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BW Businessworld

Lesser-known Business Tales

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 T S Kalyanaraman has his business base in Kerala. Puranmal Bansal started his first business in a small city in Uttar Pradesh before he shifted to Delhi. Both have focused on precious metals to build  formidable business empires. However, they operate in completely different areas — and not just geographically.
Kalyanaraman moved out of the family textile business to open his first jewellery store sometime in 1993. Currently he has 36 stores, and boasts of a turnover of over Rs 9,500 crore. Bansal started his business sometime in the 1950s, when starting a business was a really Herculean task. He started off with a trading outfit in Uttar Pradesh. He dabbled in many things, though he kept coming back to precious metals. Today his company, MD Overseas, has a turnover of Rs 10,000 crore, much of it coming from trading in bullion — gold and silver.
While both Bansal and Kalyanaraman are very well known in their own sectors, their stories remain largely unknown to the average business reader because they have chosen not to list their companies on stock exchanges, and also because they do not go out of their way to seek publicity.
India has always had a tradition of entrepreneurship, and enterprising businessmen have spotted opportunities in every sector. But for every entrepreneur who catches the public’s fancy, there are dozens who have stayed out of the limelight, even if they have equally fascinating stories to tell. A few months ago, senior editors Nevin John and P.B. Jayakumar decided  to start looking for such tales of entrepreneurship. Our cover story focuses on seven  such men who have built businesses and spotted opportunities in very different fields, ranging from bullion trading to poultry supplies.
Meanwhile, senior assistant editor Joe C. Mathew focused on entrepreneurship in the agricultural space. He found that despite the gloom and doom about the sector in general, a few enterprising men had built sizeable businesses around bananas, mangoes and other fruits.
A caveat here: the people profiled in our cover stories this issue are not the only ones with great tales to recount. There are many more out there, and we will be bringing you such stories of businesses and entrepreneurs from time to time.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 27-08-2012)