Mayur Arsekar from Ponda has been manufacturing all sizes of school and college notebooks under the name ‘Goenkar’ in a bid to promote Goan culture and identity. NT KURIOCITY finds out more
RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT KURIOCITY
Having always been interested in the paper business, and seeing it as a creative sector with a huge scope for innovation, Ponda-based Mayur Arsekar started manufacturing school and college notebooks in March 2018 along the lines of other popular brands.
“In the past, there were several notebook brands in the Indian market. Most of them no longer exist today. Only brands which have been constantly evolving and improving have survived and are now household names,” he says.
Arsekar runs a business under the title Shet Arsekar Enterprises, based in Mapusa and Ponda. The business revolves around wholesale stationery trading as well as manufacture of notebooks. While their wholesale paper, stationery items and gift trading division is called ‘The paper Cat’, their notebook-manufacturing division is called ‘Goenkar – the quality notebook’.
In fact the front and back covers of these books bear images depicting Goan culture, tradition, history, etc. In addition to that, the inside of the back cover contains information, puzzles and general knowledge about the state. Arsekar adds: “The prime objective is to educate the children and youth about Goa and its rich heritage.”
He further explains that the book covers are printed outside Goa. “Due to the cost effectiveness at the moment only binding, stapling, creasing and pressing is done here. We import quality paper for our books, and the manufacturing process is partly done at our unit in Tisca-Usgao. Our full-fledged manufacturing unit in Goa is expected to be operational soon,” says Arsekar adding that in general, they have adopted an eco-friendly manufacturing process.
They also undertake customised printing of notebooks, as per the requirements of their clientele. For example, printing pictures of the client (ie school, college, corporate etc) on the covers of the books etc.
“What sets our brand apart from the rest is the wealth of local information and Goan images on the covers, which are instantly eye-catching. And even though our brand is new in the market, we received a very good response from students in Goa,” he says.
What’s noteworthy is that Arsekar started his business from scratch, with no prior background or financial support. He however made a careful study of his business idea, did his homework through research and surveys, spotted the opportunity, prepared his business plan, and executed it – the key to the success of any business. During the early days of his business his family and friends supported him immensely. “My mentor Manish Gosalia and friend Syno Fernandes believed in my idea and gave me my first orders. And Vishwesh Naik supported me financially, making it possible to go ahead with my business dreams,” says Arsekar.
Arsekar also attended a program on entrepreneurship, organised by I Create India, a not-for-profit organisation, which helped him with the systematic planning and execution of his business plan. Later, he decided to associate with I Create India, as part of their Goa branch, to take this program forward and inspire Goan youth, housewives, the unemployed etc to get into entrepreneurship, and also provide complete guidance to start a business. I Create India has so far, created around 30 entrepreneurs in Goa.
But given that digitisation is slowly taking over every area, won’t notebooks redundant soon? Arsekar disagrees. “I don’t see them becoming redundant anytime soon. However, keeping that in mind, we have been working towards diversifying our business activities into recycled paper products, corporate and return gifting solutions, unique stationery products and more. We also plan to make our products available online in the near future.”
Arsekar believes that there is immense scope for Goans to get into self-employment, especially, given proper guidance and planning. Giving his advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, he says: “Small and micro businesses in the manufacturing, trading and service sector can be set up, too. I am more than willing to support Goan youth who are keen on starting their own ventures. Furthermore, the State and Central government offers several attractive financial schemes, for budding entrepreneurs, provided they have a proper business plan to back their ideas.”
He strongly feels that entrepreneurship is the only way to create opportunities and help Goans move towards prosperity. “There are plenty of opportunities out there for Goans to tap into, considering that the consumption of a variety of goods and services is on the rise. Individuals with determination, discipline, and vision, would make excellent entrepreneurs. So, if you have the enthusiasm, we can definitely guide you on the path to entrepreneurship,” says Arsekar.