In the times of difficulty, the easiest option is to give up and blame your luck, but, there are individuals who make the best out of the worst.As for young Menon, he lost his father when he was just 10 years old. He struggled to complete his primary education, but the family could not afford to get him through the college. As a result, he had to drop out while he was pursuing B. Com. Yet, his spirits did not die. He started doing interiors and designing jobs at small firms without taking any professional education.
The Dubai-based entrepreneur, who made his millions building palaces for the Gulf’s ruling families here is his story.
Menon’s story begins in an idyllic Kerala village named Moolamcode where he was the fourth of five children. His father ran a successful transport company. But the family’s comfortable early life was disrupted when Menon was 10–his father died. Struggling all the way to college, the son eventually dropped out and in the early 1970s set up a small outfit making wooden furniture.
When Menon was 28 he had a chance meeting at a Cochin hotel with Sulaiman Al Adawi, then a captain in the army of the Sultanate of Oman. Al Adawi was in Kerala to purchase a fishing boat, and he encouraged the young furniture guy to come to Oman, an invitation that would change Menon’s life.It was during this period that P.N.C Menon learnt some of the most important lessons of his life.Turning Rs.50 into Crores.
Menon went to Oman with Rs.50 in hand,In 1970s, it was really difficult to get loan, but Menon took it as a challenge. He somehow managed to get a loan of 3,000 rial from the bank to establish an interior decor firm.By the time he did that,he had established his requirement of business and then it was a growth story. Within 4-6 years, his most prestigious client was the Diwan of Oman and got job from the Diwan. Then from that onwards till today he has been working for the Diwan continuously doing palaces etc for the last 40 years.
One contract led to another, and within a few years the Royal Diwan of Oman, the Sultan’s administrative offices, became a client. Soon the firm started doing interiors for royal palaces.
Later, in 1995, as new avenues opened up in the area of real estate, Menon started Sobha Developers (named after his wife) in South India. Around in 2008, Menon was consulted by Narayan Murthy to design the first campus of Infosys in Bangalore.
The road of entrepreneurship is not smooth. During 2008-09, he again faced financial challenges. Menon managed to sail through that storm as well.
He has adopted two villages in the state and provides facilities for the part of their populations that are below the poverty line?about 2,500 families. “Even though I am settled in Dubai, I think India will always be home,” he says.
“God gives opportunities for some people to make money while others do not make any. When an opportunity is given to you, you should not take it for granted. I don’t think sharing is an obligation, I don’t think it’s a charity. We owe it to society,” he says, adding that he will eventually give 50 percent of his fortune away to fund charity projects in India and Oman.
Entrepreneurship does take a litmus test of your efforts and perseverance, but the result is worth it.“I’ve never had a moment wherein I’ve felt happy that I’ve done something. I am a completely unsatisfied person.” says Menon.The story of P.N.C.Menon, the self-made entrepreneur, makes one believe that if it is to be someone, then it is up to me.
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