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Taking Forward The Business Legacy

Filling in the big shoes of successful predecessors is an onerous task; charting your own path is no less. What does it mean to be a second or third generation entrepreneur in a world that sees you being handed a life and career of privilege. A family business is bound by the core purpose of the business and the family values and beliefs; it also comes with tangible and intangible assets of financial worth with social reputation and emotional values. Most inheritors of this legacy have the responsibility of taking forward the business and growing it. It also means upholding the core vision of the business while creating your own impact, coming out of the shadows of your predecessor’s success and reputation and forging your own identity.
B360 has compiled a list of individuals who are on a mission to create histories even while retaining and growing their family legacy.

MANOJ KUMAR KEDIA
Managing Director, Kedia Organisation

‘A busy man can do one thing more’ are words that Manoj Kumar Kedia, Managing Director of Kedia Organisation, lives by. A true entrepreneur in every sense, he has been part of founding numerous companies in various sectors in a little over 30 years and is still going strong. He is a dynamic and result-oriented leader with a strong track record in analytical skills and insight into diverse business scenarios. He has explored different businesses in areas such as manufacturing, real estate, financial services, automobiles, agro and dairy, food processing, FMCG, liquor, carpet, furnishing, chemicals, trading, general merchandising and more.

Early on, Manoj assisted his uncle and father, Tara Chand, in various ventures which allowed him to hone his business skills and build his network. He is also an active member of Round Table Nepal since his early business days which has allowed him to harness his leadership skills. He has also served as the National President of Round Table Nepal, and as Treasurer and Asia Pacific Chairman of Round Table International.

Manoj is currently the Chairman of Siddhartha Bank and Managing Director of Brij Cement Industries, Arghakhanchi Cement, Asian Concreto, Shree Steels and Brij Glass, his latest venture. He is a founding member of Young Presidents Organisation Nepal Chapter which is known to be the world’s most powerful business network. He had previously also served as the founding Chairman of Siddhartha Insurance, Board of Director for Reliance Life Insurance, Vice President for Confederation of Nepalese Industries along with several other roles at Nepal Chamber of Commerce. He is also General Secretary of Nepal Dairy Association, and is active with the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Cement Manufacturers Association of Nepal.

Apart from business, Kedia is very passionate about philanthropy. He has actively been working with social organisations started by his family like MB Kedia Sewa Trust, Sushil Kedia Foundation and SL Kedia Foundation. He founded the Puspa Tara Sewa Sanstha on the occasion of his parents’ 50th anniversary. He has also published two volumes of biography of Shanker Lal Kedia in remembrance of his late uncle and his achievements.

What do you owe the success of your company to?

The success of my company is that we keep innovating, work hard and are always looking at ways to improve. It is not that we are not satisfied with what we have, but we always look forward to what else we can do, how better we can do, and where we can improve ourselves whether it is in life or business. That’s the key to success moving ahead.

What business advice did you receive from your predecessor and what business advice would you want to give to your successor?

I am the fourth generation running the business in Nepal. So, when we were growing up, we definitely saw our grandfather, father, uncles and heard about our great grandfather’s way of living, values and thoughts. So, from all the things that I have observed about my predecessors, I always picked up the positive side and learned from their struggles which has made me a successful or rather a progressive person.

I have learnt the core values of life and not to commit any fraud in business. I have also learned that there are ups and downs in business and if we have a problem, we have to face them rather than pushing them away. In times of crisis, a good leader should always lead from the front and one should not hide from the situation. One must also stay close to the society and public and not just run after wealth. At the end of the day you must have had a positive impact on society.

There are different sides to a business and they must all be taken into consideration if you want to be successful. For instance, we must treat our employees as partners or junior colleagues rather than just workers. Customers should always be placed at the forefront and the products we offer must be of good quality which will help improve their lives. I have always believed that a customer should get what they have paid for.

During times of crisis, it is our responsibility to adhere to good business practices and not raise prices or create scarcity. When the country needs us and if we can do something, we always have to come forward and work for the larger industry. So, these are the fundamental things that we have been learning and following till date. We want the future generations to understand and accept them and move ahead accordingly.

