EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN OF DENUBE GROUP MR. RIZWAN SAJAN
- How Danube Group came into existence (idea)?
I landed in Dubai by the end of 1991 and involved myself in trading of building materials after great hardship I started out Danube Group in 1993, with my wife being my first employee; and today, Danube Group provides over 50,000 products to its customers. The group takes pride in not just designing and building but also nurturing a long-lasting relationship with their clients. Imagine from a small trading firm, Danube has grown into the largest building materials company in the region, with its diversified branches worldwide including UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and India, in addition to procurement offices in China. Danube has a team of 3,300 plus people working across strategic locations across the GCC, China and India. Dedication and hard work of my employees along with a dose of luck helped us to become a distinguished brand in the UAE. The only underlying bedrock impression behind incorporating the company was my passion and determination. I have always believed that there are no shortcuts to success.
- How much beneficial was your work experience?
Gaining work experience is crucial to building any career or business – it teaches you not just how to run a business from a financial perspective also the importance of company culture and the kinds of people and attitudes you want to bring into your organisation.
- What inspired you to be an Entrepreneur?
My early life and my ability to perform in any given situation by handling the same in my own creative way helped me a lot in my journey. Additionally my uncle in Kuwait is one of the biggest inspirations, he use to always tell me that- ‘A lot of people live rich but very few die rich.’ My take from that was that in any business you need to be careful and realize that if you take one wrong step, all can be gone. He taught me that 2+2 is 5 and not 4.
- What made you flee from India to Dubai?
Starting out at a young age of 13 years selling books and firecrackers in India, I had a chance to witness what people in the market desire. With help and guidance of my uncle in Kuwait, I learnt business etiquette and worked passionately for a few years moving from salesman to being the right hand man for him, while taking care of the complete business. But all that came to sudden hail due to Saddam Hussein invasion of Kuwait. I went back to India for a few months and subsequently, moved to Dubai and involved myself in trading of building materials I started out on my own in 1993, with my wife being my first employee and put all my savings into starting the business.
- What keeps you motivated?
My job satisfaction and my company’s growth on the professional front and my exercise regime and our happy family at the personal front keep me motivated.
- As we all know about you that since childhood you were involved in small businesses whether it is selling of milk or newspaper so how that leadership quality get polished by the time?
Starting out at a young age of 13 years selling books and firecrackers in India, I had a chance to witness what people in the market desire. I understood how demand should be directly propionate to supply, which has helped me in my business and enabled me to take calculated risk and perform every time.
- Tell us something about your life in India?
I hail from a lower middle class family who had a limited source of income but inspite of that my father gave us a quality education and my mother developed a deep sense of love and affection between us siblings. Also, I had a great friend circle while in India and we all had a great time. Life in India was difficult but beautiful; it is a bright and vibrant country with an eclectic mix of different cultures and people.
- After being such a successful business man, is there something which you really miss about India?
Food! This is always the top of everyone’s list – no matter where you are, you always miss the food and Mumbai street food is my all-time favourite.
- Any plans to settle in India in coming future?
As of now -no. But we do have our property in India. Now Dubai is where we have our business and that’s the home for now.
- What marketing strategies you have applied to make “Danube Group” reach high success?
I built this company into the undisputed market leader for building materials in GCC and now slowly and steadily moving our foot prints towards real estate and home improvement. The strategy that I firmly believe is that: “Hard work is the key to success and a true leader doesn’t produce followers. A true leader creates more leaders’. So for me, the basic mantra is that find the right people trust and empower them to run the business. It’s my people who are my strength and the reason for our roaring success.
- Any advice/ suggestions to young Entrepreneurs?
Believe in your dream, set a vision to achieve it and work hard with passion and determination. Trust me no one can ever stop you.
- Any particular fitness plan you adopted to keep yourself Vigil, optimistic and active
I like to start my morning with a swim in the backyard pool of the villa and some vigorous workout that combines elements of yoga and Pilates
- Any health tips for mind and soul for budding entrepreneurs in order to survive in cut throat competition
A healthy mind in a healthy body is the foundation of running a healthy company. Hence, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance between your mind, body, and soul by nurturing your whole self, including your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. One should always set aside some time each day to do what makes your soul happy. Additionally, make sure to follow a detox regime as it helps to get rid of toxins in the body and develop the habits that will keep you on track for a healthier life.