Man Who Started from ₹500, made Trillions Worth Business: The Business Tycoon Dhirubhai Ambani's Journey

Today Reliance Industries is one of the 500 Fortune companies worldwide, but at a time it was just a dream and the man who made this dream come true was Dhirubhai Ambani. One of the most inspiring entrepreneurs in India, the founder of Reliance Industries Limited, one of India's largest conglomerates. 

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Under his leadership, Reliance grew into a global powerhouse. Let's know about his path from nothing to everything

Early Life and Beginnings

Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani, known to the world as Dhirubhai Ambani, His life from a humble background to the heights of the richest conglomerates is such a testament of hard work and determination. He was born on December 28, 1932, in the small village of Chorwad in the Junagadh district of Saurashtra, now part of Gujarat. 

His father Hirachand Gordhanbhai Ambani was a primary school teacher and His mother Trilochana Ben was a housewife. Dhirubhai’s early life was marked by modesty and simplicity. He was one of three sons and had one sister.

From an early age, Dhirubhai had leadership qualities and a rebellious spirit. He participated in protests against the Nawab of Junagadh. In his young days, his early involvement in social causes made him courageous and determined.

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Due to family financial constraints, he did not complete his studies like other children. He had to earn, he used to sell fruits for a 5 Rs. income.

At the age of 16 after completing class tenth, Dhirubhai embarked on a journey to earn money for his family. In 1948, he moved to Aden, Yemen, with the help of his elder brother Ramaniklal. He worked on a petrol pump.

He used to spend 1 rs to drink tea at 5-star hotels rather than having 25 p street chai. He used to do so because he wanted to listen to the businessmen beside him in such big hotels, to understand the business and marketing, this is how young Dhirubhai learnt the business.

In 1955, at the age of 23, Dhirubhai married Kokilaben, a 21-year-old from Jamnagar. The couple soon welcomed their first child, Mukesh Ambani, in Aden in 1957. 

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In 1958, Dhirubhai left his petrol pump job and the Ambani family returned to India and settled in Mumbai, where the couple lived in a room apartment at Jaihind estate in Bhuleshwar. They were later blessed with three more children: Anil, Nina, and Dipti.

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Birth of Reliance Commercial Corporation

He started his spices business in his 350 sq fit area, With just Rs 500 in his pocket, he founded Reliance Commercial Corporation initially, he focused on the export of spices such as ginger and turmeric to Western countries.

He and his partner invested 1.5 lakhs in his trading business. His partner and cousin was Champak lal Damani who was an affluent person of that time. Dhirubhai wanted to expand his business, but Champak lal was not in favour of it. Champak did not want to take risks anymore as he was happy with the thousand profits. But Dhirubhai had big dreams and plans.

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Reliance Industries

In 1965, due to differences with his partner, Dhirubhai separated from Champaklal and focused solely on his expanding business plan. He rebranded the company as Reliance Industries in 1973. 

In 1975, He ventured into the textile industry with the Vimal brand, named after his eldest brother. Vimal sarees, dresses, shawls, and suits became synonymous with quality, gaining a strong foothold in both domestic and international markets.

Dhirubhai's approach was hands-on and incredibly dedicated. He and His employees used to work from 7 am to 3 pm in the factory and then took to the streets, to visit shops to sell their clothes and products. This tireless work ethic and commitment to quality began to pay off. In 1977, Reliance's Naroda mill achieved record sales of 90 lakhs and a profit of 13 lakhs, an impressive feat for the time.

Throughout his journey, Dhirubhai faced numerous challenges, even attacks from competitors. However, his unwavering dedication and willingness to take risks set him apart. He remained focused on his goals, working tirelessly to expand and solidify his business ventures.

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By 1976-77, Reliance Industries had grown substantially and boasted an annual turnover of Rs 70 crore. 

In 1977 the company launched its IPOs, when people didn’t even believe in the Stock market he made people believe in his company. He won the trust of 58,000 investors and promised all the investors to make them crorepati and he made it true. 

Dhirubhai faced countless doubters and setbacks in his journey. Yet, his unwavering self-belief fueled his resilience and helped him overcome every struggle.

He was a philanthropy legendary. He always believed in building a better India, investing in education, healthcare, and infrastructure, and leaving a lasting legacy that transcends wealth.

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Legacy and Recognition

In 1986, Dhirubhai suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. Despite his health challenges, he continued to guide Reliance Industries, eventually handing over the reins to his sons, Mukesh and Anil. On June 24, 2002, Dhirubhai suffered a second stroke and was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai, where he passed away on July 6, 2002.

Dhirubhai’s contributions to the Indian economy and his pioneering spirit were recognized posthumously with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award, in 2016. He also received numerous accolades during his lifetime, including the Dean’s Medal from The Wharton School in 1998 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Economic Times in 2001.

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Dhirubhai Ambani’s journey from a modest village in Gujarat to become the founder of India’s largest conglomerate is a testament to his indomitable spirit, innovative mind, and relentless pursuit of excellence. 

His story is an inspiration for millions, illustrating that with determination, hard work, and vision, anyone can overcome humble beginnings to achieve greatness. Reliance Industries, under the stewardship of his sons and grandchildren, continues to thrive, reflecting Dhirubhai’s enduring legacy. 

His life and achievements remain a source of pride for the country, embodying the spirit of entrepreneurship and resilience that defines the nation. Dhirubhai Ambani’s story is not just one of business success but of a man who dared to dream and, in doing so, changed the landscape of Indian industry forever.

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Written By Manvi