Basmati rice consumption in Goa is growing at brisk pace and wholesalers like Balashree Foods are major beneficiaries of the trend. The company is Delhi based while the Goa office is started by Pranav Aggarwal. Demand for Basmati rice is strong and the state consumes about 300 tons of it per month, says Aggarwal.
Q: Why did you opt to start a business in Goa? .
We started business in Goa for many reasons. In November 2005 I came to Goa as a tourist and liked it so much that I wanted to live here forever. It is one of India’s most beautiful places to live. But you can’t survive anywhere without earning so we started business here. We opened the office in December 2005. We realized that there was a huge opportunity to grow due to the presence of restaurants, hotels and tourists. Goans are very friendly and honest in business. All in all it was a combination of reasons that made us start business here.
Q: Your toughest task in setting up the business?
Starting business from ground level is always a tough task and this was new place to us. Nobody was interested in doing business. We had to establish our brand name and build trust among people. Creating awareness of our brand with end users was difficult and it took us about two years to overcome the difficulties and stabilize. However even the early hurdles did not feel like it was impossible because of the positive response from each and everyone.
Q: Have you achieved all your goals? If not what remains to be done?
We never set long term goals, we always set yearly goals and when it is achieved we set new goals. Because we believe if you achieve you must set new goals immediately. We are currently working on setting up wholesale and distribution network. The Goa office is a supply unit and I want to strengthen the distribution network. It is our current goal.
Q: Your best business moment.
Every business has ups and down. I like the good as well as not so good moments because every incident make you learn a lot. There are no bad moments as such and we even got through the recent demonetization safely. Sale was down slightly but we crossed that period. When we came in 2005 there was only one-two companies supplying Basmati rice while today there are 20-30 companies. The underlying demand for Basmati rice remains strong. Even locals have started consuming more of it.
Q: How did you settle down and merge into the Goan lifestyle?
It is good everyone understands Hindi and English here so we didn’t face too much of language problem. Goan culture is very nice. Now we have almost become Goans. My kids speak perfect Konkani. They are born here and go to local schools.
Q: Customs or festivals that appeal to you.
All are appealing. The manner of celebration here is good, especially festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi and Shigmotsav.
Q: State one aspect of Goa which has changed for better or worse?
Change for the better is the government focus of developing infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Infrastructure plays a vital role for creating opportunities in the economy and it is good that the government is planning infrastructure projects well.
Q: Do you think Goa has the right environment to attract investment from outside industry?
Yes of course. Availability of land and power are not issues here. The weather is also good throughout the year. The state has good governess and zero corruption. But I think a single window clearance for investors will lead to better business opportunities. .
Q: What changes would you like to see in the business as well as social environment?
Socially this is a wonderful place compared to other states of India. Also the crime rate is less. For business I can only think of single window clearance as a game changer to attract investments.
Q: What would be your advise to youngsters wanting to become entrepreneurs?
It is always a pleasure to give someone employment rather than asking employment for yourself. So always try to be a entrepreneur. You are always your own boss, opportunities are too high to grow and mostly you have every chance to give the best and prove yourself.
Q: If not a businessman, what would you have chosen as a profession? Why?
I can’t think of any profession as business was always my passion since childhood. I never tried to apply for any government job in my life. In my mind it was decided that I will do business only.
Q: Your definition of susegado.
From my point of view doing business in Goa or having job here is like you are enjoying your holiday and getting paid for it. According to me, that is susegado.