More than 70 years after it won its independence from the British, India is a nation that has embraced an energetic culture of entrepreneurship. Delhi-born business magnate Sudhir Choudhrie describes his home nation as “a country of start-ups.”
Choudhrie knows a few things about starting new businesses. He’s been doing it for more than five decades. His first venture after graduating with an economics degree from the University of Delhi was a self-started import company. A young man in his early 20s, Sudhir Choudhrie made forays into Great Britain where he forged contacts within the electronics components sector. He made deals to export television and broadcast equipment from the U.K. to India. The latter was growing a robust broadcast infrastructure in the 1960s. Choudhrie saw an opportunity and ran with it and more
This successful trade led to the establishment of the Magnum International Trading Company in 1975. Before long, the firm would be making major deals for agricultural implements with the former Soviet Union. Russia and India were once No. 1 trading partners with each other. Sudhir Choudhrie continued to diversify his interests. Among his investments was in a tiny aviation service that was struggling to get off the ground in India. This was Deccan Airlines. With a single prop passenger plane, the new company hoped to become the first “budget airline” business model on the subcontinent. With the financial backing of Choudhrie and his savvy entrepreneurial advice, Air Deccan took flight. It was soon carrying thousands of passengers per day and expanded its fleet of aircraft. Choudhrie’s other interests include investments in athletic shoes, the hospitality industry and healthcare. In many respects, Sudhir Choudhrie said the story of India for these past 70 years as mirrored his own life story. It’s about the emergence of a new nation going forward with an energetic will to succeed.