There is an old saying: ‘When you hit rock bottom, the only way is up.’ This is true for Rajkot-based entrepreneur Jaydeepsinh Vaghela, whose firm GJ Global supplies pomegranate, dragon fruit, coconut, potatoes, and onions to UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
The 2018 startup made Rs 15 crore in FY 2021-22. Jaydeepsinh’s life is distinguished by courage, perseverance, and a tireless will to excel. Jaydeepsinh, a Class 11 dropout, started working at 15 to support his family. His family, including his parents, lived in a 300-square-foot bungalow in Rajkot’s Raiyadhar neighborhood.
The government gave us the house. “All of us would sleep on the floor in our house,” recalls Jaydeepsinh, who has a Dubai residence visa and spends a lot of time there.
I travel often. I’ll spend 10 days in Dubai after 20 days in India in a year. He struggled to get here. Jaydeepsinh attended a government school till Class nine, then a private school, Bahuchar Bahuchar, where he struggled to finish Class 10.
He worked part-time at a plastics store while in Class 10 to help support the family. I was a store helper. “After school, I worked at the store for 4-5 hours,” he recalls.
In Class 11, his father had a heart attack, leaving the family in desperate difficulties. He says physicians suggested rest and he couldn’t work. The already-struggling family had no income.
Jaydeepsinh left Class 11 in 2007 to get a career. “I was the eldest son in the family and I had to do something to feed the family,” says Jaydeepsinh, who has an elder sister and three younger brothers.
A local transport firm hired him. “I oversaw truck loading and unloading. I’d fill tax invoices. They were non-digital then. His monthly income was Rs 3500. He worked there from 2007 until 2013, then joined a bookshop.
I ran the fiction and self-help bookstore. Daily pay was Rs 300. “My earnings had increased compared to my previous job, but it was still not enough to support a family of eight,” says Jaydeepsinh, who began seeking methods to raise his income.
He learned about city-authorized Aadhar card centers then. He borrowed Rs 1.4 lakh to launch an Aadhar center in 2014.
He bought computers, biometric devices, and established the business. “We received Rs 36 per person from the state government for a new card, and we charged Rs 30 from card holders for any card changes,” he claims.
I opened three additional centers because of the money. I earned Rs 45,000 per month then. I took care of my family and everything was fine.” His joy was short-lived.
In 2017, the authorities closed all approved facilities, shocking Jaydeepsinh. He felt discouraged. I didn’t know what to do when this happened. My loan EMI was Rs 6000. I was helpless for three months.”
He learned about exporting while deciding what to do. “I learned about export from friends. Jaydeepsinh claims he borrowed Rs 6 lakh from friends and incorporated GJ Global as a partnership business in 2018. His first order burned his fingertips.
“Dubai took two days to pick up my onion container. Our first export order lost Rs 2.5 lakh due to falling onion prices.
He contemplated resigning. “I wasn’t sure what to tell my family and the donors. I thought only rich individuals could perform import-export. Jaydeepsinh claims he was exhausted for days.
After a few days, his anxiousness subsided, and he realized his faults and started a fresh plan to attract many clients. He exported directly since 2020 after working as a commission agent. They made Rs 5 crore in 2020-21 and Rs 15 crore last year. He has Rajkot and Dubai offices. “Money is not everything, but without it, nothing,” says Jaydeepsinh, who wants to expand his business and still saves as much as he can.
Jaydeepsinh married Poojaba in 2021 and has a seven-month-old daughter Vishnupriyaba. Rajkot’s 700-square-foot Rail Nagar residence houses the family.