Shantanu's Blog

Corporate Consultant

April 17, 2004

 
Indian Express
Mumbai Newsline
April 18, 2004

The businessman of the year in the US is a Mumbai boy who remembers Santacruz, Bollywood and his roots.
By Ketaki Ghoge

The story begins in the late 1930's, in sadri, 150 km from Udaipur. Abdeali Sadriwalla didn't have a paisa in his pocket, but migrated to Mumbai anyway.
Forty year later, his son did likewise. Having lost his father as a 15 year-old boy, Abbas Sadriwalla migrated from Mumbai to Miami, the United States of America, with $100 in his wallet and a commercial pilot’s license That was in the 1970’s.
Cut to 2004. The 50 year-old Bohri Muslim from Mumbai has just received the Businessman Of The Year award from the National Republican Congressional Committee, with President George W Bush playing guest of honour.
Sadriwalla, who started out with furniture stores, is now a big name in wi-fi technology and speciality chemicals. He owns four companies and employs thousands of people in Miami. His ambition? To be the key international player in wi-fi technology.
With an American wife and two children plus a ‘best father’ award in tow, sadriwalla is living the Great American Dream, and inspiring ambitious turks back home.
For Sadriwalla’s family in Santacruz-his brother and his family still live here – the family’s eldest son is an example to be quoted often to the kids.
And not without reason. Sadriwalla built his empire, brick by brick, on his own – all he had was a matriculation degree and nothing by way of inheritance except a home and close family ties.
Always an all-rounder, little Abbas was the family’s technical wizard. From dismantling old ovens and putting them back together to inventing formulae for rubber products, he “had it in his genes”, as sister Sheherbenoo Babuji says. She lives in Detroit, but was visiting family last week.
But Sadriwalla could also reinvent himself, like when technology nudged out his pager business. He just innovated and moved with the times.
Says Aun Aezjaz, sadriwalla’s brother, “I am his link to Mumbai, he doesn’t want me to migrate. He wants to channelise his business here in his hometown.”
In an e-mail interview, Sadriwalla reminisces about his childhood in Santacruz. “It was a charming suburb, where all neighbors shared one another’s festivals and joys. I try to come as often as I can to India – I don’t want my children to lose their roots.”
Not surprisingly, another vivid memory of the city for Sadriwalla is of tinseltown, of Mohan Studio opposite his father’s factory. He still remembers watching the shooting of Mughal-e-Azam. And what a good time he had.

His Empire:
Chief executive of V link Solutions, a wi-fi infrastructure solutions based in fort Lauderdate is the only company in the US to offer a full menu of wi-fi software and hardware solutions. It counts 160 big totels and hospitals in the country as its clients.
Chief executive of V Link Hospitality Technologies, a backend software platform for V link. It provides products that ease housekeeping hassles.
Chief executive of Moonrise Systems with its star net kiosk product, Netstop
Chief executive of Liquiguard Inc., a speciality chemical that has excellent water proofing qualities for electronic circuits and leather goods.



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