In your interest.
Online Personal Finance Magazine
No beating about the bush.
That is the advice of Shubhra Bharadwaj of Ferriswheel Entertainment, which has carved a niche for herself in a highly competitive event management industry
In just five years after she started Ferriswheel, a Mumbai-based event management company, Shubhra Bharadwaj has managed several large events such as the Commonwealth Games at Delhi in 2010, the First South Asian Winter Games at Dehradun, Auli in 2011 and the Kerala Handover Ceremony at the National Games Ranchi 2011. Her company, Ferriswheel Entertainment Pvt Ltd also handled several popular stage productions such as ‘Ticket to Bollywood’ & ‘Bollywood Through the Ages’, which focus on promoting performing arts in and outside the country.
Ms Bharadwaj now conceptualises shows and designs and executes different aspects of event planning. She is passionate about encouraging folk dancers and artists and this in turn has led the company to gain international fame and helped her make a mark in this competitive industry.
Read about her journey in these excerpts from her interview with Hitisha Jain of Moneylife:
Hitisha Jain (ML): Tell us about your business and how it all began?
Shubhra Bharadwaj (SB): I started Ferriswheel in 2009 with a clear agenda to become the best in the business. We are a one-stop entertainment and event solution company, which can deliver large-scale public events. This means, if my client is happy, that doesn’t mean my crew is unhappy or my artist is unhappy. I work harder, earn less money, but we have strong goodwill in the market. The company in the long run hopes to be a game changer in the performing arts industry in India. Ferriswheel’s current turnover is approximately Rs20 crore and the business is valued at about approximately Rs30 crore.
ML: What inspired you to set up this organisation?
SB: The professionalism in the West and an eye for detail. I have lot of exposure to the West as I have lived there. What I learnt there was that people have a very fine eye for detail and do lot of planning. So, by the time event rolls out, it is very cost effective and efficiently done. That was one of the things I learnt, when I worked in 60 different countries such as Japan, US, the Caribbeans, Canada and others over a 20-year period. I felt that in India at that time, we used our skilled work force and evolved aesthetic sense, but compromised on delivery with the result that there was no benefit to the artists or the client. So it was very exciting for me to set up an organization, which challenged norms and conventions in creative and management practices and which would set a bench mark for the industry.
ML: How do you deal with the many hitches that are part of starting a business?
SB: Challenges are a part of the game. One has to remain motivated and inspired and keep the team going. Expecting an easy or smooth start is the first step towards failure. There are no signboards, no guarantees and nothing given. In fact, as a person who is a non-conformist, I found it thrilling to play by my own rules and engage in an unstructured environment to create the brand and establish the company.
ML: What drives you to keep doing the work everyday?
SB: People and places. I am a peoples’ person and I enjoy the action and energy of this industry and the work dynamics of people who choose to be a part of it. I enjoy this work and this is the work, I know. Everyday is exciting for me because some thing or the other is happening in each department, which challenges me. Ferriswheel is my ticket to the world and it opens doors and avenues for me and the team, which makes our lives exciting.
ML: What plans do you have for your business?
SB: To consolidate, restructure and grow into better profit making centres for each vertical in a professional way.
ML: Who are your main supporters?
SB: The government of India has been very supportive. The Indian government loves me and I love them. We received support from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Ministry of External Affairs and the tourism ministries from various states such as Kerala, Haryana and the Andamans. But, while I have support from many individuals and organisations, at the end of the day, it is a driven and motivated team, which is the reason for Ferriswheel's success.
ML: Why is it important to encourage entrepreneurship in India, especially among women?
SB: It is important to encourage entrepreneurship in any country and for any gender. Like poets and artists, entrepreneurs are strong spirited individuals challenging the norms, structure and conventional thinking and business practices. The economy of any country or region sees a shift if there is a thriving entrepreneurial culture.
ML: What is the main source of funding for your organisation?
SB: We have been extremely lucky to be making money from the time we were established and Ferriswheel has been able to pay for its own growth. We started with Rs4 lakh, which I invested from my pocket. We were in business the day we opened this agency. So we always earned our own money and because all our eggs are not in same basket, we sometimes face a liquidity crunch.
ML: What were the biggest challenges you faced as a woman entrepreneur?
SB: The challenges were same as any man would also have had faced. Like, protecting our interest, living through a liquidity crunch, team motivation, foul play by the competition and structure and procedures within companies are few of the challenges I had faced. I work in very difficult terrains. We have worked at places where the temperature was -16 degrees celsius, sometimes at -30 degrees celsius or sometime at 54 degrees celsius. Weather conditions are a challenge for us as the team has to adapt to it. People leave their families and work, but if you have a good show then it’s all worth it. Women are strong and they can face any challenge that comes up.
