Mr. Rabi Shankar Roy
Q1. Name, location?
A1. Rabi Shankar Roy – Kharagpur (Kolkata) - West Bengal.
Secretary General West Bengal CAIT and overlooks CAIT activity in Assam, Sikkim and part of Orrisa.
Q2. Name of business, type of business, date of founding?
A2. Own 2 different businesses;
a) FMCG distribution – Sunshine Pvt Ltd.
b) Construction –Indira Enterprise
Q3. Future business plans
A3. There are plans to enter into the mobile business and cosmetic business. Both these avenues are going to be distribution channels rather than manufacturing/retail.There is also currently a project within the construction business in the pipeline. This project includes building 300 new flats in a specific area thereby expanding the construction business.
Q4. How many of your family (if relevant) work in the business and who are they?
A4. My wife, Mrs. Deepanwita Roy works with me in both the businesses. She heads the marketing and packaging department and overlooks day-to-day operations.
Q5. How hard has it been to access finance?
A5. It was very hard to avail finance initially. The banks don’t negotiate good interest rates, their bank managers don’t give personal attention to a borrower’s application and the turnaround time for the loan to get sanctioned on average is 4 – 6 months. During this waiting period the application keeps rotating from one credit analyst to another. More NBFCs and private financial providers have entered the market and are more accommodating of a borrower’s request.Personally, the obstacles faced was getting all the necessary documents together. With external assistance even if the documents were compiled, providing collateral and mortgages was very difficult. After a few years of my business being active, I managed to create a good profile for myself. My reputation, profile and solid transactional history enabled me to eventually secure debt. CAIT and other related bodies have played an important role in helping me avail finance through mere exposure and access to their network.
Q6. How digital are the operations of your business on a scale of 0-10 if 0 = completely analogue and 10 = completely digital?
A6. The new age of E-commerce and digitisation has impacted the offline FMCG market badly. The current businesses run by me are completely offline given the nature of both industries, especially construction. However, I understand the importance of being part of this digital age and hence I am exploring new avenues like the distribution of mobiles and cosmetics which will be completely online. I would currently give myself a 2/10.
Q7. Where do you think you will be on a scale of 0-10 in three years’ time?
A7. Given that I see the value and importance in going digital and in that context I’m starting these new businesses – I will say 7/10. I will mainly be part of online market places/ have my own e-commerce website.
Q8. What innovation have you introduced in order to overcome issues around financing?
A8. The main thing that has helped me avail finance is being part of CAIT and other associations related to it. The senior leaders in Delhi put in all their efforts to empower and upgrade their traders across India. We as traders didn’t have the resources to avail finance and approach banks easily, but through curated programmes organised by CAIT , we have gotten more exposure to banks and analysts and become more aware of lending, online payments etc.