probationary Officer (PO), and since then has grown quickly through the ranks to become the Chairperson of this 208 year old legacy institution. Before taking charge as Managing Director, she was MD & CEO of SBI’s investment banking arm, SBI Capital Markets. Earlier, as Dy. Managing Director in SBI, she headed the largest Human Resources Department of the Banking Industry consisting of a work force of over two lakh employees, which includes 65,000 Officers.

Arundhati helped establish some of the most prominent joint ventures for the bank, including the alliance with Insurance Australia Group for general insurance, Macquarie for private equity and Societe Generale for custodial services. She was also instrumental in the launch of new IT platforms such as Mobile Banking and Financial Planning in the Bank. As Chief General Manager, Bengaluru circle, she took keen interest in promoting financial inclusion and financing of Self Help Groups.

A brief stint in SBI’s New York office where she was in charge of monitoring branch performance, overseeing External Audit and Correspondent Relations, helped pave the way for a key leadership role, given her better understanding of all major businesses of the bank.

A Post Graduate from the Jadavpur University, West Bengal, Arundhati has been recognised as the Most Powerful Woman in India by Business Today. She was also ranked 36th Most Powerful Woman in the World by Forbes magazine.


Fashioning a success story

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Anita Dongre
And Designs India

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Fashioning a success story

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Anita Dongre
And Designs India

What started out as a small workshop in her house, where Anita Dongre would design clothes for friends and local boutiques, is now one of the biggest fashion houses in the Indian fashion industry.

Much like her burgeoning business, Anita fashioned her success and carved out an inimitable niche in a crowded fashion industry. As the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of And Designs India Limited (ADIL), Anita over the last decade has been a trendsetter in the high-streets as well as bridal couture of Indian fashion industry. Anita started And Designs India Ltd, with a vision to offer contemporary western-wear to the modern Indian woman, and that was the cornerstone of her first brand -And –which was launched in in 1999. The idea was to make ‘And’ a brand high on both style and design, but easily accessible and affordable.

Since ‘And’, Anita has launched ‘Global Desi’ – a vibrant brand offering Indo-Fusion wear, and eventually her signature label “ANITA DONGRE” – a signature label offering bridal, couture and pret wear, for women and men, and the Rajasthan-inspired brand of silver and gold jewellery - PINKCITY.

The business model at ADIL is based on ‘accessible luxury’, which aims at creating affordable stylish fashion ,across age groups. This was a huge shift from the route taken by most Indian designers in the then nascent fashion industry, where back in the 1990’s the focus was more on bridal wear, than high fashion. And was the first Indian contemporary western-wear brand that offered the designer’s signature aesthetic, at a wallet-friendly price.

With its revenue growing at approximately 10x over the last four years, ADIL has consistently enjoyed the best financial metrics in the retail industry. ADIL under Anita has seen a phenomenally high revenue growth in recent times. It is this unique ability to embrace fashion and sound business values that has won Anita many an admirers in the business fraternity. Anita has been decorated with a host of awards, including being recognised as one of the ’50 Most Powerful Women in Business in India’.


Ticket to success

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Ashish Hemrajani
Bigtree Entertainment (Bookmyshow.com)

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Ticket to success

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Ashish Hemrajani
Bigtree Entertainment (Bookmyshow.com)

The entrepreneurial journey of Ashish Hemrajani is a stellar story of passion and perseverance. One of the most popular online ticketing portal bookmyshow.com, is a product of hard labour and persistence in the face of rough business climate. Ashish was inspired by ticketing companies during a holiday in South Africa and co-founded Bigtree, a voice-based ticketing firm in 1999. The company faced a severe cash flow issues during the dotcom crash in 2001 and only managed to stay afloat by running call centres, installing ticketing software and providing back-end ticketing services to cinema theatres, between 2002 and 2006.

Then came the big break.

In 2007, seeing the growth in multiplexes, and the increased credit/debit card penetration in the country, Ashish launched the online ticketing portal BookMyShow. The launch of the portal was a stroke of brilliance and great timing. Currently, the portal is the largest online ticketing company with market share of 70% and one of the top three e-commerce websites, which garners 500 million page views and 35-40 million visitors every month in India.

In another great move in March of 2013, as part of his expansion plans, BookMyShow acquired Ticketgreen.com, which had partnerships with approximately 100 cinemas where it sold 100,000 tickets per month in South India and tied-up with PVR Cinemas, the largest multiplex operator in India, to sell their tickets on its portal.

Ashish has overseen BookMyShow’s expansion into New Zealand and Australia. In addition, the company has tied-up with Viagogo, a Switzerland-based online ticket marketplace, to offer tickets for international events, music festivals and concerts. Ashish’s focus on customer delight and a people centric approach while steering the company through tough times, has been one of the key reasons for the value that company has created since its inception.

BookMyShow app won the ‘Best Innovative Mobile App’ at the India Digital Awards organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in 2014. It has also been awarded in the category of ‘The Hottest Company of the Year’ and ‘The Company To Watch Out For’ at the CNBC Young Turks Award in 2012 and for the ‘Best Use in Search Category’ at the Yahoo! India Awards 2012-13.


Building a brand, one tile at a time

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Ashok Kajaria
Kajaria Ceramics

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Building a brand, one tile at a time

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Ashok Kajaria
Kajaria Ceramics

Ashok Kajaria started his career dabbling in trading of engineering goods with clients in the Middle East, before seeing both potential and a market in tiles manufacturing in India. Always with a keen eye for detail, Ashok visited more than 50 tile-manufacturing plants in Spain before launching Kajaria Ceramics Limited, in technical collaboration with Todagres S.A. (a leading tile manufacturer in Spain) 25 years ago with a starting capital of INR 2 crores. Today, KCL is the largest player in the Indian tile industry, registering a turnover of over INR 2000 Crores in FY 2013-14.

Kajaria Ceramics today has a capacity of 54.10 million square meters (MSM) across its seven manufacturing plants located in Sikandrabad (UP), Gailpur (Rajasthan), Vijayawada (AP) and four in Morbi (Gujarat). It also has entered into four Joint Ventures with regional tile manufacturers.

In addition to building infrastructure for manufacturing, Ashok has nurtured a strong distribution network of over 925 dealers across the country which has helped transform the family name in to household brand in India. This entrenched network, coupled with strategic acquisitions, has enabled KCL move from strength to strength. The next goal for Ashok is to transform KCL from a pure play tiles company to a holistic bathroom solutions provider.

Ashok’s conviction and entrepreneurial spirit has seen KCL achieve many firsts – including the first Indian company to manufacture large format wall tiles and setting up tiles’ showrooms, along the lines of jewellery stores. Recently Kajaria Ceramics was “Best Managed Company” in the small cap category for the year 2014 by Asiamoney, a financial publication from Euromoney Institutional Investor Group.