ML: What are the best ways to connect in your industry – which national and local networking organisations, conferences have you found most valuable?
SB: I generally don’t enjoy these outings. I think these are kitty parties. I don’t like going to do any networking events. But I do meet people. I had a great outing at the US Consulate General Peter Haas’s house. There are many networking platforms, which have been valuable to the business Assocham, CII, the Indo-foreign chambers etc.
ML: Share your secret weapons – what business apps, tools or mottos help you run your business and life efficiently?
SB: Here, I want to share two important points. Firstly, once you make up your mind then you can’t change it. Stick to what you have decided. Secondly, in my view, the big difference between successful people and not so successful people are how you utilize your free time. My free time is my most productive time. I strategise, organise and plan ahead for each team and team leader so that by the time I meet people I am always prepared. But when I am alone, I don’t waste time channel surfing and using Facebook. I am not a dustbin for world information. I select what I want to put into my brain. It helps me to be efficient and organised.
ML: What plans do you have for the future for your company?
SB: The plans for the future are to restructure and consolidate the business and push for better profit margins on all five existing verticals. We are like five companies under one umbrella. Till now, we were working on building the goodwill in the market. We have already achieved that. Now, I want to streamline structure of the company.
ML: What are major opportunities for women to start their own businesses?
SB: All opportunities in every business are instinctively pursued. We can never generalize opportunities for a gender or an industry. Each entrepreneur's and company's growth graph is based on multiple components, which translate into actualizing opportunities. This industry does have potential for growth, profits and great conversions if one pursues it with conviction. If somebody really wants to do something, then there is no mountain that cannot be climbed. So it is not about a woman, there are so many women out there. Somebody wants to do and somebody doesn’t want to do. Opportunities exists everywhere, it is upto a person or an individual. A good intelligent woman can make an opportunity out of nothing. Opportunity should be created.
ML: Who is your role model?
SB: All entrepreneurs who have value based success stories in my time – NR Narayan Murthy of Infosys, Richard Branson of Virgin, and Bill Gates of Microsoft.
ML: What three things would you advise to aspiring women entrepreneurs?
SB: Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can.
(In the run up to International Women’s Day on 8th March, Moneylife will run a series of Women Entrepreneurs who have made a mark. If you know women who ought to be featured in this series, do write to us with details at [email protected] . And if you are a women entrepreneur wanting to expand your business and grow, do keep in touch with our not-for-profit entity at foundation.moneylife.in - we have some news in store)
The CLB directed Zenith Birla India to repay its fixed deposit holders with interest in eight weeks. Yash Birla Group’s financial transactions are also being probed by various investigative agencies
The Company Law Board (CLB) has asked Zenith Birla (India) Ltd to pay the dues of 579 fixed deposit (FD) holders along with the interest before 21 April 2014. In case the company fails to make any payment, the CLB has advised depositors to approach the Registrar of Companies (RoC) to initiate prosecution against the company and its principal officer and managing director.
In an order issued on 14th February, the CLB said, “The amount due to the applicants/ fixed deposit holders, who are senior citizens or any of their family member is suffering from any acute illness, on production of such proof, shall be paid the principal amount plus agreed rate of interest before 20 March 2014. The other applicants / FD holders who do not fall in this category, shall be paid their respective amount i.e. principal amount and agreed rate of interest before 21 April 2014.”
According to an affidavit filed Vimal Dubey, company secretary, Zenith Birla, 55 applicants or FD holders, have been already paid their dues leaving 505 investor whose amount is to be repaid by the company. “Expressing the financial crunch faced by the company, he (Vimal Dubey) sought eight weeks more time to enable the respondent company to make repayments to 'the respective applicants /FD holders herein. However, the Company did not dispute the claims of 505 applicants/ FD holders as stated above,” the CLB stated in its order.
You can access Zenith Birla India Ltd CLB order of 14 February 2014 here.
As reported by Moneylife, the Yash Birla Group is facing a financial crisis and has defaulted on payment to its FD holders. Moneylife has received many complaints from agitated readers and senior citizens who have not been able to get their corporate FD maturity amounts from Yash Birla Group of companies. We wrote a detailed article on How to get your money back from Yash Birla group companies and suggested depositors to file online complaint with Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Company Law Board (CLB).
