Dubai: Who says retirement is a time to give up working? It certainly is not the case for this 77-year-old Indian businessman living in Dubai.
Madhu Payan Sharma dared to dream at 57 after he retired from a role as President for Jumbo Electronics – a leading company in Dubai.
Today, 20 years on, following his retirement, Madhu is reaping the benefit of the dream which he turned into reality.
Entrepreneur at 57
On September 11, 2002, Madhu set up his own technology distribution company, Techmart becoming an entrepreneur at the age of 57. Considering he was not born into a family of business people and given a fact that he had never worked for himself, this proved a milestone in his life.
“I scanned the economy at the time. It felt like a good time to start business. There was no fear whatsoever,” Madhu said in an exclusive interview to Gulf News.
I had the fire left in me to do more. The thirst was there to grow, learn, upskill and venture into a stream I had several years of experience,
“During my tenure at Jumbo Electronics, I had built a great network and thorough business knowledge. I felt confident to go out on my own,” he said.
“At the time, my wife, Archie, was working in a senior position with a leading Dubai entity. I knew I had her full support in case my business happened to fail. More importantly, I had the fire left in me to do more. The thirst was there to grow, learn, upskill and venture into a stream I had several years of experience,” said Madhu.
Today Techmart, has a presence in six countries employing more than 250 employees and is partnered with several leading technology brands.
Turn back the clock
Madhu said: “During my service with Jumbo Electronics, I was instrumental in setting the retirement age of all employees at 55 years. When I turned 55 I tendered my resignation,” he said.
“At first my resignation was not accepted but I insisted on leaving. I had set the rule with an intention in mind. Retiring from full time work at the age of 55 gives one an opportunity to explore their future prospects with a clear mind. I don’t know if that rule has changed now. But I felt right when my turn came to retire. I was President of the company and stayed with my decision.”
Madhu said after retirement, first started doing some management consultancy work. “I had friends asking me for advice. They knew I was retired and had some time in hand. That prompted me to start a company formed a company called Mars International Holdings. lt was solely a management consultancy company with no activities in the agenda. Soon I knew that I wanted more.”
He then derived the idea to start a technology distribution company. Techmart was born and since there has been no looking back.
Two generations in the business
Today Madhu’s son Neil works in the company as President. “I am very proud of the way my father resolved to start off on his own. Today we work together closely and I am so happy to be there to help his dream come true,” said Neil who joined the family business in December 2009 after working in the USA for eight years.
Neil who completed his under-graduate studies from Carnegie Mellon University and master in business administration from Cornell University’s Johnson School, said: “After my graduation I worked for eight years with CISCO. My father’s business was growing and he needed an extra hand so I decided to move back to Dubai and join the family business. I joined as Vice President and in 2018 after learning the business I became President of the company.”
Kindness the way at work
Archie, Madhu’s wife said: “Since the time I have been married, I have known my husband to be such a kind man. He is generous to fault and believes in helping all.”
Neil could not agree more. “My father is a leader in all aspects. He takes everyone with him in his success. That is what makes a very good leader.”
My father is a leader in all aspects. He takes everyone with him in his success. That is what makes a very good leader
Madhu said: “I am very well supported by my family. My wife Archie, children Neil and his wife Ahilya; daughter Arti and grand-children Arik and Tara are my source of strength. I could not have achieved all this without their love and support.”
Madhu completed his higher secondary education in 1962 from the Indian city of Amritsar. He completed his mechanical engineering with distinction in 1967 from BITS Pilani and later did his MBA from the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
Avid fan of sports
In 1961, Madhu represented his school in District Badminton Tournaments. In 1972, he represented the then Bombay Gymkhana and played for the Indian Rugby Team. Golf is another passion he takes pride in. He has the honour of making four “Hole in One” on Majlis Course in Dubai.