Artisan’s assistant to industrialist Feni Bilas
Vilas Chandra Saha started his career as an assistant to a carpenter. Now he himself is the owner of a daily goods store in Feni Sadar Upazila, that is, a big wholesale trader. Along with that, he has a factory for processing daily products including rice and pulses. He started the business with a capital of Rs 50,000, which after 30 years has grown to two hundred crores, although his journey was not smooth at all.
Vilas Chandra’s father, Murari Mohan Saha, was a big businessman and art dealer of Feni. He used to trade various commodities including rice, dal, oil, jaggery, flour, flour. Everything was going well. But he died when son Vilas was in sixth standard. After that, the family suffered.
Bilas said that after the death of his father, the business stopped while trying to repay the debt. They did not get any help to continue the business. At this time, he had to struggle to continue his studies.
Bilas said, “Mother sold cow’s milk and paid for my education up to class 10. During the SSC examination in 1988, I paid the registration fee with the help of 800 rupees from six local people.
After that, due to financial crisis, Bilas, the eldest of the three siblings, decided to work to support the family. But due to lack of education, there was no possibility of getting a good job. In the end, he worked as an assistant in a local company.
Vilas earned the owner’s trust due to his honesty and attentiveness. As a result, within a few days, the owner gave him the responsibility of keeping the accounts of the farm. Despite his strong desire, science department student Vilas Chandra could no longer study due to the pressure of work.
After four years, Vilas left the job of that art in the hope of doing something by himself. He said, ‘After my father’s death, I thought that one day I will become a big businessman like him. But business knowledge was no longer capital then. Later I became somewhat self-reliant and decided to quit my job and start my own business.
Vilas Chandra entered the field with a capital of 50,000 rupees along with money saved at home and some loans. At first, he used to buy rice, wheat, corn, dal, sharshe etc. from the farmers of different grazing areas of Noakhali, Barisal, Bhola and Patuakhali and sell them to different factories. It earns well. As a result, in 1998, like his father, he also opened a store of various daily products. But the dream of setting up own factory was fulfilled for another five years.
Bilas Chandra said that in 2003, he started a garment manufacturing factory with a capital of 25 lakh rupees and 12 workers in Rampur area of Feni Sadar. The next year, he built a dal factory with an investment of 50 lakh taka. And in 2016, he set up a flour-making factory at a cost of one and a half million rupees.
Bilas Chandra told Prothom Alo that he collected various types of pulses including rice, wheat, corn etc. from several districts of the northern and southern parts of the country. Besides, they import raw materials from abroad. Currently, he imports white peas, lentils, mustard, wheat, chickpeas and pulses from Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Australia and Canada, processes them in his factory and sells them to wholesalers in Noakhali, Chandpur, Comilla, Mymensingh, Kishoreganj and Sylhet regions.
Bilas Chandra said that his business is growing at a rate of 20 percent every year. Last year the total transaction was 170 crore rupees. About 250 people currently work in his factories.
In addition to wholesale business, the aim of luxury now is to package the products produced in its own factory and deliver them to the consumer level across the country. A new factory must be built for this. Bilas said, “The products of my factory are bought by big companies of the country and sold to consumers. The clothes of my factory are exported outside the country. That’s why I myself want to reach the consumer level.
Bilas Chandra said, he has already made an application to Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) for a plot to set up a product packaging factory. He hopes to set up a new factory and go into production within the next two years.
The Russia-Ukraine war has affected Vilas Chandra’s business as well. Due to the war, he is not able to directly bring products from these two countries. As a result, he has to bring products from Romania at a higher cost.
Lux’s advice to new entrepreneurs is to move forward patiently by matching words and deeds. If you want to enter the business, you must have a real understanding of the business. It is not right to invest money somewhere without understanding in the hope of more profit. And no matter how many adversities come your way, you should never give up.
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