Gandhian entrepreneurship – Kamalnayan Bajaj, architect of the Bajaj Group

Kamalnayan Bajaj, Piaggio

Gandhian entrepreneurship – Kamalnayan Bajaj, architect of the Bajaj Group

Tuesday, 17 May 2016 - 2:00pm
Fellows' Dining Room
Gita Piramal (Business Historian, Mumbai; Saïd Business School)
Dr F Devji
South Asia Seminar

Can a company be both a commercial success and a social enterprise? Kamalnayan Bajaj (1915-1972) proved it is possible. Between 1942 and 1972, the group grew from a debt-riddled position to become India’s 19th largest business group. Kamalnayan inherited four factories, acquired five more, and built fourteen greenfield plants in businesses such as scooters, sugar, cement, consumer electricals and more. CAGR growth in sales was 17% and profit 15% at a time when India, battered by partition, wars, restless internal security and endemic shortages of money and material, managed a ‘Hindu’ CAGR of 1.9%. He was a Gandhian who grew up in an ashram under the tutelage of Acharya Vinoba Bhave. Kamalnayan applied the values of his tutor, Gandhi and his father Jamnalal Bajaj, to his business. The presentation will describe examples of social enterprise established within the Bajaj group, and explore the factors behind Kamalnayan’s success.

Currently an academic researcher at the University of Oxford, Dr Gita Piramal is a business historian and chronicler of corporate India. Earlier, Gita has enjoyed being an entrepreneur and businesswoman, an editor and journalist.Dr Gita Piramal is author of six major best-sellers: Business Maharajas, Business Legends, Managing Radical Change, World Class in India, Business Mantras and India’s Industrialists. Gita’s case studies can be found in the European Case Clearing House, one of three such global organizations. Gita has conceptualized and created content for three best-selling, award-winning programs for CNBC-TV18; and scripted, edited, and featured or anchored over 100 television documentaries besides contributing over 1,500 articles for international and Indian publications.
Dr Gita Piramal has also played the roles of an entrepreneur and mentor. Gita founded and edited The Smart Manager (2002-2012), India’s first world class management magazine, headed ERGO, India’s leading office furniture company (2005-2012), was a Director of VIP Luggage (1990-2005), the world’s second biggest luggage company, and involved with other family businesses. Gita is currently on the boards of Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Finserv and Bajaj Holdings & Investments, besides her own group companies.
A member of the Governing Board of Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research, Dr Gita Piramal is a member also of the World Presidents’ Organization and of the London Business School’s Global Advisory Council. Gita holds a PhD in Business History from Bombay University. She divides her time between Oxford, London and Mumbai.

This seminar series is organised with the support of the History Faculty.