Company: Nikai Group
The entrepreneurial journey of Paras Shahdadpuri has become the stuff of legend in the UAE business community. Perhaps the very definition of a late bloomer, Paras was edging towards his 50th birthday when he decided to risk it all and leave a long-term diplomatic career with the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to embark on a career in the corporate sector. In the 20-plus years since, he has continued to prove that it was not only the right decision, it was an inspired one.
He initially intended to import pre-branded electronics to the UAE and sell them at a profit, and that would surely have been a successful, if small, enterprise. However, a Japanese supplier had a different idea: instead of simply importing the products of existing companies, why not create a new brand and sell the products under that? So, the Nikai company and product line was born – and three decades later, despite the rise of Apple and Samsung, it remains one of the top-selling electronics brands in the UAE’s major retailers. It has even managed to penetrate the US.
Today, Shahdadpuri heads up all 12 companies of the Nikai Group, a conglomerate that deals in appliances, food products, outsourcing and restaurants from their offices spanning China, KSA, Georgia and Russia.
His achievements haven’t gone unnoticed. From 1999 to 2001, the Indian business community elected Shahdadpuri the UAE chairman of the Overseas Indians Economic Forum, with the job of promoting Indian companies and investment abroad.
In 2005, he was awarded the prestigious Bharat Shiromani Award by former Prime Minister of India lK Gujral in recognition of his business career.
I believe there’s always a space in any industry; it just depends how good a fighter you are, how competitive you are, how energetic you are”