Ahmed Ali Nalwala’s journey to the UAE’s shores is interesting to say the least. This Sydenham boy was sent to Dubai to literally man his father’s store in Deira. Coming from a manufacturing family, who dealt primarily in pipes, their outlet in Deira dealt with the dissemination of material across the Gulf and further afield. When riots threatened in Bombay, the family realized that they would need to restructure and Ahmed landed in Dubai, a
city that was about to be an integral feature in his growth and success.
The shop itself didn’t work for Ahmed and he only lasted about 8 months! Pulling the three shop employees with him, he entered the realm of manufacturing himself, but this time he went with adhesives and tapes. Though these two products still exist, the company has diversified and gone from strength to strength with aerosols, construction chemicals, plastics et cetera being added to their body of work. The company currently has a presence in 56 countries. No small feat for something that essentially had its roots in a little shop around the corner.
Strangely enough, for Ahmed, adversity has been his biggest benefactor! He goes on to clarify that he feels that people don’t listen to new ideas or products when things are going swimmingly. When the chips are down however, they tend to be more receptive to a course correction. His ideas have always taken root in adverse situations.
Ahmed is a people’s person, evidenced in the fact that he considers his biggest strength to be the loyalty he enjoys in his workforce. Most of the people who started their careers with him are still with him.
If he had to change one thing about him he would change the speed at which he executes ideas to get them to match the speed the ideas themselves come to him. Currently he has about a hundred ideas but can realistically execute only about two.
His firm recommendation is if you’re lucky enough to come from a business family, your comprehensive MBA will seamlessly come from just holding your father’s briefcase and driving him around. Nothing can match that. He attributes both his work ethic and drive to those weekends he spent in the company of his father at work.
Greed has a bad reputation and grossly undeserved in his opinon, because Ahmed staunchly believes that greed is a motivator not to be trifled with. Greed for freedom, better quality, love, security, longevity, travel, peace et cetera. ‘Greed keeps us alive, keeps us relevant’ he signs off with a distinct smile in his voice.