The turn-around man

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Yogesh Mahansaria
Alliance Tire Groupt

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The turn-around man

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Yogesh Mahansaria
Alliance Tire Group

Yogesh Mahansaria is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Tire Group (ATG). Yogesh is a resolute leader and it’s a testimony to his courage and conviction that he was able to turn an enterprise running under financial duress into the world’s sixth largest off-highway tire manufacturer within six years. He has effected one of the biggest Private Equity transactions in India, when KKR bought a 90% stake in Alliance Tire Group during 2013.

Yogesh was just 18 when he entered his family business, Balkrishna Tyres (BKT), a two-wheeler manufacturing company. In 1993, BKT was going through a rough patch, and Yogesh was entrusted with the task of reviving its fortunes. He devised a game plan that transformed BKT into a global company in the off-highway tire business,with revenues of INR 632 crore and profit of INR 70 crore in just over a decade. Yogesh saw opportunity in off-highway tyres and grabbed it when it was not on anybody’s radar. In 2006, at 31, Yogesh quit Balkrishna Tyres, to take on a new challenge by acquiring Alliance Tires in Israel

Yogesh fought great odds and became the turn-around man to get Alliance Tires back on track. With strategic changes he brought about in key business operations and by bringing in international expertise he managed to breathe life into ATG in no time. He then led the foray of the company into forestry and construction tires with the acquisition of the off-highway tire business of US based GPX International when it filed for bankruptcy in 2009. That this acquisition was conceived of and executed during the peak of the financial crisis of 2008-09 is a testament to his vision and risk taking ability.

Yogesh has also been a firm believer in the future of India as a strategic manufacturing hub. This has been demonstrated with ATG having invested over USD 250 million to build two state of art manufacturing facilities in India over the last 6 years. Yogesh’s efforts over the last 20 years have led to,India today being a leading supply source for agriculture tires to global markets.

ATG today is a global leader, with revenues reaching USD 600 million, with operations across Asia, Europe and North America, and customers in over 120 different countries worldwide. He plans to expand ATG to be amongst the top three global manufacturers of agriculture, construction and forest tires.


Flying high with technology

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V.K. Mathews
IBS Software Services

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Flying high with technology

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

V.K. Mathews
IBS Software Services

The need to transform and redefine the way aviation industry did business was top of the mind for V K Mathews when he quit his job as General Manager – IT in Emirates Group, after a stint of over 15 years. IBS Software Services (IBS) was started by Mathews with a seed capital of INR 1.76 crores and a team of 55 inexperienced engineers in 1997. Today, IBS is a leading IT product company with IP rights over 17 technology solutions that serve the global aviation industry across all process areas (airline passenger services, cargo operations, flight and crew operations, airport operations and aircraft maintenance engineering) as well as top oil and gas companies, cruise lines, hotels and tour operators.

As the Executive Chairman, Mathews has been at the helm since inception, expanding IBS’ foot print worldwide including Americas, Europe, Japan, Australia, India and the Middle East; employing over 3000 professionals from around 20 nationalities. IBS serves over 200 clients worldwide including most of the top 25 airlines in the world, four of the five largest oil companies, approximately 80 hotel chains and 30 travel suppliers.

In the last twelve years, IBS has been on a path of accelerated growth acquiring six IT companies under Mathews’ leadership. These acquisitions have enabled IBS to gain traction in the travel and hospitality industry by augmenting its bouquet of technology offerings.

IBS was named as the “IT Provider of the Year” in 2012, 2013 & 2014 by Singapore based Magazine Payload Asia, winner of “IT for Air Cargo Industry Award” by London based Air Cargo Week and awarded Financial Express’ “IT Innovations Award 2014”. Mathews is an Executive Council Member of NASSCOM, the past Chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Kerala and the recipient of several awards in the state of Kerala including “Most Ethical Businessman Award” in 2014, “Management Leadership Award” in 2014 and the “Businessman of the Year Award” in 2013.

An alumnus of IIT-Kanpur and Harvard Business School, Mathews is committed to supporting under-privileged children through his charity initiative, “Candle”.


Sticky tale of a ‘majboothjod’

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

M.B. Parekh
Pidilite Industries

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Sticky tale of a ‘majboothjod’

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

M.B. Parekh
Pidilite Industries

A second generation entrepreneur, M. B. Parekh started his journey with Pidilite in 1972. Mr. Parekh joined Abbot Laboratories, USA, soon after his Masters in Chemical Engineering from University of Wisconsin, USA before joining Pidilite. In his four decades long journey with Pidilite he helped convert a product in an unexciting category into one of the country’s top brands. Its key brands ‘Fevicol’, ‘Fevikwik’, ‘Dr. Fixit’ and ‘M-seal’ are market leaders with high shares in their respective segments.

He not only steered the company to become the market leader in the adhesives and sealants segment in India, but focused on setting a foothold in the overseas market. Under his guidance, PIL has acquired several companies to enter International markets and enhance its products portfolio. The company exports to more than 80 countries and has 13 overseas subsidiaries (4 direct and 9 step-down subsidiaries) manufacturing and selling in the USA, Brazil, Thailand, Dubai, Egypt and Bangladesh.

With its focussed approach to product and brand innovation, it clearly differentiated itself from competition in this otherwise generic market. Quick to identify new opportunities the company heavily invested in the R&D centre at Kondivita, Mumbai and also set up a step-down subsidiary, Pidilite Innovation Centre in Singapore.

Mr. Parekh’s influence in the Company’s social endeavours is primarily in the areas of rural development, education and health. In FY13, Fevicol Champion’s Club members, 22,000 contractors set a Limca record by volunteering a day of their labour on Shramdaan Diwas to fix and repair furniture in 362 institutions, including schools for the under privileged, across the country. This is how Mr. Parekh ensures that the brand promise comes out alive with an energy and emotion that is so intrinsic to the brand that is much loved and adored by one and all.


Health for all

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Dr. Cyrus S. Poonawalla
Serum Institute Of India

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Health for all

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Dr. Cyrus S. Poonawalla
Serum Institute Of India

Dr. Poonawalla is the Chairman & Managing Director of Serum Institute of India which was founded by him in 1966 with a noble purpose of manufacturing serums and vaccines at the time when life-saving serums and vaccines were in short supply in India and were being imported at high prices. It’s a testament of his vision, grit and innovative approach that Serum Institute is today the world’s largest manufacturer of all vaccines put together in number of doses manufactured and supplied to protect children globally.

