Hunger teaches us the value of food. Poverty teaches us the value of money. Being deprived of basic needs in childhood has made many go-getters of today successful personalities of the society. Many of us get inspired by movies, but the intensity of such inspirations is always short lived. But meet Raja Nayak who eloped from his poverty-ridden family when he was 16 years old got inspired by Amitabh Bachchan’s 1978 movie ‘Trishul’, where his onscreen hero succeeds in becoming a real estate baron by starting with a single penny in his pocket to start a venture of his own and get identified as big real estate icon. His ability to take calculative risks has made him a business tycoon of 60cr worth with dexterity in handling logistics, water packaging, beauty & health care, Food Products and Educational Institutes. He has identified himself in society by holding key positions in social organizations like DICCI- Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries. His story is a mimic of the on-screen magic of rag-to-riches witnessed in Indian movies.
Childhood & Poverty – A Learning Curve
Born in a poor Dalit migrated family from a village of Karnataka, Raja Nayak and his four siblings were deprived of minimum needs of childhood as his father was an aloof person who never bothered to take care of the needs of his offspring. His mother who was a housewife fought throughout her life to fund her children’s school needs by pawning whatever jewellery she had at her disposal. At the age of 16, he dropped out from school and was wandering with his Punjabi friend Deepak in the streets of the city of Bengaluru without having any focus on what is his life’s purpose. Both of them were like birds of the same feather as they had flunked in X exams and were confused about future.
It was during this period one of the well-wishers of Deepak’s family advised them to do some constructive work and build a better future. Both managed to accumulate 10000 rupees (Rs. 5000 each) and escapade to a place called Tirupur, in Tamil Nadu renowned for textiles with an idea of doing a garments business. They managed to purchase Export Rejected shirts and trousers from Tirupur and brought it to Bengaluru to sell it off by footpath stalls.
The Footpath based maiden garment business
The export rejected surplus shirts bought for Rs. 50 each from Tirupur in Tamil Nadu proved to be a lucrative one for the duo. They set up a footpath stall near Bosch office of Bengaluru, and all these shirts got sold like hot cakes at a price of Rs. 100 each. During the lunch break of Bosch, its employees thronged to purchase these goods. Raja Nayak and his friend for the first time in life managed to make Rs. 5000 profit, and both of them developed this business aptly by adding new goods to their inventory. From footpath, they grew the business to be operated on a cart and later on started selling the garments in Textile exhibitions by hiring sales boys. They even started selling Kholapuri sandals/footwear by bringing them from wholesales dealers in Kholapur and sell them on posh streets of M.G Road and Brigade Road of Bengaluru in three years they had a well-equipped business in place. But the risk-taking ability of this duo prompted them to take up other ventures too. They both even started a Punjabi Food Outlet called ‘Tawa’ in prestigious Kormangala locality of Bengaluru and operated it successfully by serving authentic Punjabi Roti and Curry. This food restaurant ran successfully for three years, and they decided to sell it off to one of Deepak’s relative.
Emergence of Multi-Tasking Spree
It was during 1991, India opened up to the liberalization of the economy and same year Raja Nayak’s friend Deepak left Bengaluru, so Raja Nayak started operating his business with another friend and started a new venture called Akshay Enterprises that was into manufacturing Corrugated Boxes. With his business acumen, he even joined a logistics organization called MCS logistics International Pvt. Ltd and has become Director of the same. Today these two businesses earn him a significant chunk of revenue.
Venture into Educational Sector
Raja Nayak, frankly admits that his caste has not come in his way of becoming a successful entrepreneur. But he privately admits many people have cheated him in his journey of building his business set up. He also recalls that his sister was denied admission to a school and this motivated him to start up his own school. The school named as K J High School was started in the year 1976 in the form of a Nursery of underprivileged children and has today grown up into nursing and B. Ed school with 600 student strength.
Better-Half & her Inspiration for new ventures
Raja Nayak married a girl by Anita, who was employed in his school and it was a love-marriage. His wife’s enthusiasm in helping him to look after the business prompted him to start a Unisex Salon & Spa chain called Purple Haze and she is successfully operating the same from three prime localities Kormangala, J P Nagar and Madiwala. Clearly, this venture reflects the way Raja Nayak respects his near, and dear one’s viewpoints. Also, his two sons are sharing the burden of looking after his multiple business houses, which has eased out his tension, and thus he concentrates on starting up new ventures.
Jala Beverages Born out of Social Discrimination imposed on Dalit community
Raja Nayak happened to read news about discrimination rendered upon Dalits in Bagalkot district of North Karnataka, where many Dalits on the grounds of caste were deprived of drinking water. After reading the news, he went to the place to witness the scenes of low caste people being denied water mugs and were made to drink water poured onto their hands. This incidence shook Raja Nayak to the core and he started a Water Packaging Plant called Jala Beverages with a social message behind its inception.
Creating Awareness to be Job Creators
Majority of educated lower caste youth try to get into some sort of govt. Jobs by using reservation. Raja Nayak who is also President of DICCI- Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries, is trying his level best create a mindset among Dalit youths to become entrepreneurs and not look out just for some govt jobs. He even emphasized the fact that he has never utilized so-called Reservation policy of Govt. in his path of setting up the business.
His Latest venture is called Nutri Planet, started with three other directors and partners. This venture is a dream project of Raja Nayak and as a part of which he is constantly working with CFTRI-Central Food Technological Research Institute to manufacture products like energy bars and oil made out of Chia rice.
Dream to be in 100 Cr. Club
Raja Nayak, who has built an empire of 60 Cr businesses, is aiming to be in the elite class of 100 Cr. Businessmen of Nation. Kalam Fan Club wishes this entrepreneur success in the future endeavors. India today definitely needs such personalities in big numbers who can be the role models for millions of youth who are deprived of suitable employment even after getting educated.