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17 Indian Muslim Entrepreneurs whose stories will amuse you – Part 2

6. Habil Khorakiwala

Wockhardt group is the first true healthcare group from India, and Dr. Habil Khorakiwala has been the captain of this ship. He steers it and has built it sturdy. Dr. Khorakiwala majored in Pharmacy from the L M College in Ahmedabad and later acquired a Masters Degree in Pharmaceutical Science from Purdue University, USA. He was the only international non-American to have been given the title of ‘Distinguished Aluminous’ by the Purdue University. Thereafter he studied in an Advanced Management Programme at the Harvard Business School in Boston, USA.

He returned to India and took over what was a small firm that made OTC (Over-The-Counter) medications. It has now blossomed into a giant MNC, making him a pharma tycoon in its true sense. As of today, Wockhardt is a USD 841 million (and counting) pharmaceutical company. The firm engages in an endless list of CSR activities and has a workforce of 7500 people from 14 nations. The Government of India has nominated Dr. Habil Khorakiwala for various committees and councils. He is quite the family man, and an avid reader and philanthropist.

7. Irfan Alam

Irfan Alam was fond of comics as a child and is now an entrepreneurial superhero for over five million rickshaw operators. As a twelve-year-old, Irfan studied the stock market and helped his father make investment decisions. By the age of fifteen, he launched Matins, a portfolio management firm that managed over Indian INR 60 lakhs (nearly USD 14,000). As an older man, the Harvard graduate identified an opportunity that would ease out the life for rickshaw operators as well as their clients and carried extensive research for the same at IIM Ahmedabad. In 2006, he participated in a competition announced by a television channel for entrepreneurs to showcase their business ideas. He won the contest and was titled “Business Bazigaar”.

Irfan declined to accept the investment, in a very hero-like move, over the investors’ demands of the firm being for-profit and their demand to hold a majority of stakes in it. He structured a model that ensured that he and the community (with the community owning a majority) will together hold at least 51 percent of the stakes in Samman, which organized the most scattered income generating sector in India – the rickshaw operators. It doesn’t stop there. The rickshaws that are part of Samman are also a selling point for various products and services. The rickshaw operators and their families have been made “full economic citizens” by Irfan’s efforts to build channels for essential services such as banking, individual access to credit, and health for them. He was invited for Presidential Summit, 2010 at Washington by the US President Barack Obama. He has won himself various titles and awards. All he needs now is a cape!

8. Irfan Razack

Bread, clothing, and shelter are our basic needs. The Razack Sattar family deals in the latter two. Irfan Razack is Mr. Sattar’s eldest son. He studied commerce and graduated from St. Joseph’s College (Bangalore University) and was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by St. Joseph’s Old Boys Association. Later on, he completed a course in Jordan by the United Nations University International’s Leadership Academy (UNU/ILA).

Irfan established Prestige in 1986, which is now a public company, with over 90 million square feet of commercial, retail, and residential properties gracing its profile so far. His love for extreme adventure is reflected in the goals he sets for Prestige and the velocity at which the company is expanding. He guided it for INR 4300 crore, which amounts to about 8 million square feet for the financial year 2014. Mr. Sattar has received many awards, including Real Estate Excellence Award (2008) and the Best Developer Award (2009) by Karnataka State Town Planning Development. He has also held important posts like Honorary secretary of Al-Ameen Educational Society, President of Bangalore Commercial Association (BCA) and Chairman of CREDAI.

9. Javed Akhtar

The obvious direct relationship between employee productivity and employee satisfaction demands that corporates give as much attention to their internal audience as they do to their external audience. Javed Akhtar, a graduate from St. Georges College, Heena J. A., and Bhavin Parekh witnessed the plight of these corporates and identified the tremendous opportunity that comes with it. They fit together all the elements of loyalty and promotions programs, and Travelport was born.

They started off in a small office at Dharavi in 2002. 12 years on, they have expanded and ventured into the rewards and recognition programs as well. Rewardport, as they call it, serves over 250 clients with a team of 150 professionals, with a turnover of over INR 100 crore. This taste of success seems to have made Javed crave for more! Already having covered a strong market share in both corporate travel plans and corporate reward plans, he’s now tapping the potential in the travel market for non-corporate individuals. Javed has also come up with the idea of opening travel offices in malls, adding convenience to quality.

10. Jawed Habib

Jawed’s grandfather, Nazir Ahmed, cut the hair of almost all the heavyweights among Indian and British politicians of the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru and Lord Mountbatten. Jawed, a graduate in French Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, is undoubtedly romantic- but for hairdressing. He completed a nine-month hairdressing course at Morris International School in London post graduation. Soon after, he was hired by Sunsilk and he gave the firm a good nine years of service before returning to India.

Here in India, Jawed started units in remote places and trained a handful of students at a time. The trained students were then encouraged to go back to their hometown and gather a group of five people for his lecture. Then he’d start a salon with them! This soon formed a chain. Today, JHHBL has 207 saloons and 41 academies across India, and one in Malaysia. He now intends to diversify and offer to his clients all that is related to haircare and beauty. Shampoos, serums, makeup cosmetics, hair clips, razors, spas, (saloon) chairs, cups, electronic hair appliances – you name it and it’s on his mind already.


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