A visionary with great foresight, Dr. Poonawalla manifested his dream of “Health for all with affordable vaccines” with the creation a company that is today rewriting the script for how Biotechnology companies in India do business. An astute businessman and a determined leader, he is credited for the remarkable success of Serum Institute of India, which has transformed from a Company started with a capital of Rs. 5 laKhs as a small-scale Industry into one of the largest vaccine manufacturers in the world, with over 1.1 billion doses of high quality serums and vaccines that are used in over 140 countries. Dr.Poonawalla’s Serum Institute, was one of the first offering low cost preventive and curative vaccines (priced at approximately 50% less than the multinational companies - notably several vaccines such as Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Polio vaccines etc. etc. which are available at the lowest price in the world.

Referred to as one of the seven vaccine heroes by Bill Gates, Dr. Poonawalla has been honoured with numerous accolades including “Padma Shree” in 2005, “The Sabin Humanitarian Award 2005”, “The Sabin Corporate Philanthropy Award” in June 2005 in USA , “U.S. Award for Excellence in the Inter-American Public Health” in 2010, the “EY Entrepreneur Of The Year - Business Transformation Award” in 2012 and “Lifetime achievement” award at the Vaccine World Summit India in 2014.

Dr. Poonawalla has not only been a champion for low-cost, high-quality vaccines for the masses, but is also a strong advocate for human rights, upliftment of the ailing, poor and needy, in leprosy, a votary for public health reforms and free immunization for the under-privileged.

One of the other great passions of Dr. Poonawalla is horse racing and breeding. He is an icon in the thoroughbred horseracing and breeding world, besides being elected as Chairman of RWITC and the Turf Authorities of India. His most significant achievement was when, as a member of the Executive Council of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities in Paris (i.e. the world Governing council of the sport], he received the Life-time Achievement Award in Paris on 5th October, 2009.


Engineering a positive change

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Ajit Prabhu
QuEST Global

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Engineering a positive change

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Ajit Prabhu
QuEST Global

As the Chairman & CEO, Ajit Prabhu provides the vision and strategic direction for the growth of QuEST Global, which he co-founded in 1997. Ajit is passionate about organizational development and he strives to build a timeless institution. He has been the force behind the Company’s phenomenal growth. From a small 100 sq ft office in Schenectady in 1997, QuEST Global has grown to an organization with nearly 7000 employees operating from more than 30 global delivery centers spread across North America, Europe & APAC. The Company has recorded an impressive 5-year CAGR of 36% as against an industry average of 15-20%. Ajit’s determination, ability to open up new markets, passion and ability to understand customer challenges and address them have enabled QuEST Global to establish itself as a leader in Engineering Services Outsourcing in many of Verticals it serves.

Ajit began his career at General Electric’s Corporate R&D Center, in Schenectady, NY, while working on power generation, aircraft engines; appliances and locomotive related engineering problems. Later, he went on to establish QuEST Global.

For his research in Rensselaer, he received the prestigious ‘Young Investigator Award’ from the International Association for Dental Research. Ajit was inducted as a life time member into distinguished Livingston W. Houston 13 Society of Patrons of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and serves on the Engineering School Advisory Council at Rensselaer. Ajit was inducted into prestigious Royal Aeronautical Society, UK as a Fellow in 2010. Earlier this year, he was awarded the Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year by the Singapore Prime Minister on behalf of the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ajit holds a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Old Dominion University, VA and a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer, NY and strongly believes that engineers hold the key to the future. He strongly believes in education playing a role in building successful lives and society. Education of underprivileged deserving students ranks high in his personal agenda and through QuEST Global he runs a novel initiative called “Engineering Positive Change through Education”.


The Life of PI

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Salil Singhal
PI Industries

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The Life of PI

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Salil Singhal
PI Industries

PI Industries is as old as independent India – and maybe almost as diverse, too. Founded in 1947 as an edible oil-producer, it ventured into agrochemicals in 1962-63, and then into Mining and Mineral Processing, Energy Metering and Energy Management, which were hived off into separate group companies namely Wolkem India Ltd. and Secure Meters Ltd. Today PI is one of the fastest growing Company in the agro chemical space in India with a market cap in excess of USD 1 billion. The person who has overseen this remarkable journey is it’s Chairman and Managing Director, Salil Singhal.

A second-generation entrepreneur, Salil was instrumental in spearheading PI’s transformation from a manufacturer of generic agrochemical formulations to a unique and non-conflicting business model of offering CRM (contract research manufacturing) services to global Innovators on one hand, and a strong rural marketing/ distribution network in India on the other.

PI continues to build on its strong relationships with global innovators, world class R&D and chemical manufacturing units with strong capabilities in the areas of complex chemistry. The company has developed a strong connect with the agri-based community and invests in brand building efforts in rural India.

Salil has committed PI to continue to be a technology and knowledge driven Company. He brings a strong marketing and business development focus to the Company making it international in outlook and strong in R&D.

Recognitions and adulations have been coming in thick and fast for Salil and PI. It was conferred the ‘Best Supplier to the Crop Protection Industry’ Award at the “Agrow” Awards in 2014 in London, and was honoured with the ‘Agriculture Leadership’ Award at the Agriculture Leadership Summit 2014. The Business Today magazine recently recognised him as the Best CEO (Mid sized Companies: Chemicals).

Salil is strongly committed to the community. PI Foundation, has a team of 1,200 ‘Plant Doctors’ focussing on increasing farm productivity and food security measures by providing complete farming solutions to the farmers. It started a major skills development training programme in collaboration with DD University Nadiad and Govt. of Gujarat, and has taken up village upliftment initiatives. He is also actively involved with Industry associations and various educational & cultural organisations and has addressed many seminars on agriculture, environment and other subjects.

For Salil the growth of PI Industries is a journey not a goal.


Lifetime achievement award

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Dr. K. Radhakrishnan
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)

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Lifetime achievement award

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Dr. K. Radhakrishnan
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)

When India’s Mars Orbiter Mission ‘Mangalyaan’ entered the orbit of the red planet on 21 September 2014, Dr. K Radhakrishnan had successfully overseen the world’s cheapest yet most innovative mission to Mars.

Dr. Radhakrishnan, who took over as the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in 2009, joined in 1971 as an avionics engineer and steadily moved up the ranks occupying several decisive roles at ISRO. As Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre he immensely contributed to Chandrayaan-1, India’s first lunar mission. In the half a decade of his tenure as the head of ISRO, Dr. Radhakrishnan has lead the organisation to accomplish 37 space missions (including 16 launcher missions and 21 spacecraft missions), a commendable feat for a space agency of any size.

