Mr. H C Gandhi is the founder and Managing Director of the MH Enterprises Group and is also is also the Director of several other companies in the UAE and Oman. In his seventies, he is aggressively active in his business and looks after the day-to-day operations of the group. A firm believer in God, and his co-workers, he treats everyone with a friendly smile. He has always exhibited excellent leadership qualities and wide knowledge of the market, and has been a keen visionary in the growth of his business over the years.
MH Enterprises Group’s beginnings in the UAE were modest, beginning in 1976 the Group’s success is a story of strife, dedication and reward. The Group provides avenues of sustained growth and profitability to itself and its stakeholders.
Q. You are the perfect candidate for the adage – ‘Hard Work can take you places’. Can you take us through your journey from working in a maintenance company to being the MD of the respected MH Enterprises Group?
A. After completing my education in India, I moved to Dubai on a boat via Oman around 45 years ago, and worked in a maintenance company for a year and then joined a leading international bank. I had discovered by then that there was a big demand for supply of food stuff. I decided therefore to venture into the foodstuff business, because I felt that there was growth potential in the sector. To commence any business, it is important to have dedicated and experienced people and I have been lucky enough to have them.
Q. From foodstuffs to chemicals, MH Enterprises is known for dealing in the best products in the market. What has driven your quest to bring quality imports into the UAE?
A. I think it had a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time. Dubai was just beginning to grow, and we were able to cater to the market demand. We now represent several major brands like Bavaria, Nezo, American Classic, Tilda, Unilever, etc., and supply dry, frozen, chilled foodstuffs, and other non-food products, etc., to HORECA (hotels, restaurants and cafes), supermarket chains and grocery stores, and wholesalers and retailers, etc.
The constant and growing need for chemicals in the region spurred us to establish a Chemical Division in 1992. The company also diversified into the Duty Free business, industrial chemicals, and processing units etc. Now, the company also has branches in Oman, Maldives and Seychelles.
I strongly believe that integrity, business quality and business ethics should never be compromised. The company achieved international quality certifications like HACCP, Dubai Quality Appreciation and ISO 9001: 2000. The company also received the award for International Distributor of the Year in 1983 from Blue Bird Juices (USA) and Certificate of Achievement in 2015 by Unilever Food Solutions.
Q. MH Enterprises has slowly but steadily risen among the ranks to stand out in the market, for not only the quality of products, but also its image as a socially responsible group. How has the unassuming Mr. Gandhi, and his dedicated team, made this possible?
A. This country has given us a lot and while our business caters to and takes care of its demands in the field of foods and chemicals, there is lot more that all of us can do to give back to the place we live in, Dubai. We constantly take up CSR initiatives to help the ones that need the most by way of contributions to various charitable institutions and furthering education for the under privileged. We are also supporting several NGO’s back home in India.
Q. Whenever any of your staff speak about you, they always have a smile of respect on their faces. How crucial has their role been in the rise of MH Enterprises? What values do you impart to your employees?
A. It would have been impossible to achieve what we have today without the dedication and hard work of our entire team. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, and we all have the responsibility to maintain a high ethical standard and integrity. These are the values that we live by at MH Enterprises, where every staff member is a part of the family.
Q. You are practically a hermit when it comes to your public image, despite being one of the captains of industry. How do you keep such a low profile, particularly in this time and age, where self-promotion and media appearances are the norm rather than the exception?
A. I have always been a private person to some extent, and the time I allot for myself is important as it allows me to reflect and come up with new ideas to further our business growth.
Q. You are known among industry circles as a family man, who above all else likes spending quality time with his family and relatives. How have you struck the work-life balance in a region that is notorious for turning people into workaholics?
A. I believe that life always has to be lived in the present moment. After all every human being works to maintain and sustain their family, if one loses out on family time because of work then it only leads to regrets later. Although it is not always easy to do this given the high work pressures but I do ensure to make efforts of maintain a work-life balance, and encourage everyone at MH Enterprises to do the same.
Q. As a mentor and experienced industrialist, what legacy would you like to leave behind for the future generations?
A. I think we have come a long way from what I had originally envisioned. We are today the leading company in our segment. My son Manish too is a part of the business now and has helped expand in the food service (HORECA) segment. We presently have an operation in Oman in the name of Prime Trading LLC and believe that it will be good to expand further into the neighboring middle eastern countries and also tap into the growing potential of south-east Asia.
Q. What can a budding entrepreneur hope to learn from the life and experience of the reclusive, hardworking Mr. Gandhi?
A. While certainly there is no substitute for hard work, dedication and my own experience, I would say that faith, commitment and confidence play a huge role in one’s success. Business, as in life, is full of highs and lows. When things are going great it is important to remain focused and humble and when the tide is against you, stay committed and do not lose hope, and keep faith that the bad time too will pass.