The impact of the economic boom the nation received post liberalization can be felt even after more than two decades of the introduction of the reforms. Numerous beneficiaries of the liberalization policies have made it big in the industrial arena. However, the business mavens who turned their ventures into major successes during the ‘not so liberal’ economic policies remain the masters of the trade.

The man, the legend – Dhirubhai Ambani started off as a clerk at A. Besse & Co. in Yemen. He returned to India in 1958 and laid the foundation of Reliance Commercial Corporation with the inception of ‘Majin’ – a firm that exported spices to Yemen and imported polyester yarn. A known risk-taker, Ambani expanded his business over the years to form what we now know as Reliance Industries Limited.

The graph for the rise of business tycoons in changing India remained steady throughout the decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, the likes of Gautam Adani and Pawan Kumar Ruia made their small beginnings towards making it big.

Gautam Adani’s entrepreneurial journey began in 1981 when he joined his brother’s newly-bought plastic unit. The PVC imports of the venture turned out to be Adani’s gateway to global trade. By 1985, Gautam Adani had already established Adani Exports Limited, now known as Adani Enterprises Limited – the holding company of the Adani Group.

Initially dealing in agricultural and power commodities, the company expanded its operations over the next few years to several other sectors such as trading of metals, textiles, and agro products. Today, Adani Group is one of the largest conglomerates of the country.

On the other hand, Pawan Kumar Ruia started his career with a charted accountancy firm. However, he later forayed into the textiles industry with Ruia Cotex, a textile manufacturing company.

Ruia made it to the limelight with the acquisition of a 220-year-old engineering firm, Jessop & Company. The company was at its lowest, and many termed the acquisition a fool’s errand. However, Pawan Kumar Ruia, with his entrepreneurial abilities, turned the losses around. Within a span of two years, Jessop had a net profit of Rs. 100 million.

The business maven continued his conquests with the acquisition of Dunlop Tyres and Falcon Tyres – both of which had been leading names in the tyre industry but had lost their luster. Post the acquisition, Pawan Kumar Ruia catapulted both companies to new heights and established himself as a turnaround specialist.

The stories of Dhirubhai Ambani, Gautam Adani, and Pawan Kumar Ruia exemplify all that the wonder smart decisions backed by strong willpower can do. The Indian business arena founded on the conquests of business mavens who thrived through decades of economic reforms.

Author's Bio: 

I am Sahaj Desai based out of New Delhi, India. An alumnus of the Delhi School of Economics, I enjoy long essays and books by Tolstoy and Chekhov. I write about the economic and financial growth of developing countries around the world.