PRO Industries PTE LTD is an Oswal Group Global holding company. The company has two industrial state-of-the-art Potable Alcohol plants. The first phase of 120KLPD is to be completed this year. This move will make PRO Industries the largest ethanol producer in East Africa. Vasundhara Oswal, the Executive Director of PRO Industries and the Co-Founder of ‘Stop the B’, shared her journey with Hello Entrepreneurs.
Q. What is the USP of PRO Industries?
PRO Industries’ USP is utilizing local talent with the most compatible environmentally friendly processes and technologies. Our vision is to be among the world’s leading producers of high-quality ethanol/ENA products utilized in many industries. We walk the talk when it comes to including sustainable processes in our manufacturing plants. Our Zero Liquid Discharge plan aims to prevent environmental damage by preventing waste-water leakage. The affluents from the plant are utilized to the fullest and are used to produce protein-rich ‘DDGS’, which are utilized as food for cattle, poultry, and aquaculture and even capture CO2, which is used as a product in the beverage industry. The entire plant has been planned to guarantee adherence to top-notch environmental standards for all pollution factors.
Q. According to you, what are some of the paramount qualities of successful entrepreneurs?
There is no set path one can follow to become a successful entrepreneur because everyone has their own journey. Speaking from my own experience, the biggest trait that has helped me is being committed and consistent in my work. I am determined to bring modernization to the industry I work in a while noting the need to give back to the local communities who I work with. In my early twenties, I had already taken charge of the investment strategy and development of the ethanol/ENA plant and oversaw corporate social responsibility activities such as installing technologies at our manufacturing plant to ensure that 100% of the waste-water was recycled. While it wasn’t easy for me when I started out, considering I was quite young in a field where I saw experienced veteran entrepreneurs, my enterprising spirit made it possible for me to pave my own path and stand my ground.
Some tough decisions must be made, and once they are, one should stand by them and try to fulfill them to the best of their abilities. These are some of the qualities that have helped me emerge as a successful entrepreneur.
Q. How did you come up with the ‘Stop The B’?
I feel that empathy and compassion are essential, both within a working environment and in one’s personal life. My sister Riddi and I together launched ‘Stop The B’, an anti-bullying platform that deals with comprehending the emotions of people who were victims of bullying. We decided to launch the foundation when I witnessed my sister getting bullied at school and no one stood up for her.
In addition, we have been planning since the past year to turn this into a not-for-profit organization, for which we will make the announcement soon. The campaign received tremendous support from international academics from NYC and Switzerland and has been endorsed by global celebrities such as famous footballer Ronaldinho. We even spoke at The World Anti-Bullying Forum (WABF) summit hosted by UNESCO in November last year, and my sister Riddhi Oswal was the youngest speaker ever to address the attendees in the history of the summit. I’m glad that my sister’s story was able to make it across to others that may be going through the same.
Q. What difficulties did you encounter during the ‘Stop The B’ journey?
Bullying, in general, is an overlooked topic until a child faces suicidal tendencies or, worse, commits suicide. During the period of time that my younger sister faced bullying in Institute, no one was willing to take action or do anything to help her. We approached the school authorities, the principle, the house matron etc and no one was willing to do anything as they did not believe that it was a serious issue and in return, that led to the bullies becoming more confident and continuing their racist rampage on her Indian heritage against her. Eventually, we had to take it to court and that’s when people started taking it seriously. It is difficult to make people take bullying and mental health as serious issues. So many youth don’t even know if what they are going through can be categorized as bullying as they are told their feelings are invalid and if there are even legal repercussions against their aggressors. Our biggest obstacle is getting through to those youth and having them feel that their feelings and their story is validated and that they should stand up for themselves.
Q. Any piece of advice you want to give to budding entrepreneurs?
Everyone can help you learn, so always be observant and be ready to take advice when offered. It goes without saying that each person has their own personal brand and leadership style. Observing how others handle themselves – peers, management, and other external leaders – is a great way to learn. In my case, my father, Pankaj Oswal, is someone I look up to and have learned a lot from his commitment to the business. Also, one should never forget that leadership is a challenging role. A strong leader must build the capacity to overcome fear, evaluate risk, and act when necessary. At times, tough decisions are the best decisions we make.