I have also learned that there are ups and downs in business and if we have a problem, we have to face them rather than pushing them away. In times of crisis, a good leader should always lead from the front and one should not hide from the situation.

What are your thoughts on ‘the family business should be led by someone from within the family’?

I don’t think it is necessary for a family member to look after all the businesses within the group. Even if a family member is running a company it must be done professionally like how a hired CEO would do. For instance, when my grandfather started his businesses across the country he used to have many people looking after them. They used to operate the oil and rice mills and my grandfather used to share a certain percent of the profit with them. My grandfather applied the principle of shares and partnership 108 years ago. This philosophy helped him become successful.
The most capable person should lead the business. It should be more of a professionally run business but definitely with the presence of value, vision and mission it is easier for the executives to run the business.

What changes have you introduced in your organisation after acquiring the leadership role?

As I said earlier, my grandfather applied partnership based business principle but during my father’s time this style was not much applicable. When I got into the leadership role after my studies I hired educated and professional people, and managed the business in an organised way with better technologies. I was just 25 when I started Sitaram Gokul Milk as my first independent business. I took a loan of Rs 11 crores from banks to establish this industry. Coincidentally, the current Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba who at that time was also the executive head of the country had inaugurated the industry.

From the Nepali business fraternity, who would you like to give the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ title to and why?

I think everyone deserves the award because they have all made their contributions, whether big or small, to the country’s economy and development. To start a business in a country like ours is a challenge in itself and it takes a lot of courage to face the many hurdles that you encounter. In my opinion, a person who is self-reliant and further helps others grow financially, whether they are a professional or a private entrepreneur, should be feted. I feel we should not be making comparisons, and honour everyone who has contributed to the development of the country.

Fact Box

Name of the company: Kedia Organisation
Established: 1909
Businesses verticals: Manufacturing, real estate, financial services, automobiles, agro and dairy, food processing, FMCG, liquor, carpet, furnishing, chemicals, trading, general merchandising and more.

GAURAV SHARDA
Director of Sharda Group

Gaurav Sharda, Director of Sharda Group, a family-owned conglomerate that owns multiple businesses ranging from trading to manufacturing, has diverse experience in handling multiple industries for over a decade. Currently, he oversees companies which deal in alcoholic beverages and consumer electronic products like Xiaomi, Chivas and Absolut. Gaurav is also involved with the group’s distillery business which manufactures and sells their own brands.

With a keen interest in the FMCG sector, he is also an avid traveller who takes interest in sports and philanthropic activities. Gaurav is an alumni of esteemed institutions like Amity University, IMT Ghaziabad and Mewar University Rajasthan. He has been associated with Round Table Nepal and was also awarded as the best member of the organisation in 2014.

What do you owe the success of your company to?

The three things that I feel are necessary for any entity or person to succeed are foresight, persistence and hard work.

What business advice did you receive from your predecessor and what would you want to give to your successor?

My father always instilled in me that the road to success is built on failures. Thus, any failure should be taken in your stride and we should learn from our mistakes and move ahead. Even today, his aggression to grow, to try new businesses, and not fear failure are attributes that I learn on a day-to-day basis. In our family business no new member is given an established company to run. We are expected to find and invest in new business verticals. This not only helps us grow as a group but also gives each individual the opportunity to explore new businesses.
Learning from my experience, I would advise my successors to get involved in an industry they are interested in and start something they are passionate about, as passion can make doing that business much easier and fun.

The three things that I feel are necessary for any entity or person to succeed are foresight, persistence and hard work.

What are your thoughts on ‘the family business must be led by someone from within the family’?

The mantra for success for any family business is balanced on four pillars: emotional capital, leadership, wealth creation and conflict resolution. Every family business has to decide upon a clear succession road map. However, until the new members of the family are capable of bringing onboard newer ideas and keep broadening the business landscape with renewed energy while adhering to the core pillars, the family business should be led by someone in the family who has already been involved in it.

What changes have you introduced in your organisation after acquiring the leadership role?

I joined the company in 2006 and later established SPG Trading in 2012 where we import alcoholic beverages. In the same year, I also set up Vatsal Impex through which we import and distribute mobiles and IoT devices. Later in 2015, I helped found Premier Organics where we produce and sell alcoholic beverages.