Dr. Radhakrishnan is an accomplished technocrat with a successful career spanning 38 years in space technology, applications and space programme management he has been a key man in the Chandrayaan mission. Under Dr. Radhakrishnan, ISRO’s emphasis has been on self-reliance and innovation in space technology. For the ‘Mangalyaan’ mission, the team based their work on proven indigenous technologies and built on it. Smart selection of hardware developed and qualified by ISRO in the past including the long-proven workhorse launch vehicle, PSLV, along with innovative refashioning of the technology and equipment were the clear defining factors of the mission. Named among the best inventions of 2014 by TIME magazine, the Mangalyaan is the cheapest inter-planetary mission that, at just USD 74 million, is just a tenth of NASA’s Mars mission Maven.

A Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and IIM Bangalore, he is a recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Allan D. Emil Memorial Award (2014) of International Astronautical Federation, the Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Award of Indian Science Congress (2010); and Social Sciences Award of the International Academy of Astronautics (2009).

Nature Science Journal recently chose Dr. Radhakrishnan as one of the top ten scientific personalities in 2014. He is also the recipient of Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour.

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Innovative game changers are a rare pedigree of exceptional entrepreneurs who combine their vision with tenacity and skill to realise their dream while building a better world for a people, communities and nations. They are the finalists of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year India Awards 2014.

Empowering rural India

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Amith Agarwal
Star AgriWarehousing and Collateral Management

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Empowering rural India

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Amith Agarwal
Star AgriWarehousing and Collateral Management

The idea behind StarAgri was to truly empower rural communities, and enable an integrated development of India’s rural ecosystem. Co-founded by Amith Agarwal, the success of Star Agri is an code to Amith’s passion for agribusiness. StarAgri today provides warehousing and rural finance management solutions to farmers and banks for agri-financing.

Set up with a seed capital of only INR 5 lakhs, StarAgri has steadily grown to become one of India’s most formidable post-harvest solution companies. It has developed a direct relationship with 3,00,000 farmers, agri-enterprises, agri-processors, oil millers, flour millers and exporters, while the loans it has facilitated – amounting to over INR 45,000 crores – have been repaid without delay or default.

Another of Amith’s initiatives saw StarAgri tie-up with more than 30 banks across the country that provide farmers with credit using agri-commodities stored in StarAgri’s warehouses as collateral. StarAgri has also diversified to offer post-harvest management solutions and value added services like procurement, risk management, quality testing, rural retailing and logistics.

StarAgri’s reach is spread across 250 locations in 16 states, with leased as well as owned warehouses having a combined capacity of 1.5 million MT. Amith has also actively worked on providing farmer education programs and knowledge sharing sessions. He has also established 14 quality testing labs to aid farmers.

Amith’s vision for StarAgri is to connect with 2.5 million farmers by 2020 and facilitate collective loans for them to prevent distress selling of crops. The company also aims to provide infrastructure like logistics, warehousing and lab testing by establishing 50 private mandis, licensed by the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee. An international foray is also on the cards, with regional hubs across Asia and USA, and post-harvest services in underdeveloped agri-economies like Africa being planned by FY16.

Under Amith’s leadership, StarAgri has partnered with reputed private equity players viz. IDFC PE in 2012 and Temasek Holdings in 2014. Also, StarAgri has won several accolades, including Business Today’s Star SME for Agriculture Award in the Small Enterprise Category in 2012 and the TATA NEN hottest start-up award for the fastest growing business in India in 2009.

Amith is highly respected for his work in the industry and sits on several key industry committees. He has been associated with the Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority since its inception, and has contributed in drafting its guidelines. He is also the member of the steering committee of Enterprise Solutions for Poverty (ESP) platform.


Driving the financial inclusion agenda

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Sanjay Agarwal
Au Financiers

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Driving the financial inclusion agenda

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Sanjay Agarwal
Au Financiers

In 1995, Sanjay Agarwal set up Au Financiers with a mission to originate loans for people in the semi-urban and rural areas of Rajasthan who find it challenging to access bank financing. For people who do not have credit documentation or a bank account in unserved areas, the chances of getting a loan for a vehicle or other business purposes was next to impossible due to underdeveloped banking facilities. Sanjay, through Au Financiers today is providing support to this segment of population underserved by the financial institutions and contributing significantly to the nation’s inclusive growth agenda.

Though it was an arduous task to raise capital for this rather unique venture Sanjay remained committed to his vision of financing people at the bottom of pyramid. In the early stages, despite initial challenges, he managed to raise funds from a few High Net worth Individuals (HNIs). His and passion and persistence paid dividends when in 2003, HDFC tied up with Au Financiers to provide loans in areas where it didn’t have a presence. Since then Au Financiers has seen investments coming in from MotilalOswal, IFC, Warburg Pincus, ChrysCapital and Kedaara Capital. The Company today provides access to finance in the semi-urban and rural areas of more than 10 states. AU originates vehicle loans, business loans against property and small loans to customers through a combination of channel financing, securitization, bank finance and through its own funds.

From a modest beginning, Sanjay, has transformed the company into a systemically important Non Banking Financial Company (NBFC) with assets worth more than INR1 billion. Au Financiers is also the only Rajasthan-based NBFC to be recognized as systemically important by the Reserve Bank of India. Au Financiers today has over 300,000 customers, with a network of 225 branches in 10 states and a team of over 4000 employees. It has also expanded its business relationship to more than 39 banks, 9 financial institutions (including 5 FIIs) and 6 mutual funds. Sanjay has diversified the Company’s product portfolio to include MSME, SME and structured financing, housing loans and insurance broking services.

In 2012, Au was awarded the best ‘PE‐ Backed Financial Services Company’ at the VC Circle Awards and was the only Indian NBFC nominated/shortlisted for ‘Sustainable Finance Awards’ organized (2011) by IFC for achievement in financing at the base of the pyramid.


Energising the Indian ecommerce ecosystem

EY - EOY Finalists 2014
EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Kunal Bahl | Rohit Bansal
Jasper Infotech (Snapdeal.com)

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Energising the Indian ecommerce ecosystem

EY - EOY Finalists 2014EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Kunal Bahl | Rohit Bansal
Jasper Infotech (Snapdeal.com)

When high school friends, Kunal Bahl, a Wharton graduate and Rohit Bansal, an alumnus of IIT Delhi decided to start a business together few would have imagined that they were setting the foundations of an enterprise that will in a way shape the e-commerce ecosystem in India. They launched an offline couponing business in 2007 offering deals from local merchants, In early 2010, few merchants working with them suggested that Kunal and Rohit look at the online business. Based on this feedback, in February 2010 Snapdeal.com was born; within two years Snapdeal.com commanded 70% of the online coupons market. Over a period of further business model evolution, at the beginning of 2012, Snadpeal.com emerged as an online marketplace, providing a platform for buyers and sellers of products across the country to connect.

