“If results are helping you to achieve the purpose of your life, it is the success.” – Definition of success for PC Mustafa
The world has always been very fair for those who want it to make it large through their hard work and dedication. We have another such inspiring story of PC Mustafa, the CEO, and Co-founder of ID Fresh Food Company. PC Mustafa, whose father was a coolie and he himself failed in class 6, now owns a business of more than 100 crores. He is on his way to change the concept of fresh homemade food in his fresh food business of packaged Idli and Dosa batter.
Mustafa was born and brought up in Chennalode, a remote village in Wayanad district of Kerala. He was the only son and the eldest among four siblings. They only had one primary school and even lacks the essential amenities of roads and electricity in their village. For high school, kids had to walk almost 4 kilometers that end up becoming the main reason for many of them to discontinue their studies. Mustafa’s father, Ahmed dropped out after class 4 and mother Fatima never went to school. But like every parent, they have dreams for Mustafa and somehow managed to send him school.
Even as a kid, he was very good at taking care of his responsibilities, accordingly he used to help his father in his work at the plantation. But, studies never entertained him enough to keep him involved, and as a result, he failed in Class 6. Momentarily his father wanted him to quit his school and start working at the plantation for full time.
“The struggle you are in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow” – Robert Tew
But, a real gem could not lose its shine in the heap of stones, what it all needs is a person to realize its value. His maths teacher, Mathew Sir, recognize the hidden gleam of Mustafa and forced his father to give him one more chance. Then, Mathew Sir started teaching him personally after school. Surprisingly, he came first in Class 7, after repeating class 6 with juniors. From that point in time, he never looked back and continued excelling in his studies.
Sadly, the financial crunch keeps hunting him, and this time he became its prey during the admission In Farooq College in Kozhikode for his pre-university course when he didn’t have enough money to pay is tuition and hostel fees. Again enters a very generous man in his life, a friend of his father who arranged free meals in the hostel.
“All roads that lead to success, have to pass through hard work”
Besides all the hardships, he came out with flying colors in the engineering entrance exam and secured a 63rd position in the entire state. This makes his admission possible in Regional Engineering College (now, National Institute of Technology) with computer science as his stream.
Finally, after all the struggles, good days were welcoming Mustafa with open arms. He got placed at a startup in Bengaluru at a salary of Rs. 6,000 per month soon after he completed his engineering in 1995.
Now he was climbing the ladder of success. Later, with a time gap of a month or two, Mustafa got a job at Motorola, who were paying him Rs 15,000 per month and also sent him to Ireland where he worked for one and a half year. But, much awaited and well-deserved boom came into his career when he switched his job to Citi Bank, Dubai with the monthly salary of 1.3 lakhs. The happiest moment for any father is to see his son reaching the unimaginable heights. When he sent his first salary home, his father cried uncontrollably, holding money in his hands. It was hard for him to believe that the earnings of his son in a month is higher than his lifetime debts. And Mustafa’s all hard work paid off in a moment.
Proving time and again how responsible son he is, he constructed a house for his parents in their village and his father could also get all his sisters married. After seven years, in 2003, he decided to return to Bengaluru from the Middle East and got enrolled for an MBA at IIM-B.
MBA was the right choice for Mustafa as the entrepreneurial instincts were in him since childhood. As a kid, once he wanted pocket money, so he took Rs 100 from his uncle and set up a make-shift sweet shop. Surprisingly, this gives him a good profit, and that’s how he earned his first pocket money.
During his MBA, he used to stop by at Nazer’s Kirana shop in Thiappasandra to spend some time with his cousins. One day, his cousin Shamshudeen pitched in a business idea stating nearby stores are selling dosa in plastic bags and they should also try something similar. Mustafa and his other three cousins namely Abdul Nazir, Jafar TK, and Noushad TA also agreed to the plan. And he invested Rs 25,000 for kickstart of the business. They started with a small place of around 550 square feet, two grinders, a mixer, and a sealing machine. They named the venture as ID fresh since the plan was to supply fresh idly and dosa batter.
If a great plan got the breeze of immense dedication and hard work, then the resulting success is always soothing for the soul.
They earned profit from day one in the business. At first, they supplied their batter to 20 stores in Bengaluru. But after observing high customer demand, soon Mustafa invested another six lakhs which helped in adding up more machinery. In the next two years, partnered stores have increased to around 300, the factory space is now much bigger, and the amount of batter produced daily has reached 3500 kilograms.
“The harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you finally achieve it”
With the blessings of all, under the shower of love and success, Mustafa officially joined as the CEO, after completing his MBA in 2007. From then, the carriage of growth for ID Fresh never stopped, and they keep on setting new milestones every year. From an investment of 40 lakhs and a plant set up in an industrial area in 2008 to an additional investment of 30 lakhs in 2009, the challenges keep on increasing and so does the courage to convert them in to win.
The company which laid its foundation by making ten packets of 1 kilogram batter a day, now manufactures 50,000 packages daily with a team of 1300 employees from different locations in India and one in Dubai.
Mustafa has a deep thought for aspiring entrepreneurs: “if you have the passion to start something, do it immediately. Don’t wait for tomorrow”.
“ Successful people are not gifted, they just work hard, then succeed on purpose” – G K Nelson
From fantasizing about the pocket money, to repay his father’s lifetime debts, then to become a CEO of 100 crore company, PC Mustafa made the world understands that dreaming is big but chasing a dream is magnificent. This story shows that you don’t need money to get through your ideas rather keep running behind them and one day not only success but money will also come to shake hands with you.
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