From the Nepali business fraternity, who would you like to give the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ title to and why?

I may sound biased in my choice but I would like my father Shiv Ratan Sharda to receive the title for steering our ever-growing family business which has operations across multiple verticals. I would also like to fete him for leading us from the front and I must say his energy and enthusiasm puts us youngsters to shame.

Fact Box

Name of the company: Sharda Group
Established: 2005
Business Verticals:
• Kantipur Oxygen 2005 – Manufacturer of medical and industrial oxygen and nitrogen gases
• SPG Trading 2012 – Importer of alcoholic beverages
• Vatsal Impex 2012 – Importer and distributor of Mobiles and IoT devices
• Premier Organics 2015 – Made in Nepal alcoholic beverages

UJJWAL KUMAR SHRESTHA
Executive Director, Panchakanya Group

Twelve hundred employees, five industries, 15 companies, 150-plus distributors across the country, over 100 products but one vision: To be the preferred brand of Nepal. At the helm of the family business, Ujjwal Kumar Shrestha represents the third generation of what started as a small, humble family business. The Panchakanya Group today is one of Nepal’s leading business houses.

Ujjwal’s journey from just a little boy running around the factory floor to being the Executive Director has not been easy. He mentions that nothing was handed to him on a silver platter. Each of his business triumphs, big or small, were belittled by his family members, reminding him, every step of the way, the sacrifices and hardships the generation before him faced.

He shares that initially he allocated three major tasks for himself: to understand the essence of Nepali work culture, to garner deep insight into consumer behaviour, and to grasp and take control of the business network and practices. With diligence and meticulous practice, he was able to understand and master the three tasks. Understanding these three core concepts became the foundation of his triumph which shaped him as a leader, an entrepreneur, propelled him further up in the family business and consequently in the business fraternity of Nepal.

What do you owe the success of your company to?

I believe from day one Panchakanya has had a very clear and strong purpose and focus. Even when it was a small family business run by my grandfather, Prem B Shrestha, he was crystal clear on its purpose and vision. The purpose and focus of the organisation is still the same:

Product Innovation: We boldly introduce pioneering products in the construction material sector.

Quality: As they say quality is never an accident; it is always a consistent, conscious, and sincere effort. This has been a driving force for us.
Changing with the times and staying relevant.

The team: Most of our team members have been with us for generations, and they understand the core value, purpose and focus of the organisation.

Consumer Trust: In our culture and society trust is everything. We have worked relentlessly over the years to build and maintain this trust. They trust our quality and business philosophy of putting consumers at the core of everything we do.

Leaders must always carve their own path. Generally, I would say embrace everything that was good in the past, and unlearn things that are keeping you from keeping up with change. Keep an open mind – don’t be too consumed by your company’s past legacy.

What business advice did you receive from your predecessor and what would you want to give to your successor?

Leaders must always carve their own path. Generally, I would say embrace everything that was good in the past, and unlearn things that are keeping you from keeping up with change. Keep an open mind – don’t be too consumed by your company’s past legacy. One advice I remember my grandfather gave me was to always remember that it takes generations to build a trusted brand and only seconds to destroy it. This is probably what every inter-generational family business predecessor tells the future generation. And it is no different in my case. It sounds simple but takes a lot to remember and execute.

What are your thoughts on ‘the family business should be led by someone from within the family’?

This question is the quintessential family business dilemma in Nepal. Most family business issues are regarding unanimously choosing the next successor. All I can say is that those who have figured this out are the ones who ultimately succeed. Personally, if I remove all emotions and sentiments I would say that the right person to run the business may not always be a family member. This is the harsh truth. However, even to come to this kind of conclusion takes a lot of evolved members in the family group and this is usually not the case. So to answer it simply, no it is not necessary that a family business should be led by someone from the family. Easier said than done.

What changes have you introduced in your organisation after acquiring the leadership role?

