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6 Indian entrepreneur who started with nothing

We are sharing with you the success stories of 6 Indian entrepreneurs who successfully started with almost nothing. These stories hopefully will inspire you through your start-up journey and will keep you motivated.

Patricia Narayan

source: Yo!Success

Starting from 50 paisa to Rs. 2 lakh per day, from travelling in cycle rickshaw to owning a car, from just 2 people to 200 employees now working for her, Patricia has battled against all the odds and faced all the challenges. Slowly she has flourished and established herself as a successful entrepreneur.

After years of battling an abusive and an addict husband, she decided to work. To support her two children, she started making pickles, jams and squashes. Soon, she set up a handcart at Chennai’s famous Marina Beach and started selling fritters, cutlets, samosas, fresh juice, coffee and tea. On her first day, she could only sell one cup of coffee for fifty paise. That was a start of a rewarding journey.

By the late 80s, she had branched out into running canteens for offices. In 1998, she became director of the Sangeetha Group’s Nelson Manickam Road restaurant. In 2006, Patricia founded Sandheepha, which runs a standalone restaurant and caters to the food courts for various big corporates.

Patricia’s business is dedicated to her daughter Pradheepha Sandra who died in a car crash in 2004, in what she describes as the biggest tragedy of her life. Today, she operates an ambulance service from Acharapakkam, the spot where Pradheepha died.

(Winner of this year’s ‘FICCI Woman Entrepreneur of the Year’ award is amazing. ) She started her career 30 years ago as an entrepreneur, selling eateries from a mobile cart on the Marina beach amidst all odds — battling a failed marriage, coping with her husband, a multiple addict, and taking care of two kids.

Today, she has overcome the hurdles and owns a chain of restaurants.

” I started my business with just two people. Now, there are 200 people working for me in my restaurants. My lifestyle has changed too. From travelling in a cycle rickshaw, I moved to auto rickshaws and now I have my own car. From 50 paise a day, my revenue has gone up to Rs 2 lakh a day.

The ‘Ficci entrepreneur of the year’ award is the culmination of all the hard work I have put in over the last 30 years. It came as a surprise as this is the first time I have received an award.

Till now, I had no time to think of what I was doing. But the award made me look back and relive the days that passed by. Now, my ambition is to build my Sandeepha brand.”

Advice to young entrepreneurs

Do not ever compromise on quality. Never lose your self-confidence. Believe in yourself and the product you are making. Third, always stick to what you know. When you employ people, you should know what you ask them to do.

Dhiru Bhai Ambani


Dhirubhai Ambani was one of the sons of Hirachand Gordhanbhai Ambani, a village school teacher belonging to the Modh Baniya community and Jamnaben Ambani and was born in Chorwad, Junagadh district, Gujarat[2] on 28 December 1932.[3] He did his studies from Bahadur Khanji school. In his youth, he joined the protests against the Nawab of Junagarh and organized many actions against the Nawab's plans to join Pakistan after independence.

In 1948, he left for the Port of Aden, Yemen to work for A. Besse and Co. along with his brother Ramnikbhai. He later came to sell shell and Burmah oil products for the company. There is a famous story about how he once made a lot of money by melting the silver bullion and selling it as pure silver because he knew that the value of pure silver was much higher than the bullion thus was a precursor to his financial wizardry and acumen.

His friends described him as someone who was affable yet ambitious, cheerful yet had a 'dark side' because of his extreme ambition and risk taking. In Aden, his first son, Mukesh was born to him in 19 April 1957. Another son, Anil, was born two years later in 1959.

He left Aden in 1958 to try his hand at his own business in India in the textiles market.[4]

India’s largest private sector company. Created an equity cult in the Indian capital market. Reliance is the first Indian company to feature in Forbes 500 list.

Dhirubhai Ambani was the most enterprising Indian entrepreneur. His life journey is reminiscent of the rags to riches story. He is remembered as the one who rewrote Indian corporate history and built a truly global corporate group.

Dhirubhai Ambani alias Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani was born on December 28, 1932, at Chorwad, Gujarat, into a Modh family. His father was a school teacher. Dhirubhai Ambani started his entrepreneurial career by selling “bhajias” to pilgrims in Mount Girnar over the weekends.

After doing his matriculation at the age of 16, Dhirubhai moved to Aden, Yemen. He worked there as a gas-station attendant, and as a clerk in an oil company. He returned to India in 1958 with Rs 50,000 and set up a textile trading company.

In 1992, Reliance became the first Indian company to raise money in global markets, its high credit-taking in international markets limited only by India’s sovereign rating. Reliance also became the first Indian company to feature in Forbes 500 list.

Dhirubhai Ambani was named the Indian Entrepreneur of the 20th Century by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). A poll conducted by The Times of India in 2000 voted him “greatest creator of wealth in the century”.

Dhirubhai Ambani died on July 6, 2002, at Mumbai.

Must Watch Guru Movie to know more about Dhirubhai Ambani – Tycoon of India From Rags to Riches.

Karsanbhai Patel

source: Nirma University

Karsanbhai Khodidas Patel (born 1945, Ruppur, Mehsana, Gujarat) is an Indian billionaire businessman, industrialist and founder of the Rs. 52,500 crore Nirma group a company with major business interests in cements, detergents, soaps and cosmetics. As of 2021 Forbes has listed his net worth at US$ 3.9 billion.[2] He has interests in education, and founded leading pharmacy college (Nirma Institute of Pharmacy)and a leading engineering college/ university .

The ‘Nirma’ success story of how an Indian Entrepreneur took on the big MNCs and rewrote the rules of business :

It was in 1969 that Dr. Karsanbhai Patel started Nirma and went on to create a whole new segment in the Indian domestic detergent market. During that time the domestic detergent market only had the premium segment and there were very few companies , mainly the MNCs, which were into this business.

Karsanbhai Patel used to make detergent powder in the backyard of his house in Ahmedabad and then carry out door to door selling of his hand made product. He gave a money back guarantee with every pack that was sold. Karsanbhai Patel managed to offer his detergent powder for Rs. 3 per kg when the cheapest detergent at that time was Rs.13 per kg and so he was able to successfully target the middle and lower middle income segment.

Sabki Pasand Nirma!