Snapdeal is today, India’s leading online marketplace that connects over 60000+ merchants, mostly small businesses, with 30 million customers spread across 5000+ cities and towns in India with a team of 4000 people.

The Company today aims to create life changing experiences for buyers and sellers. It provides access to the widest assortment of products across a variety of categories to millions of customers across India. Snapdeal is also the first and only ecommerce firm in India to sell pre-fabricated homes online.

Snapdeal has witnessed remarkable growth from FY12 to FY14 when its revenue grew at a CAGR of approximately 212%. Snapdeal is also at the forefront of the m-commerce revolution, with over 60% of its orders coming from mobile phones.

Under the leadership of Kunal and Rohit, Snapdeal has been widely recognized for its commitment to grow the ecommerce ecosystem in the country. Recently, Kunal featured in the 2014 Fortune Global 40 under 40 list and has also been named Dataquest IT person of the year 2014.

Snapdeal is actively working with the Government and Non-Government bodies to bring artisans and craftsmen of our country into the ecommerce fold thereby providing a national market to them. It is engaged in delivering better life experiences for people with initiatives like ‘Assisted ecommerce’ to bring the lower income group into the ecommerce fold, a special store for differently-abled people and partnering with a delivery company that employees deaf people from low income groups.


Insuring long-term success

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Sanjiv Bajaj
Bajaj Finserv

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Insuring long-term success

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Sanjiv Bajaj
Bajaj Finserv

An MBA from Harvard, Sanjiv assumed the leadership of Bajaj Finserv in 2008, determined to break the mould and expand the scope of operations of Bajaj Finance, the primarily captive 2 wheeler financing arm of the Bajaj Group. He moved the company beyond the bread-and-butter Bajaj products business to other businesses such as consumer durable loans, small-scale enterprise loans, funding construction equipment and offering loans against property.

Coming from a family of influential business leaders with a history of creating brands that have often defined the narrative around Indian business, Sanjiv took the mantle of expanding the family business. However, he created a niche for himself by focusing on the side of business which was in its infancy and turned it around to make it one of the most valuable entities in the Bajaj fold.

It is primarily due to the innovative new approach and ambitious plans that he brought to the table that turned the fortunes of Bajaj Finserv. The company is today a leading name in the financial services industry, with insurance, lending and wealth management services. Under his leadership, the company has seen a surge in income with a CAGR of 24% between FY12 and FY14. Bajaj Finserv operates in the Insurance business through Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Limited and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Limited, and in the lending business through Bajaj Finance Limited.

Sanjiv’s focus on innovation has played a key role in the success of Bajaj Finserv. The company was the first financier to launch an electronic KYC swipe card that enables the secure processing of loans faster to customers allowing for a quick check out of showrooms with their purchases. The variety of new products and service offerings grew by over 3 times in the last 6 years. With over 6000 retail outlets across India, Bajaj Finance’s sheer volumes provide good margins to the company.

Sanjiv has aggressive plans for the next leg of growth. The company which has now ventured into rural financing is disbursing loans for auto re-financing and farm equipments. In addition, the continued focus on deepening and strengthening the insurance business has created new products and channels for future growth.

Bajaj Finance was ranked in India amongst the Top 3 Financial Services Companies to work for by Great Places To Work in June 2014, while Bajaj Allianz General Insurance has won a host of awards for its prompt service, and Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance for its Micro Insurance initiatives, amongst others.


A cool symphony

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Achal Bakeri
Symphony

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A cool symphony

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Achal Bakeri
Symphony

What started as a personal project to build a compact, better looking air cooler, was the foundation stone of India’s first branded air cooler – Symphony.The brain behind this was Achal Bakeri, an architecture student fresh out of a Business School With the product idea in place, Achal managed to gather a seed capital of nearly INR 1 lakh from family and friends and launched Symphony Limited in February 1988.

It hasn’t, however, always been a breezy ride for Achal and Symphony. The company was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2002 when Achal revived the business by focusing on ‘one-product-multiple-markets’ strategy and successfully steered Symphony out of bankruptcy with revenues increasing at a CAGR of 36% in last 10 years. Today, its air coolers are available in 60 countries. Symphony commands a market capitalization of about Rs. 7000 crores with 8 patents, 49 registered designs, 108 trademarks and 7 copyrights.

Symphony acquired Mexico based Impco Air Coolers, the world’s first cooler manufacturing company that patented the cooling technology called ‘Evaporative Cooling’, in 2008. The company also has a R & D unit at Thol (near Ahmedabad); an assembly plant at SEZ-Surat for export products; manufacturing at 9 OEMs and a manufacturing plant in Monterrey, Mexico (its subsidiary Impco’s plant), with a combined annual manufacturing capacity of approx.2 million units. The company exports to 60 countries globally, with revenue contribution of 26% in FY14. Symphony is now the world’s largest manufacturer of air coolers.

True to its genesis, Symphony under Achal’s leadership has remained close to the idea of its conception – design and efficacy. It was awarded the ‘Quality Mark Award 2014’, in the Home Appliances category, organized by Quality Mark Trust and the ‘India Design Mark’ award in 2014, for best design of its Diet 22i air cooler, organised by India Design Council.


Banking on excellence

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Arundhati Bhattacharya
State Bank of India

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Banking on excellence

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Arundhati Bhattacharya
State Bank of India

An accomplished banker with a successful career of over 36 years with the State Bank of India (SBI), Arundhati Bhattacharya has many firsts to her name. She is the first woman chairperson of India’s largest bank, SBI. Arundhati is also the first woman to ever lead a Fortune 500 company in India, and the only woman banker on this influential list.

Arundhati joined the State Bank of India in 1977 as a Probationary Officer (PO), and since then has grown quickly through the ranks to become the Chairperson of this 208 year old legacy institution. Before taking charge as Managing Director, she was MD & CEO of SBI’s investment banking arm, SBI Capital Markets. Earlier, as Dy. Managing Director in SBI, she headed the largest Human Resources Department of the Banking Industry consisting of a work force of over two lakh employees, which includes 65,000 Officers.

Arundhati helped establish some of the most prominent joint ventures for the bank, including the alliance with Insurance Australia Group for general insurance, Macquarie for private equity and Societe Generale for custodial services. She was also instrumental in the launch of new IT platforms such as Mobile Banking and Financial Planning in the Bank. As Chief General Manager, Bengaluru circle, she took keen interest in promoting financial inclusion and financing of Self Help Groups.

A brief stint in SBI’s New York office where she was in charge of monitoring branch performance, overseeing External Audit and Correspondent Relations, helped pave the way for a key leadership role, given her better understanding of all major businesses of the bank.

