Motivational Story of Karsanbhai Patel – Chairman of Nirma group
Karsanbhai Patel is an Indian industrialist and a founder of the Nirma group with major interests in detergent powder, soaps and cosmetics, and Nirma University. He is sometimes referred to as K.K. Patel. Karsanbhai Patel was born in 1945 into a farmer family from Ruppur village, Mehsana, Gujarat.
Karsanbhai obtained his Bachelor of Science degree – B.Sc. in Chemistry at age 21. First, he joined New Cotton Mills, Ahmedabad worked as a lab technician. New Cotton Mills was owned by the Lalbhai group founded by Kasturbhai Lalbhai, co-founder of the Arvind Mills.
Then Karsanbhai Patel joined the Geology and Mining Department of the State Government of Gujarat in 1969. He has sound knowledge of chemicals.
Karsanbhai Patel started out mixing detergents, manufactured and packaged in the 10x12ft room of his house and selling handmade detergent powder door-to-door on his bicycle while going to his workplace, which was 17km from his home.
At that time detergent powder and cake market was limited only to the premium segment and was dominated by Multinational corporations (MNC) like Procter & Gamble, Hindustan Lever.
He was selling his detergent at one third the price of leading detergents, Rs 3 per kg. The low price and high quality of the detergent made for a great value. His low-price brand sparked a detergent war with bigger rivals such as Procter & Gamble, Surf by Hindustan Lever, and other brands.
Patel was able to target the lower-middle-income segment. It was an instant success. After three years, Karsanbhai established a shop at Ahmedabad. Patel branded his detergent powder and detergent soap, Nirma, after the name of his daughter. He lost his loving daughter Nirupama in a car accident. The Nirma brand quickly established itself in states like Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Fuelled by housewife-friendly advertisement jingles, ‘Washing Powder Nirma, Doodh Se Safedi Nirma Se Aayi, Sabki Pasand Nirma‘, a phrase that goes beyond lip service, made a deep impact in the mindset of women.
Nirma revolutionized the detergent market, creating an entirely new segment for phosphate-free and environment-friendly detergent powder.
Within a decade, Nirma was the largest selling detergent powder and detergent cake in India. Today Nirma has an overall 35% of detergents and 20% market share in soap cakes and Nirma Group is one of the largest manufacturers of soda ash in the world. Forbes listed his net worth as the US $3.9 billion in 2017.
As far as corporate social responsibility (CSR) is concerned, Karsanbhai Patel has interests in education and founded a leading engineering college, (Nirma Institute of Technology) which grew into a leading engineering college in Gujarat and leading pharmacy college (Nirma Institute of Pharmacy) overseen by the Nirma Education and Research Foundation.
In 2003, the entire structure being consolidated under the Nirma University of Science and Technology. In 204, Karsanbhain Patel launched the Nirma labs education project for entrepreneurs which develops aspiring entrepreneurs to effectively face the different challenges of business and aimed at training and incubating entrepreneurs.
Karsanbhai Patel also runs Nirma Foundation, Nirma Memorial Trust, and Chanasma Ruppur Gram Vikas Trust. It also owns Nirma University.
After establishing its low-price Nirma brand in detergents, Nirma launched the premium products including Nirma beauty soap, shampoo, Nirma toilet soaps, toothpaste, edible salt Shudh, Nirma bath, and premium detergent Super Nirma detergent.
Ventures into toothpaste and shampoo were not as successful. Nirma beauty soap is one of the popular and leading soaps in the Indian market, behind Lux, and Lifebuoy. Nirma’s edible salt Shudh is doing well. Nirma also has successful operations in neighboring countries.
Karsanbhai’s two daughters, sons – Rakesh Patel & Hiren Patel, and son-in-law, Kalpesh Patel are now at leading positions in the Nirma Group. Hiren Patel is an MBA and chemical engineer, He looks after marketing and finance, Rakesh K Patel
(MBA) looks after procurement and logistics, while Kalpesh Patel is in Healthcare Industry (Nirlife healthcare) and looks after human resources.
The company that was started in 1969 from selling door to door detergent and with just one man who used to deliver his product from one house to the other, today Nirma group has more than 14 thousand people and has a turnover of more than $ 500 million. After Pankaj Patel, Zydus group promoter and Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani Karsanbhai Patel is the third Ahmadabad-based industrialist to buy a six-seater chopper.
Karsanbhai Patel – Recognition & Awards
Patel was awarded by The Federation of Association of Small Scale Industries of India (FASII) with the ‘Udyog Ratna’.
In 2009, Karsanbhai was awarded the ‘Udyog Ratna’. by The Federation of Association of Small Scale Industries of India, New Delhi.
He was appointed twice by The Government of India as Chairman of the Development Council for Soaps & Detergents.
He is felicitated by The Gujarat Chamber of Commerce as an ‘Outstanding Industrialist of the Eighties’.
Karsanbhai was ranked #38 by Forbes magazine, for the list of India’s Richest persons in 2017.
Karsanbhai Patel has been conferred with Padma Shri Award formally conferred by Mrs. Pratibha Patil, the President of India.
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