Rahul Sahai - Acing the entrepreneurial game in J&K with ethics and motivation
Nov 05, 2020
Rahul Sahai, a seasoned businessman with incredible motivation, delegation skills and empathy for people is taking the legacy forward after the demise of his father Late Shri Ram Sahai, a known philanthropist and visionary with exemplary business acumen. Confronted with challenges every day, Rahul Sahai's journey as an entrepreneur has been a source of great fulfilment and happiness for him.
Read excerpts from his interview with Jammu Links News
1) Would you tell us about the Sahai Group of Companies? What are your aspirations and goals for the organisation?
Sahai Group of Companies was started by my father, Shri Ram Sahai in 1969 from a small retail unit which later expanded to different businesses like Republic Motor Stores, Reliable Plastics Pvt Ltd, S.M Plastics and Sushant Spares. I wish for our businesses to grow every year with everyone's hard work and blessings.
2) Would you share with us the contributions made by Ram Sahai in the business sphere in J&K? And the intent behind starting Ram Sahai Memorial lectures?
Shri Ram Sahai was a renowned businessman with great leadership skills and strong connection with the public. He was the founding member and Chairman of Citizen Cooperative Bank, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jammu and Vice-President, J&K Institute of Public Opinion.
He accomplished many goals and achieved great heights while serving as the Chamber President by acting as a bridge between the government and businessmen.
He was widely celebrated by the public, industrialists, bureaucrats, and ministers in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
After the demise of Shri Ram Sahai in 2009, Indian Institute of Public Administration, J&K Regional Branch (IIPA JKRB) committee unanimously decided to institutionalise Shri Ram Sahai Memorial lectures following which I pledged to offer them full support for any such future events. The lectures are basically meant to recall the services of my father rendered to the business community and to continue working towards the welfare of the Union Territory.
Besides, my father was greatly involvement in the allotment of land for IIPA Jammu centre hence the executive committee still has high regards for him. Also, he was the only businessman ever appointed as the Vice-Chairman of IIPA JKRB.
3) When did you join Sahai Group and how Sahai shaped your entrepreneurial journey?
My journey with Sahai Group started in 2002 after my graduation. But I was not assigned the management position directly, so my father made me work in different sectors of the company for almost 2 years to acquire practical knowledge and first-hand experience. So, you can say I joined the wholesale division of our company after 2-year probation and later expanded business in Himachal and Pathankot.
My father was a mentor to me who inspired me to work hard but ethically. The key lesson I learnt from him was to never quit learning in life and always giving back to the society.
4) What are your thoughts about the resilience of the MSME sector in strife-torn J&K?
Frankly, it has never been easy to run a business in J&K because transportation cost involved with procurement of raw material & deliverance of finished products is huge thus our industries always need incentives from the government to run smoothly. Time and again, we have asked government to open mother industries in J&K which will bring allied industries and thus help in business expansion. Several initiatives were taken to improve MSME sector, so we wish for the same support in the future too.
5) You have recently been appointed as the Chairman of Jammu Chapter of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry which was founded by your father. Also, you have served as Chairman CII - J&K and currently serving as an executive member in various associations like J&K Institute of Public Opinion, Tax Payers Association, J&K Chamber of Industries & Commerce Co-operative Ltd, Association of Small- Scale Industries Jammu. How do you manage different roles in all these associations?
I feel fortunate to take his legacy forward. It is a proud moment for me to join as Chairman Jammu Chapter of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry. My main thrust would be to liaison with the government on different matters like funding issues, academics, skill development etc. Like we recently got Intellectual Property Facilitation Centre at Jammu.
I feel blessed to have gained the trust of people around me so managing roles in different associations becomes a cake walk.
6) Can you share some initiatives taken by the company under CSR?
As we deal mostly with spare part business and mechanics are an integral part of our companies, so we have made sure to enrol them in various government schemes and help them in difficult times under Corporate Social Responsibility activities. Time and again, programmes are organised to aware them about sanitation, health issues etc. Several NGOs were also roped in over the years to assist the deprived section of the society.
Also, my father has taught me to work for the welfare of J&K beyond my own self interests so I am deeply committed to corporate social responsibilities.
7) Any piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs and job seekers from J&K?
I would advise budding entrepreneurs from J&K to think through before starting any business and after that, keep patience and consistently put in hard work into it. Stay strong and you will surely succeed.
For job seekers, I would like to emphasise on the fact that several skilled jobs are available in the industrial sector but unfortunatley, local workforce need upskilling to meet the industry standards. As skilled workers form an essential component of industrial productivity so we need to devise ways to train our local youth to make them employable.