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Farooq Amin – Successful Businessman from Kashmir, India

When an individual is born in a business family, it is pretty obvious for him to take over the family’s business after a while and be appointed directly as the MD, CEO, or President of the company. And, this happens in most cases.

However, a few exceptions make us wonder! One such exception is Farooq Amin, the CEO of Kanwal Foods. Despite being born in a business family and being the owner’s son, Farooq worked his way up to reach the highest position in the company. Over a decade ago, he was one among the five Kashmiris that the world should know, by Business Today. Today, he isn’t only an entrepreneur but an inspiration for many aspiring entrepreneurs across the valley.

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Background of Farooq Amin and Kanwal Foods and Spices

Farooq entered Kanwal Food and Spices (established in 1977 by his father) at 16. Initially, he spent his winter vacations interacting with grocery shop owners in Srinagar, Sopore, and Baramulla. Amin’s father identified the potential of these interactions, which worked in the company’s favor, as it led to significant sales growth.

However, Amin wasn’t given a glamorous title in the company. He was trained as a shopkeeper first, then as a supervisor in one of the production units, and further as a manager.

Later, Amin traveled to the UK for an MBA and returned in 2002. Further, he took over sales and marketing after returning from the UK and expanded the company significantly. From a small unit in Khanabal to 12 factories across three states, including J&K, Karnataka, and Delhi, Kanwal has become a highly prestigious name across the food & beverage industry.

Over the years, the company has introduced the latest machinery, high-tech management systems, and quality control cells within its workflows. Today, it is a reputed exporter of spices and foods and has evolved to meet global standards.

Winning the National Award!

Kanwal won the National Award in 2002 in Delhi. Until then, it was the only brand from the northern part of the country to win a National Award in spices. However, the company has been the recipient of several other awards such as the Gem of India Award, Udyog Patre Award, Rashtriya Gaurav Award, and many others.

Farooq’s Future Plans

Farooq aims to make Kanwal a global market leader in spices. He also intends to make Kashmir a self-sufficient state in the FMCG sector, which means the state wouldn’t have to use any brands from any other state. Additionally, Amin dreams of providing employment to the majority of Kashmiris and making Kanwal a household name in the world.

Farooq’s Role Model

Amin considers his father his role model, as he has learned a lot from him. It is his father, who envisaged the need to provide excellent quality packed spices in Kashmir, and it is he who identified his son’s potential in making dreams come true. His guidance, entrepreneurial spirit, and vision have helped Farooq scale heights and achieve success.

Positions Held by Farooq Amin

Farooq has held several positions throughout his career. Some of them include,

–   Executive Member and then the General Secretary of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industries (KCC&I)

–   CII (J&K Council)

–   Member of the Board of Directors of the Khadi & Village Industries Board (KVIB) of the J&K Government

–   Part of a high-level Indian delegation to Dubai, showcasing Kashmiri products at the UAE-India Food Security Summit, 2020.

–   Part of the board of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology SKUAST, Kashmir

–   Appointed to the state government’s Directorate of Employment’s Overseas Labour Board

–   Appointed to the Advisory Board of the Jammu & Kashmir Advisory Board for the Development of Kisans

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Kashmir’s Business Potential from Farooq Amin’s Viewpoint

In Farooq’s view, Kashmir has tremendous potential for business and has a substantial amount of talent. However, he feels, people do not want to take risks. They do not want to compete with international brands. So, to leverage the potential of the state and help it grow, Farooq feels, people should step out and invest money.

Farooq’s vision, aspirations, entrepreneurial approach and success are a case study for young budding entrepreneurs across the valley. With everything he has done until now, and everything he plans to do, undoubtedly serves as an inspiration. Let’s hope more such visionaries and focused entrepreneurs like Farooq emerge across the valley.

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