“Victory is Reserved when you are Determined” – Mr. Bantwal’s Story is a Witness to this Statement
Mr. Prabhakar Rao Bantwal, Chairman & Managing Director of Suprabha Protective Products Pvt. Ltd., is a self-made man, divinely blessed. Mr. Bantwal’s growth as an industrialist par excellence is an inspiring one.
Hailing from a small hamlet called Navwoor in Bantwal Taluka, South Kanara, Mr. Bantwal lost his father when he was still a toddler of 2 years. He and his 5 siblings were raised by their widowed mother who did little, odd jobs, to try to make ends meet, which never did seem to meet. Mr. Bantwal who loved his mother dearly, took it upon himself, at a very young age, to help her in her struggle.
Though illiterate herself, his mother knew the value of education and impressed upon his young mind, the need to educate himself in order to lead a better life. His hunger for learning was such that even before he was admitted to the village school, Mr. Bantwal would sneak into his older sister, Jaya’s class, and hungrily devour every word the teacher uttered. Going to school was a long walk of 5 miles one way, which Mr. Bantwal happily traversed with his sister, often on an empty stomach, but with a smile on his lips and a song in his heart, for he had one prized possession – his dream of one day becoming a big businessman.
He never let go of his dreams, not even when he had to go hungry for 2 days at a stretch, neither when he lost his ancestral home to a wily villager who cheated his family out of it, nor when the river flooded his dwelling in the monsoons. He was determined to complete his schooling and have a college education and was willing to do all kinds of work, putting aside caste restrictions which were the norm in those days.
After completing his 10th standard in 1962, Mr. Bantwal sought admission in the Science Stream, in the newly opened Swami Vivekananda College, Puttur, which was at a distance of nine miles from his home. He used to do odd jobs, working as a farmhand or any other job that would earn him some money, in order to pay his college fees. Yet he was always short of funds and to take care of his travel to college, he would walk one way and take the village bus the other way.
Though at first, he aspired to become a doctor, his finances would not permit him to take up medicine, so guided by his college principal, he changed stream and made up his mind to become a Chartered Accountant. Once again finance came in the way, as the college demanded a donation for admission to the B.Com course. So Mr. Bantwal took a sabbatical for one year, during which time he managed to garner enough money to get admission to the B.Com course. Mr. Bantwal was an exemplary student throughout his college days and was at the forefront of all activities both co-curricular and extra-curricular. But through it all, he always remained focused on his aim of clearing the Chartered Accountancy Exam in the first attempt. And this he did with flying colors – he was one among the 22 who passed the exam at the first attempt, in 1975.
With a C.A. qualification under his belt, Mr. Bantwal began a successful career as Senior Executive in the Finance Department of Shaw Wallace, followed by TELCO. Wherever he served he became known for his brilliance at work and his aggressive and efficient finance policies.
Spurred on by his desire to achieve further distinction, he accepted many assignments abroad. He became known for establishing new ventures and making them successful institutions. He has to his credit setting up of a multi-million dollar beverages project in Cairo, Electro-Mechanical Contracting Companies, Telephone Contracting Companies, Insurance Companies in Muscat and has also represented many agencies from U.S.A. and European countries in the Gulf.
After a very successful stint in the Middle East, Mr. Bantwal decided to come back to Pune and shoulder the responsibility of turning around the fortunes of the company that was started by his father-in-law, Mr. Jaikrishna Shripad Betrabet, which today is known as Suprabha Protective Products Pvt. Ltd.