ABOUT US

Girish D Kulakarni

Profile:

Technocrat Reaserch & Development engineer on power conditioning products, Renewable energy
Educational accomplishments Diploma & AMIE Electronics & communication. Engineering
Company .
Former employee service in charge at Vediocon VCR Limted.
CEO of Powertron Engineering Services.
Product range into manufacturing of High end UPS systems, lead acid/SMF Batteries, stabilizers, isolation transformers, solar Power plants, inverters, etc,
26 plus years of experience.
Passionate Into organic forming spreading & educating generation to adopt green energy solutions.
Rotarian present President of Rotary Bangalore Shankarpuram
Former Executive council member Laghu Udyog Bharathi Karnataka to support MSME’s
Thanks

Following the Sun for Business Power

Born into an agricultural family with no exposure to entrepreneurial skills, Mr. Girish Kulkarni has taken giant strides as an entrepreneur. First as the proprietor of Powertron and now as the director of Mayuka which marks a milestone in the UPS industry, Mr Kulkarni is instrumental in pioneering a business paradigm. In an hour-long interview with Bhushan Kudali of Industrial Spectrum, Mr Kulkarni retraces his journey as an entrepreneur. Excerpts of the interview

Please tell us about your journey as an entrepreneur and what lead you to become one.

I was born and brought up in a fantastic agrarian village near Shimoga. I lost my father very early in life, when I was just 11 years old. My elder brother Mr. Ravi Shanbhog took the responsibility to further my education and I studied on scholarships and completed my diploma in electronics. I started my career as a lecturer I also used to make small FM radios as a youngster. I later came to Bangalore in search of better job opportunities and started working in a company. I found employment but had to overcome a lot of inhibitions typical of a small-towner. I knew Hindi well but was a hesitant speaker I was influenced by industrialists, their attitude, and their capability to provide employment instead of being employed always impressed me My intention was to learn about the industry as I wanted to start an industry. I said to myself, ‘Let me try this Working is different and giving a job to others is different. So I wanted to learn more about electronics, technology as well as business because what I had learnt in my diploma was not enough to start a company. I joined a company called Electromech to learn more and I did gain good knowledge there. I realised that knowledge about a product as well as about the technology behind it was important if I had to start on my own. Depending on others for these basics wasn’t going to take me anywhere. I worked for a period of 1 year and 8 months. Later I joined a Videocon-authorised service company. But the company closed after a while due to various reasons. This is when a friend of mine, Mr Shashidhar, encouraged me to start on my own. He gave me the confidence, assured me of his support and gave me an order for Rs 11000. My initial investment was 40,000

Once my clients were confident the business grew manifold. Now I can say I am enjoying my work; I have given work to a few people. With the initial struggle behind me I can now safely say I am comfortable What are the issues you face as an industry now? Our industry, despite giving good revenue to the government, hasn’t received its due recognition. We are dealing with our own issues. We are grappling with taxation problems. Uniformity in taxation is lacking. For example, while UPS is charged a VAT of 5.5%, tax for input materials like transformers, box, and close to 50 percent of the raw materials, is at 14.5 percent. We finally have to approach the government for refund. It is an additional burden for proprietors in terms of time and effort. Of course, in 2003 I was helped to a great extent by the government of Karnataka. UPS and battery were sold as two different units then with UPS attracting 4 percent tax and battery 13 percent. We obtained an advance ruling that if battery is sold within UPS then it would be charged at 4 percent. This was a very big benefit. Does the inverter industry make any concerted effort for the common good of the industry? UPS Manufacturers and Dealers Association has looked into the issues the industry faces and has worked for the industry in the past. A few of us, like-minded proprietors of small units, have now come together to form a consortium. What was not possible for us as individuals, this consortium has helped us achieve. We have a centralised manufacturing unit and have united 23 units to form Mayuka Power Products Pvt Ltd, where UPS and inverter systems are manufactured in mass. We have sorted out challenges like manpower issues, infrastructure, risk of service, low business volumes, high production cost and so on. Only fabrication is outsourced, we are doing everything eise in-house. We have continuous manufacturing. We have stuck as well as systems against orders. Laghu Udyog Bharati – Karnataka has supported us a lot and has advised us to look into cluster-approach to get more benefits. We are now looking at the pros and cons of that. While cluster approach has its logic as the government will provide infrastructure and machinery, which are investment-intensive, the plant and machinery belongs to the government. We are still con dering the option the initial stages, we can utilize cluster as a support as a stepping stone especially where investments into crores of rupees.

With all the support you received, it was still a risk to start the business investing Rs 40000.

Initially, I started only trading and servicing, not manufacturing. There was no need for investment. Sales were limited to small, local makes of products that we branded. When the volumes increased, it was not feasible from business, technical and service point of view, to depend on the local vendors. I had to invest to grow as my support system had to be expanded and I felt the need to have stricter control over quality of the products I was selling. In 2003 I started manufacturing officially. We started manufacturing inverters with capacity up to 5kva with our own technology, brand, and design. Then online enquiries started coming in. In about a year and a half, I had established my business and my reputation. I was successful in winning over the confidence of people

Once my clients were confident the business grew manifold. Now I can say I am enjoying my work; I have given work to a few people. With the initial struggle behind me I can now safely say I am comfortable What are the issues you face as an industry now? Our industry, despite giving good revenue to the government, hasn’t received its due recognition. We are dealing with our own issues. We are grappling with taxation problems. Uniformity in taxation is lacking. For example, while UPS is charged a VAT of 5.5%, tax for input materials like transformers, box, and close to 50 percent of the raw materials, is at 14.5 percent. We finally have to approach the government for refund. It is an additional burden for proprietors in terms of time and effort. Of course, in 2003 I was helped to a great extent by the government of Karnataka. UPS and battery were sold as two different units then with UPS attracting 4 percent tax and battery 13 percent. We obtained an advance ruling that if battery is sold within UPS then it would be charged at 4 percent. This was a very big benefit. Does the inverter industry make any concerted effort for the common good of the industry? UPS Manufacturers and Dealers Association has looked into the issues the industry faces and has worked for the industry in the past. A few of us, like-minded proprietors of small units, have now come together to form a consortium. What was not possible for us as individuals, this consortium has helped us achieve. We have a centralised manufacturing unit and have united 23 units to form Mayuka Power Products Pvt Ltd, where UPS and inverter systems are manufactured in mass. We have sorted out challenges like manpower issues, infrastructure, risk of service, low business volumes, high production cost and so on. Only fabrication is outsourced, we are doing everything eise in-house. We have continuous manufacturing. We have stuck as well as systems against orders. Laghu Udyog Bharati – Karnataka has supported us a lot and has advised us to look into cluster-approach to get more benefits. We are now looking at the pros and cons of that. While cluster approach has its logic as the government will provide infrastructure and machinery, which are investment-intensive, the plant and machinery belongs to the government. We are still con dering the option the initial stages, we can utilize cluster as a support as a stepping stone especially where investments into crores of rupees.

Any other areas where government can be more proactive to assist MSMEs in general and your industry in particular? In this industry, there is demand for solar. The solar compatible inverters should be encouraged. What I suggest is that individual power generators, even homes that harness solar energy, should be able to connect to the power grid. This way, the extra power generated by homes and industries can be distributed by various ESCOMs. if a person has solar-enabled inverter at home, he may have extra power, which will be wasted Solar inverters demand high investments When power is wasted, investment is wasted or is idle But if we can connect the same to a grid and utilise the power while a suitable compensation is paid to the inverter-owner, it is a win-win situation. Is it possible in reality for independent homes to generate enough power to fulfil their requirement? Definitely it is possible. Or are we talking about large houses/farm houses with big enough floor area where space is not a constraint? This is one positive situation On the other hand, if people see benefit, independent homes too will opt for inverters with higher capacity at a higher investment. In Shringeri Mutt, we have installed a 5 kVA solar inverter in the temple and in a few hospitals in Kasargod and Malavalli as well. Power is generated through the day whether it is being used or not. When not in use. for example during breaks, weekends and holidays, the power generated can be tied to the grid for larger usage. There is definitely benefit for all here, even if it is to a small extent What are the technical difficulties in making this a reality? There are no doubt a few technical issues but we can achieve compatibility. It is possible.

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