Chandigarh, 22nd August 2016: For most, a century may seem like an eternity, but for the Chowgule Group, which completes 100 years as a business entity this year, the last 100 years have been all about carving out one inspirational landmark after another, in the glorious socio-economic history of Goa.
At a celebratory function held at Grand Hyatt Goa organized to mark this historic centennial landmark, Honourable Defence Minister of the Government of India Mr. Manohar Parrikar released a coffee-table book, which encapsulates this tremendous path-breaking journey of the Chowgule Group in pictures and short essays. The book’s narrative is in both, English and Marathi languages. The book has been authored by well known Mumbai-based writer Nilu Damle.
A logo for the centenary year was released at the hands of Mr. Parrikar in the presence of the Chowgule family. A short film about the achievements of the group through the 100 years was also screened at the centenary celebration.
Mrs. Mridula Sinha, honourable Governor of Goa said “I am happy to see the four generations come together to celebrate 100 years of the Chowgule Group. It's the family values imbibed by the elders which has translated into the creation of this big family - the Chowgule Group. The Chowgule name is tied in and is an integral part of Goan's industrial journey. I wish the Chowgule Group all the best in the many years to come.”
Mr. Manohar Parrikar, honourable Defense Minister of India said “I congratulate the Chowgule Group on this wonderful achievement. It makes me proud that a Goan company has made such significant progress across 100 years. Innovation has always been the hallmark of the Chowgule Group ever since its mining days. Excellence in education has been a focus area of the company which lead to Chowgule College being awarded autonomy making it Goa's first autonomous college.”
Mr.Vijay Chowgule, honourable Chairman and Managing Director, Chowgule Group said “It's the centennial year of the Chowgule Group. It's been 100 years since the start of this journey and it hasn't come easy. The company was started by my grandfather from humble beginnings and has grown to what it is today. I have been fortunate to work closely with the many architects of Goa's industrial growth - my grandfather, father, uncles and brothers. I learned so much from each of them. The journey over 100 years has had good and hard times and we are delighted to cross the 100 mark.
Post liberation we played our part in the industrialisation of the state. We grew our business and sought success across industries. Our businesses were built from scratch but we stayed on top of things using technology, innovation and good business practices.”
The Chowgule Group has an illustrious history. When Shri Dattajirao Nathaji Chowgule founded his trading company, D.N.Chowgule and Sons the world was a much different place than it is now. Goa was still under Portuguese rule and the World War I was raging in Europe.
It was in the shadow of this tumultuous era that a young Vishwasrao D Chowgule, formerly employed as a tele-clerk at the Vasco port, joined the family business started by his father and eventually over the years turned into the architect of modern Goa.
Vishwasrao’s firm grasp of market requirements and sharp business acumen transformed this humble trading company into a flourishing business empire over the years. His first major contribution towards this transformation, was to understand the market requirements in Goa and the needs of European markets as well, thanks to his stint at the port, where he kept a close watch on goods which came to Goa and went out of the State. He moved swiftly, by starting an import-export business to fill in the gaps in the demand and supply chain.
Vishwasrao also observed the great demand for iron ore in Japan. He carried out an extensive search for deposits of raw iron in Goa and travelled to far off places in the scorching sun in his quest for quality ore. Once the ore deposits were identified, he took the land masses on lease and developed mines in Goa.
His next challenge was to modernize and mechanise mining operations, which was the need of the hour as demand for ore grew manifold. But all this required huge capital.
Adopting a unique combination of practical, down to-earth-approach and a ‘vision’, the Company under Vishwasrao’s leadership devised a new theory for success, which came to be known within the group as the ‘Chowgule Formula’.
The Japanese would loan out equipment, men and money to mechanize their mines and the Company would repay the loan through the cost of the ore exported. The brilliant strategy boosted the volume of iron ore exports from Goa significantly and the Chowgule Group flourished as a result.
Regarded as one of the pioneer of industrialization in the state, Vishwasrao Chowgule fought against the odds to create what he believed in. A philanthropist at heart, he founded Smt. Parvatibai Chowgule College in the year 1962. He had a clear vision for the college and was committed to advancement in the field of education. Founded in memory of his mother, the college was inaugurated by a woman, the then External Minister Mrs. Lakshmi Menon on 23rd June 1962. Since then the college has come a long way under the able guidance of the trustees of the Chowgule College Society and has achieved numerous milestones in the field of education, sports, academics and cultural events.
Vishwasrao travelled extensively in India and abroad. He had a curious mind and a ceaseless passion to get acquainted with new things. Vishwasrao searched and made available novel items that had a great demand in the market. He expanded the import and export trading and agency activities. He developed advanced production systems for the manufacturing of goods such as cement, salt, beer, explosives, yarn, cloth, ships etc.
Apart from production, Vishwasrao concentrated on trading and transport essential for it. He purchased ships and started the water-based transportation business. Following the guidelines chalked out by Vishwasrao, the Group made tremendous progress in shipping industry. Facilities such as repairs and maintenance of ports and ships were initiated.
Vishwasrao developed business while also maintaining great discipline. He did not believe in just making profits and using the profits only for the benefit of his own family. He firmly believed, that a business develops only with help from society and that is why it is our responsibility to return the social debt. As a result, the Chowgule Group established and maintained schools, colleges, libraries, gyms and gymkhanas etc. Realizing the need of the people of Konkan to commute along the length of the region, the Chowgule Group started the Konknan Sevak Water transport service at the cost of bearing losses.
A Group built on foundations of ceaseless endeavor and foresight besides speeding up the pace of industrialization, also creates employment opportunities, respects environment and most importantly, discharges social responsibility.
Chowgule Group of Industries signified Vishwasrao and Vishwasrao epitomized hard-work, determination, imaginativeness, honesty and social binding, a powerful and harmonizing combination which has held the empire in good stead over most part of the century.
This is indeed the new ‘Chowgule Formula’ which will form the sum and substance of the Group’s march ahead in the centenary year and beyond.
About Chowgule Group:
From modest beginnings in 1916, The Chowgule Group has burgeoned into an industrial empire. Looking outward, it blazed a technological trail, transforming itself from a trading outfit into a profitable conglomerate where technological and management sophistication co-exist with a simple traditional people-oriented outlook, gleaned from its beginnings.
Diversification into strategic fields is the driving force behind Chowgules. It is closely linked to the needs of a fast developing nation. Today, Chowgules are leaders in a range of critical activities in the core sector of India’s Industry: Iron Ore Mining, Pelletization, Exports, Shipbuilding, Cranes, Ship owners operating in the International Tramp Trade, Industrial Explosives, Industrial Salt, Industrial Gases, Waterproofing products, Agency, Logistics, Insurance Services and Marketing Agencies.
A Group built on foundations of ceaseless endeavor and foresight besides speeding up the pace of industrialization, creates employment opportunities, respects environment and, most important, discharges social responsibility.
Today, Chowgule Group is advancing ahead contributing immensely to the Socio-Economic Development of Goa and the Country.