For this Delhi lad, life was cool. He wanted to make it large but never thought seriously over what it takes to make it thus. As a protected child from a family with business background, he wasn’t ever coerced into working hard and establishing a distinct identity. After his graduation in commerce, he was once again at crossroads – he wanted to join business but at the same time felt it was too early and that he should dabble with something else. But the phrase – ‘something else’ made no sense to him. All he was sure of was that he did not want to pursue a master’s degree in engineering akin to his peers. Somewhere, he was connected with business and so when a friend mentioned EDII’s Post Graduate Programme in Management – Business Entrepreneurship to him, it struck a chord. As Sumit puts it, “I have a strong intuitive power and something seemed to be telling me that I must grab this opportunity. Soon, I was at EDII, with every day only reaffirming my decision. I got more focussed here. The desire to create something of my own got kindled in me.”
By his own admission, Sumit was a changed person after joining the course at EDII. He started contemplating his own business. After research and under mentorship of his guide and father, who possessed 45 years of experience in the steel industry, he zeroed in on steel rolling mills.
He prepared a detailed project report and tried to learn as much as possible about the idea. The question about a permanent base for his business bemused him but only for a while, as somewhere in his heart he was convinced about Ahmedabad as his ‘karmabhumi’, as Sumit puts it.
Sumit was discouraged by many of his friends who were dissuading him from joining the steel business; they said he was technically not sound and, therefore, would not be able to pick up tricks of the trade. But, Sumit remained resolute and never doubted his competence. “I had grown up amid discussions on business and had unconsciously imbibed the unyielding spirit of an entrepreneur. Hence, I was against quitting this easily. I did understand why not being an engineer would hinder my business or could be a mark of my technical incompetence. I decided to do something concrete about it,” reminisces Sumit.
So, despite his impatience to take the plunge immediately after completion of his course, Sumit waited for a while. He took up a job with an Ahmedabad-based company as a trainee to derive on-job training. Simultaneously, he got an opportunity to put his skills to test when he revived a steel plant.
Sumit called his company Vinod, after his mother’s name, whom he worships. Vinod International gradually started moving up the ladder. It has evolved as a 100% export-oriented company which offers total solutions through concept-to-completion approach for steel industry. Sumit has made a mark for himself and today owns offices in Saudi Arabia and Dubai as well. But, success didn’t come easy to him. He has had his bad days when he felt like quitting but he hung on.
Sumit smiles as he shares how, owing to his pride, he never took any financial help from his father even though there were times when mustering finance was a hefty task. To survive in the market, he had to offer credit for 90 to 180 days, which he found utterly difficult, given his limited resources. He carefully devised strategies to deal with every difficult situation and to sustain in the market. There were times when he had to substantially reduce his margins to stay in the league. At times when he felt like quitting, his father’s words reverberated in his mind, “Unless you soil your hands, you won’t learn anything.” These words of wisdom inspired the fighter in him and urged him to work harder. Sumit’s optimism kept him going.
Always on a lookout for newer opportunities, Sumit is ambitious and raring to go. After having carved his niche in the area of steel exports, he has more companies in his kitty: Vinod Mines & Refractories Limited, Vinod Manufacturing Limited and Le Voir Trdaes Private Limited. Over the next five years, he plans to put Engineering Quartz Slab Project together. Having established himself as a successful entrepreneur, Sumit also wants to give back to society. He runs an NGO where new start-ups/businesses or industries are supported through training. He has represented India during Ministers’ Forum at Uganda and is also an active member of several organisations. Sumit is also the President of EDII’s Alumni Organisation.
Sumit’s grit and determination has scripted an inspiring story, a story that entails the transformation of the steel business in India.