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Mr. S.K. Wadhawan – The Soft spoken Business Magnate

Suryaprakash Special to IIK Sunday, September 4, 2011
Mr. S.K. Wadhawan – The Soft spoken Business Magnate

A man who has established a business empire in Kuwait has his roots rooted in India and wants to see India that goes on to become the economic super power in the world. When IIK met Mr. S.K.Wadhawan, a well know Indian entrepreneur in Kuwait and one of the top 100 powerful Indians in the Middle East (as per Arabian Business Magazine Survey), we were pleasantly surprised to see a simple dressed man smiling and sharing his views on business, life values and on India. We present here Mr. S.K. Wadhawan in a nutshell.

IIK: Sir, could you share with us some important mile stones in your establishing this huge business empire in Kuwait and in India??

S.K.: First let me tell you that I do not belong to a business family. I am a self-made man. This business was started by me. I was very ambitious to own a business right from a young age. I came to Kuwait in late fifties as a fresher. As a humble beginning, I started out as a salesman in a Spare Parts firm. After gaining extensive knowledge and lot of exposure in the auto industry, I plunged to take a big leap of faith and started my own business. A meager start-up capital and a shop in the year 1964 led to the establishment of Samara Auto Supplies Ltd. Today, SAMARA has grown into a multifold group and is one of the largest parts distributors in Kuwait and the Gulf. An impeccable reputation and prudent business sense has earned SAMARA a name synonymous with trust and quality. Way back in early eighties when Maruti car was launched in India, I started pushing for a dealership of the same but didn’t succeed. However, we didn’t lose hope and determination and waited for a very long time till Hyundai Motors launched their first car in India when Samara was one of the first dealers to be appointed in New Delhi. Under leadership of my younger son Rajnish Wadhawan, Samara Hyundai has grown multifold both in size and volume. Since its inception in 1998, Samara Hyundai has been No. 1 dealer for Hyundai cars throughout India. Samara’s growth story continues by becoming premium brand Honda cars dealer in the year 2008, running under the name AutoMax Honda. In February this year only, Samara has been appointed dealer for prestigious and luxury brand AUDI.

IIK: Automobile Industry has cut throat competition. So how do you manage to stay on top?

S.K.: It is not only automobile industry that has cut throat competition. Every business now days has a severe competition and to survive through such tough markets, dedication, sincerity and creditability are most important factors that keep you sailing smoothly.

IIK: Managing such a huge inventory is a herculean task? How did you manage in the times when computers and softwares were not there in the market?

S.K.: In those old days, when there were no computers everything was being done manually. We used to maintain cardex system to control our inventories. As time went by computers came and now we have all the information at the click of a button but many a times I just start imagining as how things could have been without computers. Advancement in science and technology has brought lot many changes in our life.

IIK: How do you manage your work force so efficiently?

S.K.: You see we have many people who have been working with us for a very long time; some may be for 30 or 40 years. I don’t recall if someone got fired in our company. We work as a team and it is like a family. Here in Kuwait, we don’t have a very big number but in India, we have over 500 people working and all are treated as member of Samara Parivar.

IIK: What are your views on Corporate Social Responsibility?

S.K.: I don’t like to show off or publicize but we are always ready to lend a helping hand and actively participate in all social, cultural and humanitarian activities. My wife Veena gives me full-fledged support and participation in full-filling our social obligations. We are a much contended couple and never forget to thank Almighty God for blessing us such a position that we can do something for good and noble causes. I happen to be the President of an organization called Arsha Vidya Bharti whose founder is Swami Dayananda Sarswati. This organization helps to provide education to under privileged children in remote Indian villages and is also spreading Indian cultural values through the teachings of Vedanta.

IIK: As a Chairman of Indian Business Council in Kuwait, can you brief about IBC's functions?

S.K.: I am the current Chairman of IBC which was established about ten years back under the patronage of The Ambassador of India. IBC is a non-profit voluntary association of Indian businessmen, corporate executives and has now over 100 members. Its aim is to promote business, trade, investments and other forms of cooperation between Kuwait and India. The council has established strong institutional linkage with leading trade bodies in India namely ASSOCHAM, CII, FICCI as well as Kuwait Chamber of Commerce & Industry. IBC has hosted series of events every year including seminars, meetings with eminent speakers, high level trade delegations from India and presentations on Indian Economy. We provide a very vibrant platform for Indian companies interested in setting up business in Kuwait and likewise Kuwaiti businessmen interested in entering to Indian market. We have held meetings with highest level decision makers in India and Kuwait including Ministers, Chief Ministers, Parliamentarians and Industry leaders to propose ideas for promotion of trade and good relations between our two friendly countries. The council has also taken up issues of wider concern to Indian community in Kuwait and has stood up to support the humanitarian causes if and when an emergency arose in India or Kuwait.

IIK: How do you feel to be a part of Indian Community living in Kuwait?

S.K.: I feel proud to belong to this large community. We are the most respected and law abiding expat community in Kuwait. As a part of NRI fraternity, I have found one thing in common that anyone who leaves the country to make a livelihood abroad becomes very hard working realizing very well that survival in a foreign land is not easy. Here, people concentrate on their work to make good and comfortable life for their families living with them or back home in India.

