How a Rs100k venture transformed into Rs1 billion empire
LAHORE: Muhammad Ejaz Tanveer, chief executive fair marketing, is a self-made man, who started the confectionary business with just Rs100,000 around two decades ago.
In 2000, he started distribution and spot sale of own product, Re1 nimko on two tricycles. Now the annual turnover of his big business empire, covering more than 120 cities stretched out across the country, is well over Rs1 billion.
He has an interest in trade politics. Presently, he is the convenor of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Standing Committee on fast-moving consumer goods, FMCG Importers Association vice chairman and president of the Lahore chapter of the Pakistan Business Forum.
In this interview, Ejaz Tanveer shared his success story.
What was your first business venture?
A: After doing masters in economics from the Punjab University in 1997, I set up Apple Bakery with an initial investment of Rs150,000 that was given by my mother on her retirement. The lack of experience, financial constraints and entry of big players led to the closure of this bakery within a year. To get business knowledge and experience, I worked at Lotte Kolson for about two years. With the seed money of Rs100,000, I started manufacturing nimko. I purchased two tricycles for distribution and spot sale of my product, Re1 nimko. Now I import, get third party manufacturing and prepare my brands of various confectionery items, which are marketed in 120 cities through over 130 distributors. We started pet (dog, cat) food manufacturing about six months ago, which is also getting a good response.
What is your biggest achievement?
A: I am a self-made man. I am focusing on value addition in products and giving due importance to research and development. We ensure spending of at least 10 per cent of the profit of the company on research and development.
How do you contribute to community welfare?
A: I have dedicated 225 acres of land at Dijkot (Faisalabad) for public welfare projects. Water filtration plants have been installed for providing potable water to the residents of Dijkot. Ilyas Nasim Trust is also running a school for the community. Besides giving scholarships to 50 students of 6 to 8 grades, we provide financial support to residents of Dijkot (male/female) for doing paramedics/nursing courses from Sharif Medical City, Lahore.
What is your greatest fear in life?
A: I wish this legacy and good name continue. I have devised a system to minimise the chances of any conflict. The system is stronger than any individual, whether it is the CEO or any director.
What is your favourite sport? Have you been a player/athlete yourself?
A: Cricket, like other people of my generation. I played cricket in streets and school/college grounds.
Something about music?
A: I listen to music usually, while travelling. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Munni Begum are my favourites.
How many hours do you work in a day?
A: I usually spend 12 to 14 hours at a desk and in the field.
Which is your favourite holiday destination and why?
A: Northern Areas due to scenic beauty and mountains.
iPhone or Android phones?
A: I find Android easy to operate. I use a Samsung smartphone, but it is changed only when the existing one starts creating problems.
Which clothing brands do you frequently wear?
A: I am brand conscious. I prefer Shirt & Tie and Marks and Spencers. The reason is that branded items retain shape and are durable.
What prompted you to join trade politics?
A: I desired to make my experience and expertise productive for my community. I dislike staging protests and going on strike just for the sake of politics. Doing politics is aimed at playing the role of a bridge between the policymakers/executors and the business community.
How do you see FBR’s point of sale initiative?
A: The initiative will help broaden the tax base. It is suitable only for big stores. The government should introduce a fixed tax for small retailers.
What can make the business environment easy and encouraging for the new entrants and existing players?
A: Minimum bureaucratic hurdles and a one-window facility are a must for the new entrants, who need to run from one department to the other for getting a go-ahead for starting a business. The government should take practical measures for curbing the menace of smuggling, as it is not only affecting businesses of legal importers but also damaging the local industry.
What is the future outlook of the overall business environment in Pakistan?
A: I am optimistic about the future of the business environment. The industry is growing with a gradual increase in exports. Hopefully, the trend will continue in the days to come. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a major key to the business growth in Pakistan.
Who is your inspirational role model?
A: Syed Babar Ali is my inspirational role model. He is not just a successful businessman, but also a visionary man who has given LUMS like institutions to the nation.
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