Karsanbhai Patel

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Dr. Karsanbhai Khodidas Patel (b. 1945, Ruppur, Mehsana, Gujarat) is an Indian industrialist, founder of the Rs. 2500 crore (USD 500 mn) Nirma group with major interests in detergents, soaps and cosmetics. In 2005 Forbes listed his net worth as USD $640 million. He has interests in education, and founded a leading engineering college, the Nirma Institute of Technology. He is sometimes referred to as Dr. K.K. Patel.


BIODATABorn into a farmer family from north Gujarat, Karsanbhai finished his B.Sc. in Chemistry at age 21 and worked as a lab technician, first in the New Cotton Mills, Ahmedabad, of the Lalbhai group and then at the Geology and Mining Department of the state Government. In 1969, Karsanbhai set up Nirma, (named after daughter Nirupama) selling detergent powder.This was an after-office business - the one-mancompany would bicycle through the neighbourhoods selling handmade detergentpackets door to door. At a price of Rs. 3 per kg, (one third the price ofleading detergents), it was an instant success.

After three years, Karsanbhai felt confident enough to quit hisjob. Later he said:
The lack of any such precedent in my family made the venture fraught with fear of failure. But farmers from North Gujarat are known for their spirit of enterprise."
Karsanbhai set up shop at small workshop in an Ahmedabad suburb. The Nirma brandquickly established itself in Gujarat andMaharashtra.

The high quality and low price of the detergent made for great value.Fueled...
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