A Post Graduate from the Jadavpur University, West Bengal, Arundhati has been recognised as the Most Powerful Woman in India by Business Today. She was also ranked 36th Most Powerful Woman in the World by Forbes magazine.


Fashioning a success story

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Anita Dongre
And Designs India

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Fashioning a success story

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Anita Dongre
And Designs India

What started out as a small workshop in her house, where Anita Dongre would design clothes for friends and local boutiques, is now one of the biggest fashion houses in the Indian fashion industry.

Much like her burgeoning business, Anita fashioned her success and carved out an inimitable niche in a crowded fashion industry. As the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of And Designs India Limited (ADIL), Anita over the last decade has been a trendsetter in the high-streets as well as bridal couture of Indian fashion industry. Anita started And Designs India Ltd, with a vision to offer contemporary western-wear to the modern Indian woman, and that was the cornerstone of her first brand -And –which was launched in in 1999. The idea was to make ‘And’ a brand high on both style and design, but easily accessible and affordable.

Since ‘And’, Anita has launched ‘Global Desi’ – a vibrant brand offering Indo-Fusion wear, and eventually her signature label “ANITA DONGRE” – a signature label offering bridal, couture and pret wear, for women and men, and the Rajasthan-inspired brand of silver and gold jewellery - PINKCITY.

The business model at ADIL is based on ‘accessible luxury’, which aims at creating affordable stylish fashion ,across age groups. This was a huge shift from the route taken by most Indian designers in the then nascent fashion industry, where back in the 1990’s the focus was more on bridal wear, than high fashion. And was the first Indian contemporary western-wear brand that offered the designer’s signature aesthetic, at a wallet-friendly price.

With its revenue growing at approximately 10x over the last four years, ADIL has consistently enjoyed the best financial metrics in the retail industry. ADIL under Anita has seen a phenomenally high revenue growth in recent times. It is this unique ability to embrace fashion and sound business values that has won Anita many an admirers in the business fraternity. Anita has been decorated with a host of awards, including being recognised as one of the ’50 Most Powerful Women in Business in India’.


Ticket to success

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Ashish Hemrajani
Bigtree Entertainment (Bookmyshow.com)

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Ticket to success

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Ashish Hemrajani
Bigtree Entertainment (Bookmyshow.com)

The entrepreneurial journey of Ashish Hemrajani is a stellar story of passion and perseverance. One of the most popular online ticketing portal bookmyshow.com, is a product of hard labour and persistence in the face of rough business climate. Ashish was inspired by ticketing companies during a holiday in South Africa and co-founded Bigtree, a voice-based ticketing firm in 1999. The company faced a severe cash flow issues during the dotcom crash in 2001 and only managed to stay afloat by running call centres, installing ticketing software and providing back-end ticketing services to cinema theatres, between 2002 and 2006.

Then came the big break.

In 2007, seeing the growth in multiplexes, and the increased credit/debit card penetration in the country, Ashish launched the online ticketing portal BookMyShow. The launch of the portal was a stroke of brilliance and great timing. Currently, the portal is the largest online ticketing company with market share of 70% and one of the top three e-commerce websites, which garners 500 million page views and 35-40 million visitors every month in India.

In another great move in March of 2013, as part of his expansion plans, BookMyShow acquired Ticketgreen.com, which had partnerships with approximately 100 cinemas where it sold 100,000 tickets per month in South India and tied-up with PVR Cinemas, the largest multiplex operator in India, to sell their tickets on its portal.

Ashish has overseen BookMyShow’s expansion into New Zealand and Australia. In addition, the company has tied-up with Viagogo, a Switzerland-based online ticket marketplace, to offer tickets for international events, music festivals and concerts. Ashish’s focus on customer delight and a people centric approach while steering the company through tough times, has been one of the key reasons for the value that company has created since its inception.

BookMyShow app won the ‘Best Innovative Mobile App’ at the India Digital Awards organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in 2014. It has also been awarded in the category of ‘The Hottest Company of the Year’ and ‘The Company To Watch Out For’ at the CNBC Young Turks Award in 2012 and for the ‘Best Use in Search Category’ at the Yahoo! India Awards 2012-13.


Building a brand, one tile at a time

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Ashok Kajaria
Kajaria Ceramics

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Building a brand, one tile at a time

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Ashok Kajaria
Kajaria Ceramics

Ashok Kajaria started his career dabbling in trading of engineering goods with clients in the Middle East, before seeing both potential and a market in tiles manufacturing in India. Always with a keen eye for detail, Ashok visited more than 50 tile-manufacturing plants in Spain before launching Kajaria Ceramics Limited, in technical collaboration with Todagres S.A. (a leading tile manufacturer in Spain) 25 years ago with a starting capital of INR 2 crores. Today, KCL is the largest player in the Indian tile industry, registering a turnover of over INR 2000 Crores in FY 2013-14.

Kajaria Ceramics today has a capacity of 54.10 million square meters (MSM) across its seven manufacturing plants located in Sikandrabad (UP), Gailpur (Rajasthan), Vijayawada (AP) and four in Morbi (Gujarat). It also has entered into four Joint Ventures with regional tile manufacturers.

In addition to building infrastructure for manufacturing, Ashok has nurtured a strong distribution network of over 925 dealers across the country which has helped transform the family name in to household brand in India. This entrenched network, coupled with strategic acquisitions, has enabled KCL move from strength to strength. The next goal for Ashok is to transform KCL from a pure play tiles company to a holistic bathroom solutions provider.

Ashok’s conviction and entrepreneurial spirit has seen KCL achieve many firsts – including the first Indian company to manufacture large format wall tiles and setting up tiles’ showrooms, along the lines of jewellery stores. Recently Kajaria Ceramics was “Best Managed Company” in the small cap category for the year 2014 by Asiamoney, a financial publication from Euromoney Institutional Investor Group.


The turn-around man

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Yogesh Mahansaria
Alliance Tire Groupt

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The turn-around man

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Yogesh Mahansaria
Alliance Tire Group

Yogesh Mahansaria is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Tire Group (ATG). Yogesh is a resolute leader and it’s a testimony to his courage and conviction that he was able to turn an enterprise running under financial duress into the world’s sixth largest off-highway tire manufacturer within six years. He has effected one of the biggest Private Equity transactions in India, when KKR bought a 90% stake in Alliance Tire Group during 2013.