To begin with there were things I myself needed to learn and unlearn at various stages of my journey with the family business to truly bring an impacting change. Looking back, two things really helped me understand my own business so I could bring change: One that I started from the bottom of the business food chain so to speak. Ultimately it was the time spent on the scorching hot Bhairahawa factory floor, watching my people work and create, that helped me understand our processes and thus bring a change that was organic and not superficial. Secondly, in the initial days I would drive across the country, wherever business was coming from, to interact with those who made up the core customers of our organisation. Understanding their dreams and expectations from our organisation helped me drive meaningful and positive changes.

Today, we are much more in harmony with all our stakeholders. Our structure is more decentralised so my team feels more empowered to drive business. While our soul is that of a family business, we operate like a professional, well-structured business group. We continue to put in a lot of effort in consistently following best practices so we can stay ahead.

In particular, I am extremely proud of all the changes and efforts we have made to give back to the community through our CSR initiatives. Two of my top CSR initiatives that I feel committed to are ‘Project Chori’ to produce sanitary napkins by the community and Mohan Maya School, which my grandfather established in Jhapa in memory of our late great grandmother.

From the Nepali business fraternity, who would you like to give the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ title to and why?

I believe one thing that our country has in abundance is entrepreneurs. Difficult business circumstances in the country has led to many successful, serial entrepreneurs. The best part of this is there are so many that we are not even aware of. We think only of Kathmandu when we think about prominent entrepreneurs. There are so many successful entrepreneurs outside the valley that inspire me. Bal Krishna Bhusal, MD of Bhushal Group, Bhairahawa, is the most aggressive serial entrepreneur I know of who has expanded and diversified his business in many verticals in the last five years and has leaped further during the pandemic taking every opportunity he can during these tough times.

Fact Box

Name of the company: Panchakanya Group
Established: 1972 in Jhapa
Businesses verticals: manufacturer of construction materials, hydropower and energy, construction equipment and automobiles, financial institution, housing and land development

JAYADIN SHRESTHA
Joint Executive Director, ICTC

As the Joint Executive Director of ICTC, Jayadin Shrestha develops, directs and administers the overall organisational strategy and activities of several companies within the conglomerate. He oversees the day-to-day business activities, prepares project plans, and reviews the project outcomes and performances. He is also involved with various business expansion plans and activities of ICTC.

What do you owe the success of your company to?

The credit for the initial success of the company undoubtedly goes to my grandfather, Sri Ram Lal Shrestha’s vision and courage to start a business though he didn’t have any prior business experience. It was then the second generation – my father and uncles – whose unrivalled passion, hard work and commitment towards the family business resulted in us growing further. Now it is us, the third generation’s dedication, energy and innovation to further expand our existing businesses to greater success which have helped us be successful.

What business advice did you receive from your predecessor and what business advice would you want to give to your successor?

The best advice given to me was from my grandfather who always said ‘Dukha ma na attinu, sukha ma na mattinu’, which literally translates to ‘not to fret when in trouble and not to go overboard when things are looking good’. I would relay the same advice to the future generations.

What are your thoughts on ‘the family business should be led by someone from within the family’?

There are numerous pros and cons for both sides of the argument. However, I do not believe it is mandatory for only a family member to lead the business. It would purely depend on the situation and the type of business.

I do not believe it is mandatory for only a family member to lead the business. It would purely depend on the situation and the type of business.

What changes have you introduced in your organisation after acquiring the leadership role?

The biggest change we, the third generation, are trying to bring to our group is more professionalism in our companies and to adapt and work as per the changing times.

From the Nepali business fraternity, who would you like to give the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ title to and why?

It would be unfair to mention only one name since there are so many inspirational business people in Nepal today but to name a few who really inspire me with their dedication to their respective businesses are Arun Saraf, Niranjan Shrestha, Dorje Lama, Hem Raj Dhakal, Rajan Krishna Shrestha, Hemant Golchha, Ujjwal Shrestha, Manoj Kedia, Sahil Agarwal and Nicolas Pandey. There are many more that inspire me but the list would be too long.

