Interview by Kritika Gupta
Dr. Davish Jain is designated as the Group President of Prestige Group and Vice Chairman of Prestige Education Society. His qualification includes 3 Doctor degrees (D.Litt., D.Sc. and Ph.D.), Masters of Philosophy (M.Phil.) and has completed various special training programs to improve the soybean industry.
Dr. Jain is an active member of the Consultative Committee of the Food Corporation of India for the state of MP. He is a recipient of the most prestigious award -Man with a Vision and Mission and has also won the sponsorship of USA Govt. for the Orientation Prog. at the University of Illinois. Having participated in various international forums, he has also been a key note speaker at a national and international level.
Feeling and journey as the eldest son of Jain Family, a well-known business family
It is a very proud feeling, and an honor to be associated with something which gives you a sense of tremendous responsibility along with achievement. One feels very blessed to be born into a family like this.
My father migrated from West Pakistan before partition and landed in Delhi. He had a parental textile business in Pakistan, so he thought of exploring the possibilities. However, due to huge losses in the business, my father had no choice but to start his career as an apprentice in a textile mill at a very tender age.
He graduated from SGSITS, Indore with distinction. Beginning his career as an apprentice, he served for 29.5 years and rose to the position of CEO of Bhandari Group. In 1964, he was picked up by the Bhandari Group to take a training in England, got himself trained in animal feed manufacturing, took up a collaboration with an International company- Dalgety Crosfields, a large English group in animal feed industry and put up a unit for them.
After almost 30 years of his service, he decided to be an entrepreneur. My father had come empty handed from Pakistan, but today, the Prestige group has nine educational institutions in its repertoire—four management institutions, two law institutions, one engineering institution and two schools.
Prestige Group has emerged as a ‘Large Scale’ Golden Status Trading House and a Star Export House by the Government of India. We are exporting to 40 countries; the group turnover today is more than Rs. 1,000 crores. The journey has not been easy. I am thankful to God who gave us the courage to stand together in hard times and also gave us the wisdom to apply innovative ideas to our business to bring it to this stature, but I still feel there is A LOT TO DO.
Age at which you entered the business
I started taking an interest in the business at the age of fourteen. I was doing my schooling at that time, had not even completed it. At the age of eighteen, I shouldered most of the responsibilities of business. I have been an early starter of business even before ‘Prestige’ was born.
When my father was in service, I started a small-scale industry, managing it during my teens and completed my education side-by-side in Indore. I used to market my products from Indore to Hyderabad. My father was in service during those days. However, when he left his job and started on his own, I wound up that (Hosiery) business and joined my father as he was all alone.
Our first animal feed mill, the first venture started on August 17, 1977 and in 1978 we began exports as well. Bahrain was the first country to which we exported. I would say that was the start of the process. We never looked back, and then it became a passion for exploring one after another market for the country. I landed in almost every single state of Asia; instead, I was able to open many virgin markets for India. Hence, we reached every single country in Asia with our products.
Dr. Jain’s achievements and awards
- I was accorded the coveted sponsorship of U.S.A. Government in 1999 for the prestigious Orientation Program at the renowned University of Illinois, Urbana - Champagne, the U.S.A. along with 58 other Agribusiness experts from 19 countries.
- I was also conferred with M. Phil. Degree on the thesis titled “Impact of Soybean on Indian Economy” in 2009 by The Open International University for Complimentary Medicines in affiliation with Zoroastrian College in a special consultative status of UNESCO.
- I was then conferred with Ph.D. Doctorate on my thesis titled “Impact of Soybean on Global Economy” in 2010 by The Open International University for Complimentary Medicines in affiliation with Zoroastrian College in a special consultative status of UNESCO.
- Then I was conferred upon with D.Sc. and now D.Litt. Honoris Causa).
Contribution to Indore as ‘Soya Capital’ of India
My networking abilities, innovation in business and work ethics have helped me to accomplish my goals. In 2000, we used to produce black colour Soybean seed in our state whereas, in other parts of the world it was yellow in color. So, we started persuading the farmers to take up production of yellow beans, we started arranging the seeds through Pantnagar in UP.
We produced a pure yellow Soyameal for the first time in India in the early ’80s, this yellow Soybean meal became very well readily accepted in the world market, and that gave us an edge. I would say it was an innovative move and you could see in early ’80s when it was 90 per cent black Soybean seeds and 10 per cent yellow, by the turn of decade (90s) black got eradicated from the system. It was 100 per cent yellow Soybean. We surprised everybody by transforming the market on a sustainable basis internationally. So that was the period, I can tell you in 1981 when I started moving in the world markets on my own.