Lawyer Laxmi Kunkolienkar always wanted to follow her passion for food. She sensed an opportunity in the food market in Goa, and went on to successfully set up her own food company
How and why did you opt to start a business in Goa?
We were impressed with the concept of Cafe Nescafé in New Delhi and other metros and approached them for the same here in Goa. Today, we have three such Cafe Nescafé Corners. Subsequently, we got into vending and supply of Nescafé coffee and tea machines and premixes to corporate houses under our firm M/s Vinayak V S Kunkolienkar where my mother is the proprietor and I am the managing director. With the growth in food and hospitality sector in Goa, Nestle thought of appointing Kamaxi Foods as the authorised food service provider of Nestle Professionals, catering to shacks, caterers, hotels and the hospitality sector. We are the only food service provider in Goa and are completely different from trade distributors who mainly serve the market. Apart from Nestle Professionals, Kamaxi Foods is the marketing agency for Kuk’s Suvidha – Whole Wheat Atta Chapattis, a product of M/S Laxmi Enterprises which is a food unit run by my brother Rohan who is a qualified Food Technologist.
Your toughest task in setting up and running the business?
With the family background in business and continuous support from my family, it was quite a cakewalk with a few hiccups here and there.
Have you achieved all your goals? If not what remains to be done?
I wouldn’t say that I have achieved my goals as with the New Year just setting in I have a new set of goals to fulfill. ‘Annapoorna’ is my biggest goal for 2015 and I shall speak about it once it is accomplished. My dream is to see Goa develop as a food hub for all cuisines with availability of all food ingredients. I wish that our government takes the initiative of setting a food park here in Goa where various food companies and local industry is allowed to set up food manufacturing and processing units. This will definitely help our state and abide by the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make in Goa’ slogan.
Future prospects in your line of activities.
I clearly visualise a bright future for the food industry. I am sure I shall be able to contribute to the growth of this industry.
Your best business moment.
It is coming soon. Launch of Annapoorna – that’s all on my mind now.
Do you think it is harder for women to succeed in business vis-a-vis men?
Discrimination does exist yet a large number of women are successful and have crossed barriers in areas that were earlier regarded as ‘men’s domain’. I personally don’t think it is difficult for a woman to succeed if she is focused, committed and responsible. She must also be dedicated to her work.
State one aspect of Goa which has changed for better or worse?
Goans are definitely the best hosts. But the most annoying thing is we have allowed outsiders to capture our market. The traditional Goan sellers have disappeared from the market. All Goan cooks are replaced by non-Goans who are trying to play with our cuisine by giving it a different twist. I feel that is the main reason why our cuisine takes a back seat. Would you ever spot a Goan cooking in authentic Thai Restaurant? No! They never allow one, whereas we are all the more happy to allow them to take charge of our kitchens. It is time that we change the trend now.
What changes would you like to see in the business environment?
It would be highly appreciated if we get more professional in our business dealings and not let personal relationships and influences come in the way. Business ethics also needs to improve and this theory of taking for granted in business should be dropped.
If not in business what would you have chosen as a profession? Why?
My education background is of a lawyer but I got into the food business because of my love for it. If not in business I have a profession to fall back on.