Fact Box

Name of the company: Inter Continental Trading Concern (ICTC)
Established: 1975
Business Verticals: Software development, liquor manufacturer, engineering and consulting service, civil works / heavy equipment, electrical and supply, contractor, hydro – hydro mechanical equipment, hydropower, supply and construction, civil aviation, real estate development, internet service provider, IT services, insurance (non-life), consumer products marketing, hotels

RISHI AGRAWAL
Executive Board, Reliance Group Nepal

Rishi Agrawal is a third generation entrepreneur and a member of a 150-year-old business family in Nepal. He did his primary schooling from Kanti Ishwari High School in Kathmandu and then moved to Sherwood College, Nainital, India, where he completed his Class 12.

Later, he enrolled at the Sydenham College, Mumbai, India and graduated in commerce and accountancy. After college, he went to Harvard University for a summer semester to study international business and marketing and eventually did his MBA from Cardiff University, United Kingdom.

Rishi has been in business for 22 years now, of which he has worked in India for an MNC for six years before joining the family business. He primarily looks after finance, expansion and operations of the group companies.

On the personal front, he has been married for 21 years and has two children. He also loves anything to do with sporting activities, travelling and watching television. One of things Rishi loves doing is trekking along the Himalayan range and he says there is no better outdoors anywhere in the world than what we have in Nepal.

I strongly believe that a family business should always be led by a family member as the drive and passion one has for their own enterprise are unmatched by any other.

What do you owe the success of your company to?

Success always comes with hard work, honesty, perseverance and being at the right place at the right time. So definitely I would put all these factors in us being successful.

What business advice did you receive from your predecessor and what business advice would you want to give to your successor?

As an entrepreneur, one has to lead in their own way but also follow some success stories that inspire us. So there has to be a mix of one’s gut feel and belief in what you are doing.

What are your thoughts on ‘the family business should be led by someone from within the family’?

I strongly believe that a family business should always be led by a family member as the drive and passion one has for their own enterprise are unmatched by any other.

What changes have you introduced in your organisation after acquiring the leadership role?

I made sure that the organisation is as lean as possible so that work is done seamlessly and there is not much hierarchy as things tend to get lost when there are too many layers. The leaner an organisation, the better and faster are the results. Everyone should own and be responsible for their work. Last but not the least, there should be trust and respect among colleagues and one should treat the organisation as an extended family and vice versa. These are some aspects that I have tried to inculcate within the organisation.

From the Nepali business fraternity, who would you like to give the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ title to and why?

I believe all entrepreneurs, whether big or small, should be given the title as each one of them has been contributing to keep our economy ticking even during the tough times we have been facing in the last couple of years. I would say without any hesitation that Nepali entrepreneurs are the most resilient and risk-taking people and I will always salute them for their courage and contribution.

Fact Box

Name of the company: Reliance Group Nepal
Established: 1995
Businesses Verticals: The group is involved in the manufacturing sector like cement, white and Kraft paper, PVC flooring and mats, non-woven and tufted carpets, artificial leather and mining. The group has promoted and has interests in hydropower projects, banking, insurance and finance companies.

DIKESH MALHOTRA
President & CEO, IMS Group

Dikesh Malhotra stands at the helm of his family business, IMS Group. He joined the business about a decade ago and is the President and CEO of the company. He currently lives with his parents, wife and daughter and values his family above all else. Dikesh enjoys travelling, sports, food and spending time with people who can help nurture his life.

At work, he is a demanding boss but also has an open-door policy where anyone can approach him with their issues, ideas and feedback and he works in a very democratic manner. He believes in team work and hard work and likes to lead by example. Dikesh ensures tat whatever business the company gets into, it has relevance to the society and can raise the living standards of the Nepali citizen. He aspires for work-life balance and focuses on his health as much as he does on work.

What do you owe the success of your company to?

The success of our business foremost lies with the hard work and vision of my father, who is the Chairman of the company. Besides, it is my persistence to keep the family business going and the constant drive to add value to it and the team ethics we share with every single employee, partner and businesses involved with us that has propelled us to greater heights.

What business advice did you receive from your predecessor and what would you want to give to your successor?

My father always said that business practices don’t come from the books, thus building a network, trusting one’s instincts and working hard will bring success. I hope my successor will have the same drive, loyalty and passion for IMS Group as I do. Whatever they do, I will say give your 100% and be honest to your work.

What are your thoughts on ‘the family business should be led by someone from within the family’?

