Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has a woman President now – the first one in the history of the 60 year-old organisation. And she is a fiesty 65 year-young entrepreneur, Paru Jaykrishna. Because of the stature of the organisation and the standing of Paru herself in the world of business, it would be terribly inaccurate to call her the Principal woman leader of Gujarat.
And as with all such stories, her story too is an inspiring tale of turning obstacles into opportunities.
Quite like the story itself, the beginning of her present journey was marked by an event that was quite against the tide – the marriage of a girl belonging to a humble Jain family with the scion (Mrugesh Jaykrishna) of a very wealthy Patel business family in 1964. Anyone who understands that social topography of the state would know how improbable was the chance of a Jain marrying a Patel at those times. But those are the kind of things that separate a big story from a mundane one.
Her father-in-law, Jaykrishna Harivallabhdas, was a very well known Industrialist of Gujarat and was mayor of Ahmedabad for eight years. The Jaykrishna family owned the `SHRI AMBICA GROUP’, comprising 5 Textile Mills, Steel Tube Plant, Phthalic manufacturing facility and Chemical auxiliaries.
However, by 1985, most of the textile mills of Ahmedabad – known till then as the Manchester of East – had shut down; along with all the textile mills of the Jaykrishna family. While it was never and would never be an issue of bread for the family, it was enough to stir this lecturer-turned-housewife to turn another leaf in life – that of becoming a businesswoman!
Not a big deal for a person belonging to a business family, right? Wrong. While she did eventually get support from her in-laws about the decision, the key there was the condition of her raising her own funds. And then began the journey, in 1990, of whose pinnacle we have recently seen.
After sending her two sons, Gokul and Munjal, to USA for studying finance and marketing, she hired Gujarat Industrial and Technical Consultants to prepare a business model that would be 100 per cent export-oriented. Later, with a Rs 5-lakh subsidy from the state government, she took a Rs 21-lakh loan from the Gujarat State Finance Corporation and set up her chemical plant.
Today, the Company (Asahi Songwan Colours) is a Rs. 200 Crore entity that has collaborations with firms in Korea, Japan and Germany and that exports its products to 28 countries.
The big thing here is not the numbers. The big thing is about the grit and determination of a woman who always managed to turn obstacles into opportunities and kept on raising the bar for her own self.
Readers would be fascinated to read that the foundation of today’s Motera (Cricket) Stadium in Ahmedabad lies in the blueprint and construction under the guidance of Paru! That was just one of the examples of her proving that an unknown territory (she knew nothing about Cricket and even less about preparing Cricket pitch, which even at the best of times is a tricky and specialised job) need not discourage determination of a mission.
Paru Jaykrishna had become a member of GCCI only in 1999. Today, eight years later, she is the President of the organisation. Need we say more?
As the President, she has set her eyes firmly on turning Gujarat state into a true ‘golden state’ by the time it celebrates its golden jubilee in 2010. Time seems pretty short for that to happen. But with Paru Jaykrishna at helm, one cannot rule out anything.
League magazine wishes the new President and her entire team at GCCI the best of luck.