Alum Ventures: Pushpak Products India- Pushpak Prakash, MPEFB 2008

Mr. Prakash’s entreprenurial journey is none short of the phrase ‘Rags to Riches’. He started with nothing, with little means but only the determination to excel and make Pushpak, a success. After sustaining the ups and downs of the market and being on the constant learning spree, Mr. Prakash has brought his company to great heights. From expanding his business from one vertical to seven and from a team of one to hundred, his journey is truly inspiring.

Journey of Pushpak

Riding the Journey from Impossible to Possible on a “Pushpak”

Pushpak Prakash may or may not have heard of Ripley’s Believe it or Not, but here’s a rather similar thing that describes him best: The Impossible is Possible.

Imagine you are virtually penniless. You know no one in Bangalore. You have no contacts worth mentioning. You don’t know anyone you can bank on. You don’t even have a concrete idea of what to do. And you have absolutely no idea of the Business and market also not from business community.

And with this kind of CV, you will dare to start your own business?

This, in short, is how Pushpak Prakash started his “impossible” journey as an entrepreneur, and made it possible – to win a national award, not one, but four times!

Prakash’s growing up years and childhood was like walking on nails, a daily struggle for survival. “Some times My parents could only buy one kg of rice, at a time and we would survive on that for as long as possible,” he recalls, with a smile that is more evocative and revealing than anything else.

It was a year 1990 after completing his diploma in mechanical engineering, joined apprentice training at HAL course that Prakash decided to start his own business, without knowing anything or anyone, as mentioned above. There was some help – his managers at HAL where he had joined as an apprentice encouraged him and later predicted that “you would become a big man one day” seeing the way he worked so hard at the factory from morning till late night with out any additional money and one of the officer wife gave him five hundred rupees to open a bank account! One of his relative helped for first few machines to start , few officers helped to get the first order , uncle gave the shelter to stay in his house (grandfathers house) later some one gave the factory premises on rent (450 sqft) with out initial advance and many more support from peers , still all are with the same relationship with prakash.

His first “registered office” was at his grandfather’s house, where Prakash nailed in a nameplate on the front door! His first “client” was HAL, his first employer, for whom he did some welding and some small components, and employed all of one person – to pay whose salary Prakash worked in three shifts – that is virtually round the clock, catching his twelve winks in between commute time or so. He was then forced to stop working like a machine – when he collapsed due to sheer exhaustion one day and had about to be taken to the nearby hospital

Slowly, night turned to day, and day to night, days added up to weeks, months and years, and as time went by, Pushpak Prakash’sdedication, hard work, and commitment to work from 1992 onwards combined to make his company manufacture multiple products for diverse industries.

But obviously, it was certainly a journey riddled with challenges and whatnot.

Prakash still remembers the day when an official at a company where he had gone for sourcing an order, questioned “how can one give such an order to people who provide the manpower for supply coffee/tea”. “I took it as a challenge rather than as a humiliation and promised them I will deliver them the quality they seek, and if not, they need not even pay me. Today, they are among my foremost clients,” he recalls, adding that the lesson he has learnt and which he imbibes in his company is “100% satisfaction of the customer”. In fact, a furniture product he had supplied to one of his clients BEL is as good as it can be, even 18 + years after its use, he noted, during one of his visits to the company.

Today, Pushpak Products India (P) Ltd, designs, manufactures and delivers high-end precision products and services for the Aerospace, Defence, Automobile, Industries and Institutions. Pushpak Products has partnered with ISRO for some of its most successful ambitious Aerospace nation building projects such mars and moon mission as GSAT-15, 16, 17 and Project PSLV-C37 that successfully launched 104 satellites in a single flight. The company has also partnered with HAL for some of its landmark projects such as LCA, GTRE GTX-35VS Kaveri Engines and more. Pushpak, has also collaborated with BEL, DRDO and the Indian Defence forces for many landmark nation building projects

In addition to Aerospace, the company is also one of the preferred engineering products company for top automobile and engineering brands and has partnered for more than 2 decades with Toyota and ancillaries, Honda, L&T, Scania, Volvo, BHEL, BEL, Bosch, among many others. Today, Pushpak is the authorised supplier for some of the world’s leading companies, and its products have become synonymous to quality and durability.

But in Prakash’s world-view, “This is only 2% of what I can achieve”, he says, emphasizing that for him, real achievement is not about how much money you have made at the end of the day, but how you can bring about a change in society.

Even more astonishingly, Prakash does not think he’s still settled yet. “A small enterprise in the MSME sector can never honestly say it has settled down,” he says. “Every day is different and comes with a different challenge. There is no time to sit back and relax, and say, now my company has settled down.”

Apart from having won four national awards from GOI and many more from other organizations like CII, KASSIA, etc for his company, Pushpak Prakash also has the distinction of being the Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic in Bengaluru, Member of Coir Board , Govt of india Ministry of MSME and therein lies a delightful little anecdote.

5 years ago, Prakash had taken a stall in an exhibition organized by the EEPC & NSIC in the Czech Republic, and one late evening when almost everyone had left the fair for sightseeing, he was all alone in his stall when he saw two Czech delegates walking beside his stall and beseeched them to visit his stall. At first they didn’t heed his pleas, but on second thoughts, they returned to visit his stall and thus began a conversation leading to a relationship where the Czech company is today doing business with Pushpak. Later, Prakash organized a kind of an Business Delegation two times from the Czech Republic in Bangalore , which got him tremendous goodwill from that country, which is how he was chosen to be the Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic in Bengaluru. Also started Czech business incubator to support indian and Czech MSME at his office.

PUSHPAK is proud to be a part of this nation-building project (Make In India ) along with many other nation-building projects. We would like to intimate this as one of the highest satisfaction in our lifetime achievement for our organization to support the nation-building project to save our “Gomatha”. We are also proud to mention and share the moments from our honourable Prime Minister recognising this initiative during Govardhan pooja.

In 2007 Prakash enrolled with the prestigious Indian Institute of Management Bangalore for a year-long course (Management Programme for Entrepreneurs and Family). The course gave him a 360 degrees view of the business and market possibilities. The sessions were engaging and always had something new to offer. The course helped him raise his then turnover from 10 Cr to 40 Cr today. He is still in touch with all his coursemates and enjoys meeting them from time to time.

His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to never allow success to go to your head, and to be grounded and humble at all times, and never forget the past. Like him – he has still retained his old TVS moped, and scooter, with which he began his journey.

The question returns: How in God’s name did he succeed, when he had nothing, and no one, with him? “I have no idea,” he replies honestly, “but I know how.” He points at the Ganesha idol in his cabin, and says, “It’s just divine intervention.” He pauses, and adds softly, “And of course, my parents’ and peers blessings. I believe one should live with their parents and take care of them – even if one can only provide them ganji. Their blessings work magic.”

Yes, he knows about magic. That is, making the impossible, possible.