A family business should be led by someone who is capable, has the appetite for the job and understands the gravity of the brand and if that person comes from within the family, it’ll work out best for everyone. I think for people like me born into business, we start seeing from a very young age how much effort, time and dedication it has taken to build the company, thus it makes it all the more important for us to keep building on it and to not let it fail. But if we don’t have the same drive as our fathers did, then it will only ruin the many years of hard work that went into building the companies.

What changes have you introduced in your organisation after acquiring the leadership role?

I am a much more systematic person when it comes to work. I like order and knowing exactly what is happening where, so I think my main role has been to streamline the businesses my dad started with a lot of passion and energy and making long-term strategies. I have also worked towards digitisation and incorporating technology so as to make the company less people-dependent than it was before I joined.

My father always said that business practices don’t come from the books, thus building a network, trusting one’s instincts and working hard will bring success. I hope my successor will have the same drive, loyalty and passion for IMS Group as I do.

From the Nepali business fraternity, who would you like to give the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ title to and why?

Easily, my father, Deepak Malhotra. The last two years when every entrepreneur has been focusing on how to sustain their business or looking for opportunities to find new ones, my father has worked every single day to use his position and capacity to help the country. The first wave of the pandemic saw a shortage in masks and a rise in black market activities, and he immediately set up a mask producing facility to not just get rid of the black market but also to manage the shortage in the country. The second wave saw a shortage in oxygen cylinders and concentrators, so he flew in over 2,000 units from China to control the situation. He worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to not just manage all employees across all verticals but for Nepal as well, so he is ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ for me personally.

Fact Box

Name of the company: IMS Group
Established: 1993
Business verticals: Technology, automobiles, agriculture, e-commerce, construction, real state, education, hospital and medicine, hospitality, hydropower, baby care, broadcasting and ISP, banks, life insurance, procurement and consulting

VIDUSHI RANA
Director Marketing & Branding, Goldstar Shoes

An action-oriented strategic thinker with a passion for marketing, Vidushi Rana, has played a major role in restoring and reviving the Goldstar brand. A former banker, who with her husband, Amir Pratap JB Rana, CMD, Kiran Shoes Manufacturers (Goldstar Brand) and Modern Slipper Industries (Haathi Brand), has brought these popular footwear brands in the spotlight once again in recent years. Besides successfully handling the responsibilities as Marketing and Branding Director of Goldstar and Haathi brands, she is also a supermom. A mother of two, she has a nurturing side as well, furthering her charisma as an independent woman.

What do you owe the success of your company to?

We owe the success of our company to our teamwork. We could not have made it this far without the collective efforts of all our workers, staff, partners and the never-ending love and trust shown by our customers. Having said that, I also feel that my husband’s vision and positivity drive the company forward and marketing has definitely helped us reach new heights.

What business advice did you receive from your predecessor and what business advice would you want to give to your successor?

My father-in-law always emphasised the importance of relationships/friendships over money. Having people around you with the right mindset and always doing your bit in helping each other out, and building relationships is what he taught us to value. My experiences have taught me that it is very true.

The advice I would like to give my successor is to try and live your life by being true to yourself rather than trying to be who you think you need to be. Be focused, trust in yourself and the process, and everything will fall into place.

What are your thoughts on ‘the family business should be led by someone from within the family’?

Running a business involves a lot of people/stakeholders, not just a family. Personally, it would give me immense pride and satisfaction if my husband and I are able to further grow our business and that is what we are continually striving for. Similarly, I would feel the same if my children are able to carry on with our work. However, they should also have that passion and desire to work in this field because only if they have the drive will they be able to learn and grow with the business. Even if that is not the case, the show has to go on. The survival of the business is vital for the livelihood of thousands of people, a reason of national pride, which must be continued by whoever is able to do so.

The advice I would like to give my successor is to try and live your life by being true to yourself rather than trying to be who you think you need to be. Be focused, trust in yourself and the process, and everything will fall into place.

What changes have you introduced in your organisation after acquiring the leadership role?

