VKC Nuts – Emerging from tough times
“Hard work and facing challenges early”
Journey to success –
Led by Mr. Gunjan Jain (CEO), VKC Nuts Pvt. Ltd, has been in the industry for more than 4 generations since 1926. It’s a heritage brand, which started out with “Kashmir Walnuts” as its primary ecosystem. Growing at 25% CAGR, Mr. Jain attributes his success to deep industry knowledge and hard work in the field. Creating multiple innovations in product development and challenging existing tastes and norms of consumers, Mr. Jain has developed a global household brand for generations to come.
A long road to entrepreneurship –
It has been an arduous but interesting journey ever since Mr. Jain joined the family business as a young teenager. The family business was a modest trading outfit with “Kashmir Walnuts” as its primary business universe in the early nineties and was unfortunately passing through a very difficult phase with its very existence at stake at one point. It was an emotionally tough time and it prompted him to take a plunge early on in life and steer the company forward through difficult times. He had to learn a lot in a short period of time and he went through turbulent waters all by himself to get to the other side. Today, the company has grown into a leading integrated, multi-location, multi-product, nuts & dry fruit establishment involved in exports, imports, shelling, processing, wholesale, institutional & branded sale of nuts, seeds, dry fruits & berries. All the hard-work paid off, as Mr. Jain didn’t let failures or problems get in the way of success.
Industry accolades –
Along with being one of the top processors and exporters of nuts in India, VKC has won multiple awards. Being awarded by APEDA for Exports and outstanding contribution to Indian Walnut Sector, being rated SE1A highest for SSI Sector by CRISIL, being awarded one of the top 100 emerging SMEs in the country for the year 2015-16, and many other awards has instilled a sense of pride for the employees of VKC Nuts.
Facing challenges head on –
In hindsight Mr. Jain now firmly believes that the best time to enter a business is when it is in dire straits. That is because it tests your endurance and stretches your abilities to extreme limits, making you accustomed to taking risks, making hard decisions and living with stress. He travelled globally and across India, often travelling by night to avoid expensive hotel bills and pitched to customers in the morning to build the export side of things. Call it “Jugaad” or frugal innovation, Mr. Jain knew that he had to do what was important to become successful. The work experience, networking skills and values of the family elders came in handy to build the business back up, as the family business was growing yet again. It was a long journey, but one laden with challenges that had to be faced head on. It was “Baptism by Fire” for Mr. Jain.
Industry participants need to work hard -
Startups entering the nuts industry in India need to be aware of the multitude of challenges that they are bound to face as they proceed. Challenges like funding, scale, machinery and quality manpower have long plagued new entrants. However, the hard-working ones take the cake. The industry is growing and it needs more export and import development to create new roadways and paths towards success.
Helping build lives -
VKC Nuts has created a fair amount of gainful employment opportunities for rural work force near their plants in J&K and Ghaziabad. All production processes are conducted in an eco-friendly manner and they are looking towards Solar Energy options so that future plants can move away from Fossil Fuels.