Yogesh was just 18 when he entered his family business, Balkrishna Tyres (BKT), a two-wheeler manufacturing company. In 1993, BKT was going through a rough patch, and Yogesh was entrusted with the task of reviving its fortunes. He devised a game plan that transformed BKT into a global company in the off-highway tire business,with revenues of INR 632 crore and profit of INR 70 crore in just over a decade. Yogesh saw opportunity in off-highway tyres and grabbed it when it was not on anybody’s radar. In 2006, at 31, Yogesh quit Balkrishna Tyres, to take on a new challenge by acquiring Alliance Tires in Israel

Yogesh fought great odds and became the turn-around man to get Alliance Tires back on track. With strategic changes he brought about in key business operations and by bringing in international expertise he managed to breathe life into ATG in no time. He then led the foray of the company into forestry and construction tires with the acquisition of the off-highway tire business of US based GPX International when it filed for bankruptcy in 2009. That this acquisition was conceived of and executed during the peak of the financial crisis of 2008-09 is a testament to his vision and risk taking ability.

Yogesh has also been a firm believer in the future of India as a strategic manufacturing hub. This has been demonstrated with ATG having invested over USD 250 million to build two state of art manufacturing facilities in India over the last 6 years. Yogesh’s efforts over the last 20 years have led to,India today being a leading supply source for agriculture tires to global markets.

ATG today is a global leader, with revenues reaching USD 600 million, with operations across Asia, Europe and North America, and customers in over 120 different countries worldwide. He plans to expand ATG to be amongst the top three global manufacturers of agriculture, construction and forest tires.


Flying high with technology

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

V.K. Mathews
IBS Software Services

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Flying high with technology

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

V.K. Mathews
IBS Software Services

The need to transform and redefine the way aviation industry did business was top of the mind for V K Mathews when he quit his job as General Manager – IT in Emirates Group, after a stint of over 15 years. IBS Software Services (IBS) was started by Mathews with a seed capital of INR 1.76 crores and a team of 55 inexperienced engineers in 1997. Today, IBS is a leading IT product company with IP rights over 17 technology solutions that serve the global aviation industry across all process areas (airline passenger services, cargo operations, flight and crew operations, airport operations and aircraft maintenance engineering) as well as top oil and gas companies, cruise lines, hotels and tour operators.

As the Executive Chairman, Mathews has been at the helm since inception, expanding IBS’ foot print worldwide including Americas, Europe, Japan, Australia, India and the Middle East; employing over 3000 professionals from around 20 nationalities. IBS serves over 200 clients worldwide including most of the top 25 airlines in the world, four of the five largest oil companies, approximately 80 hotel chains and 30 travel suppliers.

In the last twelve years, IBS has been on a path of accelerated growth acquiring six IT companies under Mathews’ leadership. These acquisitions have enabled IBS to gain traction in the travel and hospitality industry by augmenting its bouquet of technology offerings.

IBS was named as the “IT Provider of the Year” in 2012, 2013 & 2014 by Singapore based Magazine Payload Asia, winner of “IT for Air Cargo Industry Award” by London based Air Cargo Week and awarded Financial Express’ “IT Innovations Award 2014”. Mathews is an Executive Council Member of NASSCOM, the past Chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Kerala and the recipient of several awards in the state of Kerala including “Most Ethical Businessman Award” in 2014, “Management Leadership Award” in 2014 and the “Businessman of the Year Award” in 2013.

An alumnus of IIT-Kanpur and Harvard Business School, Mathews is committed to supporting under-privileged children through his charity initiative, “Candle”.


Sticky tale of a ‘majboothjod’

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

M.B. Parekh
Pidilite Industries

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Sticky tale of a ‘majboothjod’

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

M.B. Parekh
Pidilite Industries

A second generation entrepreneur, M. B. Parekh started his journey with Pidilite in 1972. Mr. Parekh joined Abbot Laboratories, USA, soon after his Masters in Chemical Engineering from University of Wisconsin, USA before joining Pidilite. In his four decades long journey with Pidilite he helped convert a product in an unexciting category into one of the country’s top brands. Its key brands ‘Fevicol’, ‘Fevikwik’, ‘Dr. Fixit’ and ‘M-seal’ are market leaders with high shares in their respective segments.

He not only steered the company to become the market leader in the adhesives and sealants segment in India, but focused on setting a foothold in the overseas market. Under his guidance, PIL has acquired several companies to enter International markets and enhance its products portfolio. The company exports to more than 80 countries and has 13 overseas subsidiaries (4 direct and 9 step-down subsidiaries) manufacturing and selling in the USA, Brazil, Thailand, Dubai, Egypt and Bangladesh.

With its focussed approach to product and brand innovation, it clearly differentiated itself from competition in this otherwise generic market. Quick to identify new opportunities the company heavily invested in the R&D centre at Kondivita, Mumbai and also set up a step-down subsidiary, Pidilite Innovation Centre in Singapore.

Mr. Parekh’s influence in the Company’s social endeavours is primarily in the areas of rural development, education and health. In FY13, Fevicol Champion’s Club members, 22,000 contractors set a Limca record by volunteering a day of their labour on Shramdaan Diwas to fix and repair furniture in 362 institutions, including schools for the under privileged, across the country. This is how Mr. Parekh ensures that the brand promise comes out alive with an energy and emotion that is so intrinsic to the brand that is much loved and adored by one and all.


Health for all

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Dr. Cyrus S. Poonawalla
Serum Institute Of India

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Health for all

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Dr. Cyrus S. Poonawalla
Serum Institute Of India

Dr. Poonawalla is the Chairman & Managing Director of Serum Institute of India which was founded by him in 1966 with a noble purpose of manufacturing serums and vaccines at the time when life-saving serums and vaccines were in short supply in India and were being imported at high prices. It’s a testament of his vision, grit and innovative approach that Serum Institute is today the world’s largest manufacturer of all vaccines put together in number of doses manufactured and supplied to protect children globally.

A visionary with great foresight, Dr. Poonawalla manifested his dream of “Health for all with affordable vaccines” with the creation a company that is today rewriting the script for how Biotechnology companies in India do business. An astute businessman and a determined leader, he is credited for the remarkable success of Serum Institute of India, which has transformed from a Company started with a capital of Rs. 5 laKhs as a small-scale Industry into one of the largest vaccine manufacturers in the world, with over 1.1 billion doses of high quality serums and vaccines that are used in over 140 countries. Dr.Poonawalla’s Serum Institute, was one of the first offering low cost preventive and curative vaccines (priced at approximately 50% less than the multinational companies - notably several vaccines such as Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Polio vaccines etc. etc. which are available at the lowest price in the world.

Referred to as one of the seven vaccine heroes by Bill Gates, Dr. Poonawalla has been honoured with numerous accolades including “Padma Shree” in 2005, “The Sabin Humanitarian Award 2005”, “The Sabin Corporate Philanthropy Award” in June 2005 in USA , “U.S. Award for Excellence in the Inter-American Public Health” in 2010, the “EY Entrepreneur Of The Year - Business Transformation Award” in 2012 and “Lifetime achievement” award at the Vaccine World Summit India in 2014.

