Mahesh Dharam : An Entrepreneur Overhauling The Confectionary Industry | CEOInsights Vendor
Mahesh Dharam : An Entrepreneur Overhauling The Confectionary Industry

Mahesh Dharam : An Entrepreneur Overhauling The Confectionary Industry

 Mahesh Dharam,  Founder & CEO

Mahesh Dharam

Founder & CEO

Owing to the rising disposable income, a rising youth population, and rising brand awareness among consumers, the Fastmoving consumer goods(FMCG) sector is aggressively growing in India. Moreover, while the sector is India’s fourth largest industry sector, the FMCG market in India is expected to increase at a CAGR of 14.9 percent to reach $220 billion by 2025, expanding from $110 billion in 2020. Where there are many business leaders and entrepreneurs exercising in the industry offering their unique quality products and extensive services, Mahesh Dharam also claims his prominence through Kandee Factory a new-age confectionary startup. Mahesh is a dynamic professional with a demonstrated history of working across diverse industry sectors such as finance, insurance, construction, and more. Currently, he with a driving passion for entrepreneurship is leading Kandee Factory.

Lets get to know about his transformational journey, from being a corporate professional leader to becoming an entrepreneur.

Could you give a gist about your professional background and experiences? Also, what drives you today as a new-age leader?
I have a background in Commerce and am certified in sugar confection technology and digital marketing. I have worked with various financial institutions such as Citi Corp Credit Services, Max New York Life, Aviva, and IDBI as their State Head for Tamilnadu. I have experience in cross functional roles in Sales & Marketing for about 10-12 years before transitioning to operations in a construction contracting company funded by the Reliance Group of Companies. In 2013, I became an entrepreneur and founded Kandee Factory, which I lead as its Founder & CEO.

My daily drive stems from the passion to create something meaningful and satisfying for myself and consumers. We strive to produce some thing unique that is
purposeful, meaningful and suitable for consumers globally, not just in India. As responsible manufacturers, we prioritize following manufacturing processes that prioritize the safety of the environment and make a positive impact on society. While earning is important, we aim to maintain a sustainable business by balancing our priorities to achieve meaningful impact and financial success.

Focus on solving for long-term sustainable success

You hold more than two decades of experience? What has been the success mantra that constantly helps you arrive at positive outcomes?
I think success is all about getting up and running after failing as many times as circumstanced to and not taking it as a personal failure. It’s just that we have not got the answers to the solutions we are trying to solve, so keep attempting. Success only comes after that. Being a normal human being, this is what I have done.

How would you defend Kandee Factory as an organization and its position in the market?
Kandee Factory is a confectionery startup that offers innovative, great tasting products made with natural ingredients and colors, without any added preservatives. Although the confectionery industry is highly competitive, Kandee Factory focuses on offering its products to a midmarket segment, which is an aspirational segment for the middle class. This segment has few players in terms of manufacturing in India, and there are many imports with questionable origins. Kandee Factory aims to provide its consumers with a fresh product that has a one-year shelflife, natural colors, and no chemical dyes or added preservatives. In addition, the company has a 95 percent women’s team on the production floor, and it employs women from various social backgrounds to help them make a livelihood. This is the social impact that Kandee Factory aims to create and positively impact the society in which it operates.

Could you tell me about your leadership approach?
Leadership approach is not based on superiority, but rather on working together at an equal level to achieve success and organizational growth. I believe that every leadership style has its pros and cons and that the leadership style needs to change as the organization grows. However, a
strong value based leadership style is crucial to leading the team and achieving organizational goals, ultimately leading to success.

What is the future destination you are heading towards for the next five years?
The goal for Kandee Factory is to have a significant impact on the mid market segment of the confectionery industry. While the company is already present in most online marketplaces across India and has a small physical store presence, it wants to expand further and penetrate the market more deeply, particularly in the South and West regions of India. By doing so, the company hopes to achieve its goal of making a larger impact in the marketplace.

What advice would you like to give to the upcoming leaders?
In an ever-changing and dynamic market, my advice to upcoming leaders is to listen actively to customers, team members, stake holders, and their intuition. When making decisions, it's important to have a firm belief in the right direction, even if all the information is n't available, or there isn't enough time. Indecision can be a hindrance to progress and it's essential to keep moving forward.

In todays fluid and rapidly evolving market place, a mindset of experimentation is necessary to try out different approaches to a problem. It's also important to take calculated risks and make bold decisions, even if they aren't the most popular or easy ones, to solve problems for longterm sustainable success. This may include trying out unconventional or wild card ideas and taking calculated risks in the market.

Mahesh Dharam, Founder& CEO Kandee factory
Mahesh has had a successful corporate career working in various roles such as sales and marketing, operations, and more, in several large financial institutions. Since 2013, he has been pursuing his entrepreneurial journey with Kandee Factory.

•Hobbies: Reading, Going on long drives & listening music and spending time with my family & kids/dog.
•Favorite Cuisine:Chinese & Oriental
•Favorite travel destination: Auroville
•Favorite book:I enjoy reading on a range of topics,including Autobiographies, Non-Fiction,Quantum Physics, Anthropology, Wildlife and others. One book I particularly enjoyed reading was Diffusion of Innovation.

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