Thewame
Middle East

Vinod Harwani: The transformation of a salesman to a Dubai multi-millionaire

Highlights

  • Vinod Harwani came to the UAE in the year 1988 as an 18-year-old.
  • He worked as a salesman for an electronics company, taking a salary of Dh900 per month.
  • A year on, he quit his job and started freelance work dealing in electronics and car accessories.
  • In 1990, Harwani went home to get married, only to return to the UAE the following year.
  • The same year in 1991, Harwani started his own retail textile showroom in Ras Al Khaimah.
  • Five years later, in 1996, in order to expand his business, Harwani moved to Dubai opening his first electronics wholesale company, Sun Ray Electronics.
  • In 2008, the electronic products he was dealing with became outdated
  • And so in 2011 he re-arranged his business and resources to start a foodstuff company.
  • No looking back since
  • In 2015, he also opened a wholesale supermarket in Africa
  • Today, the company Richa Food enjoys a turnover of Dh50 million annually.

Dubai: It has not been an easy ride for Dubai-based businessman Vinod Kumar Harwani.

Hailing from Bareilly in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Harwani set foot in the UAE when he was just 18 years old. The year was 1988.

Back then, he worked as a salesman in an electronics shop and earned Dh900 a month.

In an interview with Gulf News, Harwani said the motivation behind looking for a job in the UAE was simple. He wanted to get married to the love of his life and wanted to save up some money before bring her home to live with him.

“I did not come from a wealthy family. In fact, we were not even educated enough to take up big jobs. But I knew I wanted to impress my lady. I wanted her and her family to feel secure about me. And so I decided to take up a job in Dubai for this money. At that time, this was huge for me,” said Harwani.

“The aim was to start working as early as possible so I could start getting a regular income. I wanted to accumulate as fast as possible.”

Flashback

At the tender age of eight, Harwani's father died. “My mother was like a rock. She played dual roles of being a mother and a father. She was a tough lady and from her, I learnt the art of resilience.”

“In her presence I never missed my father because she loved and cared for me a lot. She was in charge of the household and ran the show single-handedly. My mother taught me and my siblings good manners and discipline. She gave me everything that I deserved in my life. When she died in 2006, I was heart-broken. My mother meant everything to me. Today, if God asked me for a wish I would ask for my mother to be back in my life again,” said a rather solemn Harwani.

“My life was shattered because my mother was not with me, but life had to go on. My wife was a major support in my life. She helped get me back on my feet and for this I will ever be grateful. She [my wife] is very lucky for me.”

Vinod Harwani
Vinod Harwani came to the UAE in the year 1988 an 18-year-old He worked as a salesman for an electronics company, taking a salary of Dh900 per month A year on, he quit his job and started freelance work dealing in electronics and car accessories. In 1990, Harwani went home to get married, only to return to the UAE the following year. The same year in 1991, Harwani started his own retail textile showroom in Ras Al Khaimah Five years later, in 1996, in order to expand his business, Harwani moved to Dubai opening his first electronics wholesale company, Sun Ray Electronics.

Hard work and struggle

For 20 years, Harwani's life was a struggle. “But I never gave up. I kept going with everything I needed to do. That is critical. Patience and faith in yourself is critical if you want to spearhead a business. It is easy to give up in life. But never do it. Keep at it.”

It is this grit and determination that perhaps led a man like Harwani, who struggles to speak fluent English, to achieve what he has today.

“There were times when I was tired and wanted to give up. It was a struggle. There were many hours of work that I had to put in. But I did. When you are motivated, it is easy to work hard. The key is to keep doing a good job and be straightforward in your intentions.”

Vinod Harwani
In 2008, the electronic products he was dealing with became outdated. And so in 2011 he re-arranged his business and resources to start a foodstuff company. There has been no looking back since. In 2015, he also opened a wholesale supermarket in Africa. Today, the company Richa Food enjoys a turnover of Dh50 million annually

Chronology of growth

A year after coming to Dubai in 1988, Harwani quit his job and started freelance work dealing in electronics and car accessories. But in 1990, Harwani quit his job to go home and get married. The same year in 1991, Harwani started his own retail textile showroom in Ras Al Khaimah. He and his wife lived in Ras Al Khaimah. Five years later in 1996, in order to expand his business, Harwani moved to Dubai to open his first electronics wholesale company, Sun Ray Electronics. In 2008, however, he was back to almost square one as the electronic products his company was dealing with became outdated. In 2011, Harwani re-arranged his business and resources to start a foodstuff company.

He has not looked back since.

The growth of his company has been so phenomenal that in 2015, Harwani was able to launch a wholesale supermarket in Africa.

Today, the company Richa Food enjoys a turnover of Dh50 million annually.

Vinod Harwani
Harwani was a young boy (8) when his father died. His mother was like a rock. She played dual roles of being a mother and a father to him. She was a tough lady and from her, Harwani learnt the art of resilience.

About Richa Food LLC

The company was established as an international trading company in 2011. Currently, it is one of the region’s growing suppliers of the finest international fast moving commodities.

Thanks to hard work and dedication, Harwani managed to turn his business into a thriving enterprise. “I struggled during the initial years of my career. I was even forced to leave my line of business from textiles to electronics. But foodstuff business it was. This was it. I realised late in my career that dealing with food stuff was the line of business that worked wonders for me.”

Today, Richa Food is positioned to be one of the market leaders in Exports of Finest Branded Consumer Products. “Our global trading relationships have provided a solid foundation for our expansion into new markets. We approach every transaction with a client-centric philosophy. Our reputation was built on this platform and our global standing depends on maintaining these ideals.”

Richa Food is registered with Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI). With a fully-abled and resourceful warehouse, Richa Food can cater to any demand in the region with exports to Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The company has a trade presence in more than 30 countries. “Our commitment towards quality, timely delivery, coupled with ethical business policies and sound understanding of customer requirements, has earned us the trust of our esteemed clients. Our customer centric approach, coupled with a clear vision, insight and pioneering innovation, have helped Richa Food to grow multifold within a short span of a few years. Our efficient management and customer service teams pay utmost attention to detail to offer the finest quality products and ensure the selection of the finest quality materials."

What next

“I am blessed with a great family. My wife and I have three children. Our eldest daughter Roshni Nimit Palija, younger daughter Richa Harwani, who is a graphic designer and son Gaurav Harwani; they are all a blessing. My son is 20 years of age, and has graduated from SAE University, Australia with a degree in audio engineering.”

“I am thankful to God for giving me such beautiful and loving family. Going forward, I want to do good for people in need. I never imagined that one day I would be a millionaire . But God has been kind. I want to help someone become a millionaire too. The least I can do.”

He said the UAE is a place for everyone. “Imagine someone like me with a humble root can rise so high. It tells you a lot about the UAE and what a tolerant nation it is. It is truly a land of opportunity and makes dreams come true for people with patience and motivation.”

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