Dr. Poonawalla has not only been a champion for low-cost, high-quality vaccines for the masses, but is also a strong advocate for human rights, upliftment of the ailing, poor and needy, in leprosy, a votary for public health reforms and free immunization for the under-privileged.

One of the other great passions of Dr. Poonawalla is horse racing and breeding. He is an icon in the thoroughbred horseracing and breeding world, besides being elected as Chairman of RWITC and the Turf Authorities of India. His most significant achievement was when, as a member of the Executive Council of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities in Paris (i.e. the world Governing council of the sport], he received the Life-time Achievement Award in Paris on 5th October, 2009.


Engineering a positive change

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Ajit Prabhu
QuEST Global

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Engineering a positive change

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Ajit Prabhu
QuEST Global

As the Chairman & CEO, Ajit Prabhu provides the vision and strategic direction for the growth of QuEST Global, which he co-founded in 1997. Ajit is passionate about organizational development and he strives to build a timeless institution. He has been the force behind the Company’s phenomenal growth. From a small 100 sq ft office in Schenectady in 1997, QuEST Global has grown to an organization with nearly 7000 employees operating from more than 30 global delivery centers spread across North America, Europe & APAC. The Company has recorded an impressive 5-year CAGR of 36% as against an industry average of 15-20%. Ajit’s determination, ability to open up new markets, passion and ability to understand customer challenges and address them have enabled QuEST Global to establish itself as a leader in Engineering Services Outsourcing in many of Verticals it serves.

Ajit began his career at General Electric’s Corporate R&D Center, in Schenectady, NY, while working on power generation, aircraft engines; appliances and locomotive related engineering problems. Later, he went on to establish QuEST Global.

For his research in Rensselaer, he received the prestigious ‘Young Investigator Award’ from the International Association for Dental Research. Ajit was inducted as a life time member into distinguished Livingston W. Houston 13 Society of Patrons of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and serves on the Engineering School Advisory Council at Rensselaer. Ajit was inducted into prestigious Royal Aeronautical Society, UK as a Fellow in 2010. Earlier this year, he was awarded the Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year by the Singapore Prime Minister on behalf of the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ajit holds a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Old Dominion University, VA and a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer, NY and strongly believes that engineers hold the key to the future. He strongly believes in education playing a role in building successful lives and society. Education of underprivileged deserving students ranks high in his personal agenda and through QuEST Global he runs a novel initiative called “Engineering Positive Change through Education”.


The Life of PI

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Salil Singhal
PI Industries

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The Life of PI

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Salil Singhal
PI Industries

PI Industries is as old as independent India – and maybe almost as diverse, too. Founded in 1947 as an edible oil-producer, it ventured into agrochemicals in 1962-63, and then into Mining and Mineral Processing, Energy Metering and Energy Management, which were hived off into separate group companies namely Wolkem India Ltd. and Secure Meters Ltd. Today PI is one of the fastest growing Company in the agro chemical space in India with a market cap in excess of USD 1 billion. The person who has overseen this remarkable journey is it’s Chairman and Managing Director, Salil Singhal.

A second-generation entrepreneur, Salil was instrumental in spearheading PI’s transformation from a manufacturer of generic agrochemical formulations to a unique and non-conflicting business model of offering CRM (contract research manufacturing) services to global Innovators on one hand, and a strong rural marketing/ distribution network in India on the other.

PI continues to build on its strong relationships with global innovators, world class R&D and chemical manufacturing units with strong capabilities in the areas of complex chemistry. The company has developed a strong connect with the agri-based community and invests in brand building efforts in rural India.

Salil has committed PI to continue to be a technology and knowledge driven Company. He brings a strong marketing and business development focus to the Company making it international in outlook and strong in R&D.

Recognitions and adulations have been coming in thick and fast for Salil and PI. It was conferred the ‘Best Supplier to the Crop Protection Industry’ Award at the “Agrow” Awards in 2014 in London, and was honoured with the ‘Agriculture Leadership’ Award at the Agriculture Leadership Summit 2014. The Business Today magazine recently recognised him as the Best CEO (Mid sized Companies: Chemicals).

Salil is strongly committed to the community. PI Foundation, has a team of 1,200 ‘Plant Doctors’ focussing on increasing farm productivity and food security measures by providing complete farming solutions to the farmers. It started a major skills development training programme in collaboration with DD University Nadiad and Govt. of Gujarat, and has taken up village upliftment initiatives. He is also actively involved with Industry associations and various educational & cultural organisations and has addressed many seminars on agriculture, environment and other subjects.

For Salil the growth of PI Industries is a journey not a goal.


Lifetime achievement award

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Dr. K. Radhakrishnan
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)

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Lifetime achievement award

EY - EOY Finalists 2014

Dr. K. Radhakrishnan
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)

When India’s Mars Orbiter Mission ‘Mangalyaan’ entered the orbit of the red planet on 21 September 2014, Dr. K Radhakrishnan had successfully overseen the world’s cheapest yet most innovative mission to Mars.

Dr. Radhakrishnan, who took over as the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in 2009, joined in 1971 as an avionics engineer and steadily moved up the ranks occupying several decisive roles at ISRO. As Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre he immensely contributed to Chandrayaan-1, India’s first lunar mission. In the half a decade of his tenure as the head of ISRO, Dr. Radhakrishnan has lead the organisation to accomplish 37 space missions (including 16 launcher missions and 21 spacecraft missions), a commendable feat for a space agency of any size.

Dr. Radhakrishnan is an accomplished technocrat with a successful career spanning 38 years in space technology, applications and space programme management he has been a key man in the Chandrayaan mission. Under Dr. Radhakrishnan, ISRO’s emphasis has been on self-reliance and innovation in space technology. For the ‘Mangalyaan’ mission, the team based their work on proven indigenous technologies and built on it. Smart selection of hardware developed and qualified by ISRO in the past including the long-proven workhorse launch vehicle, PSLV, along with innovative refashioning of the technology and equipment were the clear defining factors of the mission. Named among the best inventions of 2014 by TIME magazine, the Mangalyaan is the cheapest inter-planetary mission that, at just USD 74 million, is just a tenth of NASA’s Mars mission Maven.

A Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and IIM Bangalore, he is a recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Allan D. Emil Memorial Award (2014) of International Astronautical Federation, the Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Award of Indian Science Congress (2010); and Social Sciences Award of the International Academy of Astronautics (2009).

Nature Science Journal recently chose Dr. Radhakrishnan as one of the top ten scientific personalities in 2014. He is also the recipient of Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour.

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