IIK: A thought you wish to share with the readers of IIK

S.K. My advice to the reader’s especially younger generation is to have a focused approach and commitment in whatever it is that they wish to achieve. It is true that nothing can be achieved without the support of some higher power but more important is to have confidence and believe in yourself. With such mind set and rock solid determination one can make his own destiny.

One of the reasons behind Mr. Wadhawan continued success is the combined efforts exerted by the close-knit family which include his wife Mrs. Veena, a homemaker, two sons as well as a daughter Poonam. Young and restless both Avnish and Rajnish serve as right and left arms of Mr. Wadhawan. Avnish is a technocrat from Georgia Tech, U.S.A. helps his father in managing overseas businesses and Rajnish the younger one a graduate from Delhi University manage Indian operations.

Mr. S. Surya Prakash is General Manager of MEMOC Kuwait and also a passionate mentor for both adults and children in art of public speaking. He has conceived and conducted many programs for school children in Kuwait to showcase their public speaking talents on a wider platform. He is NACE (US)/AMPP (US) Certified instructor in his professional field and a TMI (US) certified Competent Communicator in Public Speaking
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Express your comment on this article

Monday, October 24, 2011
I am an Indian too. Is it possible for me to him Mr Wadhawan personally?? Its an inspiring article. I wanna meet him once in my life time.:)

Shyam Padhye
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
All best wishes to him. What ever I know Mr. S.K Wadhwan, proud of his simple living and especially he is not only businessman but most religious and human being to help many of constitutions related with orphan & poor child development.

tinku sharma
Monday, October 3, 2011
its nice that he started from 0. and now he has more zeroes in his bank account

Rajesh Kapur
Saturday, October 1, 2011
I feel proud to share my views about such respectable personality.I know him ,he is a down to earth gentleman. I wish him good luck and best wishes for all his assignments.

Pitty jose
Friday, September 30, 2011

Thank you for the article of Mr. Wadhawan. I am really inspired by this man. He is really a role model for me and all the youngsters who want to start business here in kuwait.

Sahil Pandya
Monday, September 19, 2011
I know him from 2003 when I was working in Samara Auto Parts Co. He is very Gentleman person & heard about him he started from "0".

GOD Bless Him

Rajesh Gandhi
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Mr Wadhawan is the most simple, straight forward and humble businessman I have ever met. He is also the most kind hearted.

A true example of high principles and simple living, inspite of great wealth. The one to follow.

GOD bless him and make more like him.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011
I am very happy to read the interview which highlights the achievement of Mr Kumar and I was fortunate to have been associated with him.His modesty and unassuming personality along with perseverence has taken him to great heights.He is always accessible and have been fullfilling corporate social responsibilities both in Kuwait as well as in India.I wish him,Mrs Veena and family all the very best.

Jyothi Chandran
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Our family knows this gentleman for quite some time, and he is a gem of a person. May the Almighty bless him and family for many more years to come....with prayers

Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I liked this article alot. My dad too has had his own auto parts company (Al-hateem-Al-Awwal) for 15 years now and whenever I think of expanding his business I realise that I don't have much interest in auto parts and I want to start my own business some day. Either a restaurant,a spa or a Gym in canada. This article is inspiring. And hardwork and determination to achieve something is REALLY THE KEY!

Chandrasekhar Acharya
Monday, September 12, 2011
I know Sri SK Wadhavan for many years. and he is not only soft spoken, he is kind, simple and generous too. He also leads some organisations in Kuwait and very helpful to the Indian community in Kuwait .His inclination towards spirutiality, and thhe helping nature to the poor and the deserving adds another feather , apart from being a successful bisinessman. May god bless him always. May people and the comminity beifit from him.

altaf khamker
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Thank you for this article on Mr.S.K.Wadhwan. I am really inspired by this man. He is really a role model for me and all the youngsters who want to start business here in kuwait.

I want to really have my own business in leather items. How do i start my business. I need to have right information. Please Sir can you help me in this. I would be grateful.

netraprasad adhikari
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
really he is down to earth@ an example for us. we all pray with god to give him good health@more succes.

Nithin Kumar
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
I too know Mr. S.K. Wadhawan, as got an opportunity to work with him in my early times in Kuwait and what I experienced was a true Indian with a strong value of life. The man who helps, guides and ever keen to motivate ones life. Mr.Kumar is a man with a Vision and Mission, who is an icon to be followed and a real Gem of India in Kuwait. God bless him with a healthy- prosperous life and be there as evergreen for years & years ahead to shore up many more Indians in Kuwait.

Ravi kumar
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I have got in touch with this Gentle man recently and was astonished to see his down to earth attitude. I have seen people with very less fortune in life acting funny at functions. I wish people learn a lesson or two from him.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I had a personal experience with this gentle man. He is down to earth person.

Sunday, September 4, 2011
He is a real gentle man among the business community in Kuwait. Wish you all the best and thanks to IIK for bringing such personalities to the public.

Vijayan Pillai
Sunday, September 4, 2011
I know this gentleman for some time. He is a gem of Indian community in Kuwait. Nice to hear about him in this column. God bless him.

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