Archive for the ‘marwari’ Category

The Marwari entrepreneur community

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Marwaris comprise of a community of entrepreneurs who originally belonged to the state of Rajasthan in India. In the last 100 years, Marwaris migrated from Rajasthan to various parts of Indian sub-continent. Known for their business acumen, they founded several businesses, trading houses and manufacturing units in various parts of Indian subcontinent including Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh. Examples of a few billion dollar business houses started by Marwaris include the Birla Group (Aditya Birla Group, Zuari Agro, Hindalco, etc.), Mittals (Arecleo Mittal, Bharti-Airtel), Bajajs (Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Allianz), Singhanias (JK Group, Raymond), Ruias (Essar, Hutch Telecom, SK Group), Piramals (Crossroad Mall, Nicholas Piramal) etc.
GD Birla, the legendary industrialist and the patriarch of the Birla Empire, is a well known Marwari. He was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and was a major campaign contributor to Indian National Congress during the pre and post independence days.
Marwaris have created a large number mid to small size businesses all over India, with high concentrations in Kolkata, Siliguri, Chennai, Hyderabad. Marwari businesses have been run by families with newer generation succeeding and taking over the reins at an early stage and expanding it further. A large majority of first and second generation Marwaris have limited the education for themselves to high school or less and got involved with the family business early-on.
The Marwari business style has been Hands-on, Know-the-Business-Basics style, which can also be compared to the value investing style of Patels, as treatised in Mohnish Pabrai’s The Dhandho Investor. Marwaris have always been considered conservatives, however, with rapid urbanization of India, the Gen X and Gen Y Marwaris from the traditional entrepreneur families have been venturing into politics, policy management (e.g. Bimal Jalan, former RBI Governor of India), operations, etc. A large number of Gen X and Gen Y Marwaris are also breaking away from traditional businesses and taking up positions in local and international corporations in India and abroad. Only time will tell whether the new generation of Marwaris will go back to their ancestral entrepreneur roots or chart a new territory.