Starting with two plants and a few rupees, Indian businessman Rajgopal Bhandary is now at the helm of a seed empire.

This is the story man who became an entrepreneur due to a life-changing accident. Raj grew up in Bangalore, India. As a child, he dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot, but faced with his father’s refusal, he opted for a horticulture school. One day, an accident left him with two broken legs. Bedridden for several months, Raj missed nearly two semesters of classes. Unable to obtain a degree, he couldn’t apply to companies in the sector. So he decided to start his own business.

It was 1988, and Raj had a mere total of 300 rupees. He bought two potted ornamental plants, a ficus and a palm tree, which he rented to offices. He ended up becaming a florist, then a landscaper. “I loved the creative aspect of this profession. To go further, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in horticulture at Clemson University in South Carolina. We learned a lot about herbicides and their impact.”

Raj returned to India with a new project: producing tomato and watermelon seeds for a Californian client. In India, labor is inexpensive, and Tropica Seeds, the company he established in 1993, attracted international attention with clients such as Harris Moran, Vilmorin, and Seminis. In the early 2000s, facing the growth of his business, Raj Bhandary decided to enroll in an MBA at HEC.

Today, his company employs 160 people and supplies nearly 60 tons of seeds (eggplants, chili peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.) to 1 million farmers in India. Since 2014, he is also operating in France under the name of Bhandary Seeds. The company has also established a research department that studies diseases, pollution, and the effects of climate change—factors that impact seed cultivation.

Published by