One man who is realizing his dreams is businessman Dr. Davish Jain, an industrialist and educationist whose ambitions extend well beyond the city and the country of his birth.
Dr. Davish Jain is the 61 years old unretired, dynamic and forward looking industrialist, who has inherited the vision and foresight of his illustrious father Dr. N.N. Jain, widely acknowledged as a ‘Living Legend’ in India’s oilseeds sector. In a span of 40 years, Davish Jain has come to be regarded as one of the most knowledgeable Agri-business specialists having, extensive contacts with key global players. He is widely appreciated for his innovative initiatives to put Indian oilseeds sector on firm footing by drawing up a road-map for sustained increase in oilseeds production as well as productivity. Dr. Davish Jain is currently the Chairman of The Soybean Processors Association of India, (SOPA), Vice Chairman of Prestige Education Society (PES), Indore and is a very learned, experienced and respected person in the soybean sector, including food, oil, feed and oilseed in India and Internationally. Besides this, he is a great thinker, educationist and social motivator.
He was very aptly awarded the title of “Man with a Vision and Mission” by leading Magazine ‘Oils & Fats Industry in South Asia’, in the year 2002. He was complimented for his passion for the soya industry and clarity of perception, buttressed by purposeful advocacy of its vital interests. He was conferred upon D.Litt. in 2018 and D.Sc. in 2013 to acknowledge his outstanding contribution in the fields of Education, Industrial Development and Philanthropy. He had also earned M.Phil. and Ph.D. on the subjects “Impact on Soybean on Indian and Global Economy”. Dr. Davish Jain has also been active in the fields of community service and social welfare. He has helped many educational causes such as Literacy Mission where the Prestige group imparts knowledge to the deprived.
You are the eldest son of Jain family -- a respected and well-known business family which has done some pretty extraordinary feats of business. What does it feel like to be heading all that? Tell us from the beginning.
It’s a very proud feeling and I think it is an honor to be associated with something which gives you a sense of tremendous responsibility along with achievement. One feels very blessed to be born into a family like this. You see, my father migrated from West Pakistan during partition and landed in India at Delhi, where initially he, with his family, lived in a refugee camp for a month. After almost 30 years of service, he decided to be an entrepreneur. Today, the Prestige group has a number of diversified industries including soybean processing solvent extraction plants, edible oil refineries, animal feed mills, flour mills, LPG cylinder manufacturing units. The Prestige Education Society promoted by him today runs nine educational institutions in its repertoire—four management institutions, two law institutions, one engineering institution and two schools.
Prestige Group has been recognized as Trading House and a Star Export House by the Government of India. Prestige edible oil is the first branded Soybean Refined Oil in India. All PRESTIGE Units have ISO-9001:2015 and ISO-22000:2005 (HACCP) certification.
We are exporting to 40 countries; the group turnover today is in excess of Rs. 1,000 crore.
The journey has not been easy. I am thankful to God who gave us the courage to stand together in hard times and also gave us the wisdom to apply innovative ideas to our business to bring it to this stature, but I still feel there is A LOT TO DO…
How old were you, when you were shadowing your father?
I have been an early starter in business, even before ‘Prestige’ was born. When my father was in service, I started a small scale industry, managing it during my teens and completed my education side-by-side in Indore.
When he left his job and started on his own, I joined him at the age of 20. Our first animal feed mill, first venture started in 1977 and very next year, we started exports. Bahrain was the first country to which we exported. I would say that was the start of the long journey. We never looked back....then it became a passion to explore one after another market for the country and was able to open many virgin markets for India.
What is the upside of working for a family business?
Oh it’s great feeling…. it gives the sense of continuity, pride and opportunity to build the future on the solid foundation of the past.
I won’t call it a downside but taking up a family business, the expectations are very high as the goals have been set high by your ancestors and it is a challenging task to do even better.
Indore is known as ‘Soya Capital’ of India and your contribution to make it possible cannot be ignored. What made you successful?
‘Successful’ is a very big term. My journey is not over yet, but yes my networking abilities, innovation in business and work ethics have helped me to accomplish my goals. Initially India used to produce only black Soybean in our state whereas; in other parts of the world it was yellow in color. So we started persuading the farmers to take up production of yellow beans. In early 80’s when it was 90% black and 10% yellow, by the turn of decade (90’s) black soybean got eradicated from the system and was replaced by 100% yellow Soybean. We actually surprised everybody by transforming the market on a sustainable basis internationally. So that was the period, I can tell you in 1981, when I started moving in the world markets on my own, establishing healthy relationship with the end users.
I have visited 60 plus countries for the business purpose. In the process, I created the kind of relations on personal basis which are unparalleled at least from India. So today, I would say that most of the top 500 companies of the world would know me by my name; this is something I greatly value and cherish. Relations and networking which I am able to make with them, probably distinguishes me from others.
You are very focused on growth but you are also very focused on giving back. How do you wish to give it back to the society?
God has been very kind to me…He provided me all the resources & opportunities in life. I want to return the same to the society. My aim is very clear… I want to create opportunities for the young talented students. I want to provide quality education at affordable cost to every student of our nation. We have come up with the campaign called ‘Literacy mission’. Under the flagship of this campaign we reach the deprived section of the society and impart education to them free of cost. We provide scholarship to our meritorious students every year irrespective of their caste, creed or culture. We also provide educational loans through JITO. To create an environment where women can make independent decisions on their personal development as well as shine as equals in society, a Women Empowerment Cell is in operation at Institute level. We at Prestige have also created a separate cell to groom our students and mark their presence in the international job market. The entrepreneurship cell provides a platform to our students to present their business ideas, encourage them to be an entrepreneur and to create employment for others. We have started incubation centre for business start ups and also started the skill development cell which is the need of an hour. I want our nation to rise high and this is possible only by uplifting the YOUTH POWER OF INDIA through quality education.
In addition, for society, Prestige Group has taken up the challenge to provide high protein soy based food for the masses to address malnutrition prevalent in India.
I am going to finish by asking you a very simple question, what is the Golden Rule you would offer to the youth?
Today’s generation is very intelligent and prompt because they have more exposure because of the information technology than us but with my 45 years of experience I would like to give them one mantra for real success… Before everything else, you must be disciplined and ethical in life and follow your goals with passion.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine