A true rags-to-riches story, Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani, has been undisputedly India’s most enterprising entrepreneur. Born in a gujarati family Dhirubai moved toYemen at the age of 16, where he worked as a dispatch clerk with A. Besse & Co.
After working in Dubai for sometime he later returned to India where he founded the Reliance Commercial Corporation with a meager capital of Rs. 15000. He set up the business in partnership with Champaklal Damani from whom he split in 1965.
The Entrepreneurial Journey
During the time, Dhirubhai Ambani and his family members were living in two BHK apartment. In 1956, their partnership (Dhirubhai Ambani and Champaklal) got ended. It believed that both had a different point of view to run a business this is why their partnership didn’t work out very well. Ambani had good marketing knowledge, he was also known as a risk-taker and believed that in building inventories to rise income. In 1966 he launched a company called Reliance Commercial Corporation which later renamed the company, now this company known as Reliance industries.
He soon expanded into other commodities, following a strategy of offering higher-quality products and accepting smaller profits than his competitors. His business grew quickly. After deciding that the corporation had gone as far as it could with commodities, Ambani turned his attention to synthetic textiles. He made his first foray into backward integration with the opening of the first Reliance textile mill in 1966. Continuing a policy of backward integration and diversification, he gradually shaped Reliance into a petrochemicals behemoth and later added plastics and power generation to the company’s businesses.
In 1977 Ambani took Reliance public after nationalized banks refused to finance him. His agility in navigating a stodgy economy and crippling government regulations and bureaucracy led to allegations of political manipulation, corruption, and engineered raids on competitors, but investor confidence in Reliance remained unshaken—owing in part to the handsome dividends the company offered, as well as the founder’s charisma and vision. Ambani was credited with introducing the stock market to the average investor in India, and thousands attended the Reliance annual general meetings, which were sometimes held in a sports stadium, with many more watching on television.