Speaking to Moneylife, Deviprakash Seksaria, a depositor, who attended the CLB hearing, said, “After waiting for over four months for my Rs1 lakh FD, the judge conveniently decided to grant four weeks more to pay senior citizens and eight weeks for ordinary mortals like me. The Judge said that if we do not receive payment by 28 April 2014, we should then approach the RoC. Where did this additional two weeks creep in? In what way, can I be prioritized lower for refund as long as it is only FD?”
He was not satisfied with CLB’s decision and further said, “Many depositors informed that though they were to get their money as per the last order, company has not paid them than what importance does the order hold?”
Earlier also, CLB passed an order against Zenith Birla on 8 November 2013 to pay its dues to its deposit holders through demand draft (DD) on or before 9 December 2013. But several depositors approached CLB and complained that company has not paid their dues yet. Again, CLB passed order on 23 January 2014 and directed depositors to approach the RoC on 3 February 2014. CLB asks RoC to file appropriate legal proceedings before competent authority for non-compliance of the order as provided in the Companies Act as early as possible in accordance with the law.
Zenith Birla India is not alone, earlier CLB passed an order against Yash Birla group’s other units, Birla Power Solution, Birla Shloka Edutech, Birla Cotsyn to repay its depositors under section 58A (9) of the Companies Act, 1956. Even after passing orders by CLB, several investors still have not received their money back from Yash Birla Group of companies. While several depositors who got their corporate fixed deposits’ principle amount, did not get their interest amount yet.
According to a report from Business Standard, the economic offences wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police has sent notices to the authorities concerned for freezing of the immovable assets of Birla Power Solutions worth Rs214 crore, in connection with a FD and inter-corporate deposits scam, the company had run. On Monday, Yash Birla appeared before the EOW in connection with the case.
“The company had made 11 transactions with the amount obtained through this scheme and diverted the money to other group companies. The police found Rs106 crore had been transferred to Birla Surya as equity; Rs16 crore to Birla Shloka Edutech, with which land was purchased in Oshiwara (a Mumbai suburb); Rs10 crore was transferred to Zenith Birla, used as margin money for letters of credit. Also, Rs29.26 crore was diverted to Birla Energy Infra, Birla Cotsyn and Birla Ahuja,” the newspaper report says quoting officials from the EOW.
Last week, income tax (I-T) officials questioned Yash Birla as part of the investigation into alleged tax evasion involving his companies, says a report from the Times of India. In January, the I-T department raided premises belonging to Birla and found several undeclared foreign accounts with a balance of crores of rupees, the report added.
Yash Birla is known for its lavish lifestyle and Page3 parties instead of his business moves, which shows the careless attitude of the group. People had invested in his companies on goodwill of ‘Birla Family’. Moneylife earlier reported, “Yash Birla Group companies in deep trouble?” We found that, Yash Birla Group companies have been struggling with many issues like liquidity crunch, non-payment of loans, negative cash flows etc. Its most of the companies are giving negative returns to the investors and its share prices are not even in double digits. The promoter’s stake in Birla Power Solutions is only 1.08% and in Zenith Birla India its 7.34%. It shows that the promoter himself lost faith in his company. During December 2013 quarter Zenith Birla India reported a net loss of Rs18.72 crore despite sales of Rs23 crore.
Moneylife earlier also wrote, Yash Birla mourning over a property, investors over their FDs in his companies when he lost his private retreat near Kedarnath.
During the December quarter, Supreme Infrastructure posted 11% lower net profit due to higher costs even as its sales increased 10%
Supreme Infrastructure India Ltd (Supreme Infrastructure), an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, reported an 11% lower third quarter net profit mainly on higher costs.
For the quarter to end-December, Supreme Infrastructure said its net profit fell 11% to Rs32.10 crore from Rs35.92 crore, while its total revenues, including sales, increased 10% to Rs606.26 crore from Rs550.29 crore, a year ago period.
During the quarter, Supreme Infra’s total expenditure increased 14% to Rs529.01 crore from Rs464.24 crore, while its project expenses grew 25% toRs520.17 crore from 414.75 crore, same period last year.
Between December 2012 and December 2013, FIIs shareholding in the company grew to 13.25% from 12.30% and public shareholding increased to 30.50% from 24.32% in a same period a year ago. While, domestic institutional investors (DIIs) shareholding fell to 1.28% from 6.77%, and promoter shareholding fell to 54.97% from 56.61%.
Supreme Infrastructure order book as of 31 December 2013 stood at Rs5,918 crore. On 15 February 2014, in a regulatory filing Supreme Infrastructure said, it has added nine major orders worth Rs1,118 crore in West, North and East zones across India.
Supreme Infrastructure closed Monday 2.2% up at 206.9 on the BSE, while the 30-share Sensex ended the day marginally up at 20,464.
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