My forte has always been marketing and branding so I wanted to provide value to the company with what I knew. I had always felt that Goldstar was not doing anything on the marketing front and that was one department I wanted to create. I created the marketing and branding department. When I joined, our main designs had been through a typical life cycle of a product and was reaching maturity. The Nepali footwear market had started to forget the brand, or it was not in the forefront as a highly recognised local brand. Millennials and young adults had some idea about the brand but not to the extent that they would actually go and buy a pair for themselves. Much of this was because overall efforts and future plans of the company were completely focused on exporting our products. And I must add that it was the right thing to do then, rebranding, because of the issues we were facing at home due to political problems. There were a lot of uncertainties due to the Maoist insurgency and so on in being able to cater to the target market, which were exports in our case. We had to explore the market we actually had better access to, which was our own Nepali market.

Marketing played a key role in creating that market and generating higher sales. Today more than 50% of our sales is local, which was just 15% when I joined. Marketing and branding definitely helped in making the company self-sufficient.

From the Nepali business fraternity, who would you like to give the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ title to and why?

There are many people I idolise and get inspired from in the Nepali business fraternity. But if I have to name one, then it has to be Binod Chaudhary for his capacity to dream big, his thirst to innovate, and his competence to materialise his vision, persevere, and try out untried business ideas. I find he is ahead of his times, and he is someone I truly admire.

Fact Box

Name of the company: Kiran Shoes Manufacturers
Established: 2049 BS
Businesses verticals: Manufacturing shoes (Goldstar Brand), manufacturing slippers (Haathi Chhap Brand), trading unit, franchise showrooms (Life Step International), manufacturing masks (Multiguard Tech)

REETAL RANA
Managing Director, Mid-Valley International College

Reetal Rana is the Managing Director of Mid-Valley International College which is affiliated to HELP University, Malaysia. She is also the Campus Chief for +2 Management faulty at Galaxy Public School.

During her academic career, Reetal has been trained as a Montessori teacher, teacher trainer, and worked as a Vice Principal for Galaxy School for five years. She was the EO GSEA Chair for Global Student Entrepreneur Awards 2020 and has organised several nation-wide competitions. She has played a pivotal role to successfully organise the EUHOFA congress which brought around 100 hotel schools from around the world together to Nepal. She is also the Executive Board Member of PATA Nepal Chapter. She has completed her graduation from the University of Queensland, Australia and Kathmandu University, Nepal.

What do you owe the success of your company to?

The success of the company is due to our qualified faculty and dedicated team members. We believe in empowering our team members to take on leadership roles which results in more accountability and better results. We are focused on students learning and provide numerous opportunities for students to engage, experience and compete to improve themselves. Our corporate collaborations help students to learn from the industry and become ready for the job they aspire.

What business advice did you receive from your predecessor and what business advice would you want to give to your successor?

I have learned not to focus on problems but to be a part of the solution. My predecessors have taught me the value of continuous learning and planning for the future.
My advice for my successor would be to spend a lot of time brainstorming and planning before execution. A half-baked plan almost always leads to failure, waste of time and resentment. As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

What are your thoughts on ‘the family business must be led by someone from within the family’?

I feel it is debatable. One shoe does not fit all sizes. Similarly, not everyone is apt for the family business. It can be run by family members if they are good at doing it or they can hire a CEO to run it. However, since it is a family business, let the family decide.

I have learned not to focus on problems but to be a part of the solution. My predecessors have taught me the value of continuous learning and planning for the future.

What changes have you introduced in your organisation after acquiring the leadership role?

I started my own business in 2011. My leadership style is mostly participative in nature. We work as a team and support each other to get the best results. Morning huddles, weekly and monthly meeting cycles, feedback systems, celebrations are all part of our company’s culture.

From the Nepali business fraternity, who would like to give the “Entrepreneur of the Year’ title to and why?

I would like to give the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ title to Siddhanth Raj Pandey. He is a versatile and serial entrepreneur who has managed to successfully complete many national projects and venture into automobiles, restaurants, and farming projects. He is also a spiritual person who is involved in many philanthropic activities like helping build schools during the earthquake.

Fact Box

Name of the company:  Mid-Valley International College
Established: 2011

Abhishek Chitrakar is a staff writer at Business360. He is also pursuing his bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is mostly interested in entrepreneurship, tech and automobiles.

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