Dr. Vijay Sankeshwara has come a long way from owning a single truck to supervising a fleet of 4,300 vehicles. Earlier, the decision of young 19-year-old Vijay to enter into transport business stunned his father. But now after becoming an industry tycoon leading Rs.18,00 crore listed company, VRL Logistics Limited as the CMD, the decision certainly has proved to be more than just right.
Owner Of Largest Fleet Of Commercial Vehicles In India
Sankeshwar launched his feet in the transport business with a single truck in 1976 with Vijay Transport. At 65, today he is the owner of the largest fleet of commercial vehicles in the private sector of the country with 400 buses and 3,900 trucks. The company has around 1500 employees and apart from transportation, it also has stakes in courier service, air chartering business, windmills, and publishing.
Initially, VRL Group had a turnover of Rs. 2 lakh. As of now, the turnover of its publishing house, VRL Media Limited Group, a part of the Sankeshwar’s conglomerate is Rs. 300 crore. The success journey of Sankeshwar from being an unassuming man from North Karnataka’s Gadag to a business tycoon is indeed incredulous.
Talking about the risk he took by stepping out of the comfort zone of his family business, Sankeshwar said, “I took a big risk. It was tough trying my luck in this unorganized sector. I suffered severe losses. My parents and wife wanted me to return to the family business. Local icons, who were already in the transport business for four to five years, advised me against my decision to stay put; either because they had seen the tough side of the business or because they did not want a new player in the field. I realized that if I didn’t take risks, I will never succeed.”
Sankeshwar’s Critical Decision Made His Life
Vijay Sankeshwar’s father ran a family business of publishing and printing books and wanted his fourth child as well to join his other siblings. He even gifted Vijay a printing press in 1966 at the age of 16 with only a small set up of one machine and two employees. They printed Karnataka University answer sheets, dictionary, school textbooks, and magazines.
But at the age of 19, he bought modern machinery worth more than one lakh rupees and expanded his printing business.
But even then he was on the lookout for a business that can start with a capital of 2 to 3 lakhs. That is when he stumbled upon transport, stepped out of the comfort zone and took the critical decision to venture into the field of transport.
Fire in me propeller me to press on
While reminiscing his days of struggle, Sankeshwar says, “Handling drivers was not easy. I suffered severe losses and frequent accidents of vehicles. Not deterred by these setbacks, I worked hard to reach my goal.”
Apart from that, he was also humiliated by his friends, kin, and kith for venturing into the transport business. Sankeswar recounts, “However, the fire in me propelled me to press on. I added one more truck after three years, operating point-to-point between Gadag and Hubballi.”
Once politically active, starting his career with BJP and then later on merging his own Kannada Nadu Party with JD, he nowadays is far away from politics. Sankeshwar is the recipient of so many awards including Aaryabhatta Award, Udyog Ratna, Transport Samrat, and Sir. M Visvesvaraya Memorial Award. The Karnataka University, Dharward conferred upon him an honorary Doctorate in 2014.
The success journey of Sankeshwar is an inspiration for those who want to take a new leap through entrepreneurship.
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