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An engineer by Profession, Syed Iqram is of one the very few entrepreneurs of Kashmir who have ventured into the power sector. Hailing from Srinagar’s Rawalpora locality, Iqram completed his Bachelors in Engineering (BE) from Regional Engineering College, Srinagar in 1997.
He started his career working with companies like Whirlpool & BHEL as a manager and gained quite a handful of experience before he started his own company named S.A Power Utilities Pvt. Ltd. The company purely deals with power infra structure, transmission and distribution and IT implementation in the power sector.
When Iqram floated the idea of starting his own venture at home he was given no support. But he always believed in himself and went ahead with the decision. “It is never an easy call to take such a decision in Kashmir where we have the concept of hankering after government jobs. But I always believed that it was better to hire than get hired,” says Iqram
The challenge he faced as an aspiring entrepreneur was unfavourable and unsupportive government set-up and regulations in J&K. Power generation and distribution, he says, had always been state controlled and most of the supplies or infrastructure requirements were met either directly through the state power development department or outsourced to companies outside the state.
“But I worked hard to develop contacts and rapport at the various levels of state government to get myself some work,” he says.
Iqram founded S.A Power Utilities Pvt. Ltd with a seed capital of Rs.4 lacs which he had saved from his previous jobs. Today his company employs more than 25 employees which include two females. The company’s turn over in financial year 2007-08 was Rs 1 Crore and in 2011-2012 it crossed over Rs 20 Crores. S. A. Power Utilities Pvt. Ltd aims to reach a turn over of Rs100 Crores in the next year. To achieve this milestone, the company is managing partnerships with some well know names from outside the state.
His personal experience and diligent work force has made huge contribution in the success of his venture. He is confident to make S.A Power Utilities Pvt. Ltd a leading player in the state and looks forward to work in the national markets as well. With ample experience in the field, Iqram is optimistic of his future in power sector.
Iqram as a person likes to face challenges but he says doing business in Kashmir in itself is a challenge. “We are operating in a volatile political situation, so it is always better to be prepared to face shutdowns and hartals which might even span into months altogether,” he says. The protracted shutdowns following the public uprisings in 2008 and 2010 hit the company hardly. However, due to strong foundation it managed to resume the operations and do good business.
The primary source of projects for S.A Power Utilities Pvt. Ltd is state government. The company has to its credit many small projects which it managed to complete on time and within budget. The company has already become a preferred service provider for the state power department.
Like every amateur young entrepreneur, Iqram says, he too committed silly mistakes. “But one needs to learn from mistakes—big and small. I have also learnt a lot from my mistakes.”
His advice to youth of Kashmir is not to be afraid of failures and move ahead and work hard towards realizing your dreams.
“No doubt you will face tremendous hurdles and challenges but opportunities in Kashmir are countless which need to be cashed.”