The Most Iconic & Legendary Business Leader of 'Mighty India'
Food & Health|April 2021
Successful entrepreneurship comes from dynamic ideologies, realistic goals, consistent efforts and veritable dedication. Successful entrepreneurs create new ventures, innovate unique products, initiate job opportunities for others and make changes everywhere. Incorporating all these elements together undoubtedly calls for soaring Success. But it is one thing to affect the world with brilliant, innovative entrepreneurial ideas, and a totally different regard to contribute and serve the society through business. Being a socially committed person is an extra-ordinary quality of an entrepreneur, and not all have the true courage to dedicate their life for their society. One such business legend, who has shown the world the importance of leading a socially committed life, is Shri A.M Gopalan, affectionately known as Gokulam Gopalan, Chairman of Sree Gokulam Group of Companies. Sree Gokulam Group of Companies is one of the most leading Business Conglomerates in South India, with a turnover of nearly INR 9000 crore or US $ 1.5 Billion. The group is involved in healthcare, education, hospitality, finance, retail, realty, manufacturing, food & beverages, cinema and media entertainment. The humanitarian views and empathy of Shri. Gopalan have brought him success and glory across all sectors. Always in the pursuit of new challenges, Shri Gokulam Gopalan provides meaningful employment to over 11,000 people, both in India and abroad across various ventures.

An Iconic Philanthropist

Shri. Gopalan is a true visionary and realist who believes in executing his vision through actions. His strong business acumen and a vision crowded with innovative ideas, excellent strategies and a humane approach helped him spread his wings and venture out into newer, unexplored sectors and diverse fields. “Man is a social being. He cannot detach himself from the society in which he belongs. What it implies is simple: each person is responsible to his society. I realise these said facts and try my level best to act in accordance with those,” he says. The company’s informal motto “Grow with Gokulam” captures the accurate spirit and vibrancy of the Sree Gokulam Group of Companies. It has become a reality to millions of customers, whose faith and confidence transformed into a steady growth of the Gokulam Group.

Early Life

There is a popular saying that ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’. Like the saying implies, the beginning of this business leader’s career started humbly to now reach exceptional success. Hailing from a small village near Vadakara in Kozhikode, Kerala, Shri.Gopalan was always a sincere and diligent student. He secured his graduation in B.Sc Mathematics from the Kerala University. However, it was his interest towards acting that attracted him to the dream city of Chennai. His initial days in Chennai were extremely challenging, until an accidental meeting with a doctor worked as a game changer. It opened a door of opportunities before him. He, with the help of the doctor – who found his educational accomplishments impressive, secured a challenging job opportunity as medical representative.

Humble Beginnings

It is important for a businessman to identify his first spark. It is from that striking realisation he discovers his true potential as a businessman. From a humble beginning, Shri. Gopalan has grown by sheer hard work, dedication and perseverance. Within a few months of moving to Chennai, he had started the chit business privately on a small scale, along with his job as a medical representative. He involved a few closely knit people with a nominal monthly instalment and formed a firm base for his chit business. He believed it was his endeavour to help others and give back to the community. Soon with his hard work and prudent management services, he planted the founding seeds of Gokulam Chit Funds and Finance Private Limited in 1968 at the tender age of 24 years, at Mylapore in Chennai. Through his business he has helped all his customers attain growth in status and wealth. What started with branch is now spread all over India with nearly 500 branches.

“The chit business was not alien to me. This was very popular in Vadakara, the place where I born and spent my childhood, and several locations in and around that region. My father also had this business. During my childhood days, I also helped my father run his small chit business. That experience supported me immensely, when I started my own chit business. Now, when I look back, as the business stands with more than five-decade-long experience, I feel proud. The main requisite of a successful chit business is trustworthiness,” he proudly states.

Varied Cluster of Activities

With over 5 successful decades of service to the nation, there is a host of varied activities that the group is successfully involved in. These include its flagship company Sree Gokulam Chit and Finance Company Pvt. Ltd, Sree Gokulam Medical College, Sree Gokulam Public School, Sree Gokulam Hotels Pvt. Ltd, Gokulam Nalanda Resorts, Sree Gokulam Food Products, Sree Gokulam Holy Aqua Mineral Water, Gokulam Cards, Sree Gokulam Exports & Imports and Sree Gokulam Herbs & Biotech.

Qualities for Success

An extremely pious and a deeply religious man, Shri. Gopalan believes in making a living with what we get and making a life by what we give. He admits that it is Dedication, Divinity, Honesty, and Sincerity that have helped him to attain the present stature. “Behind every victory, there is a story of hard work, dedication and commitment. Victory is not something that can be achieved easily. Trustworthiness and God’s grace are the secret behind my success,” he claims.

Driving a Change through Education

The legendary businessman is a firm believer that if there is anything that can change the world - it has to be Good Education. The educational institutions run by the Group aim to silently bringing a revolutionary change in the education sector. “I personally feel that an investment in education is an investment in future. We thought of adding our contribution in elevating the upcoming generation, hence our venture into education field. We have five Sree Gokulam Public schools now, where we genuinely participate in moulding the children for tomorrow,” Mr. Gopalan.

Shri. Gopalan’s dream to provide excellent medical education, quality healthcare at affordable rates and meaningful medical research also saw the establishment of the Sree Gokulam Medical College and Research Foundation. Thousands of medical, paramedical and nursing students have graduated from the haloed corridors of this prestigious institution and are shining their light in different parts of the country and the world. The Sree Gokulam Research Foundation is also popular for its social service initiatives. In the medical college, there is a separate block for rehabilitating senior citizens taking care of thousands parents who are abandoned by their families or children.

Noble Motto of providing Affordable Healthcare

Sree Gokulam Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. is a member of Sree Gokulam Group of companies. It has its presence in majority of premier healthcare establishments in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Since its establishment, it has been dedicated to Customer Satisfaction through personalized service with courtesy and efficiency. Now as a recognized healthcare enterprise in Southern India’s healthcare industry, Sree Gokulam Healthcare enjoys high reputation for our world-class products and reliable customer support. Apart from offering healthcare products, one of the fastest growing multi-speciality hospitals in Kerala - GG Hospital (Trivandrum), is also owned by the Sree Gokulam Group.

A Passionate Film Enthusiast

Since his childhood, Shri. Gopalan had an affinity towards acting. His deep interest in acting explains his huge investment in the film and entertainment sector. He is best known for producing the 2009 historical drama film Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja, Kayamkulam Kochunni and the 2015 Kollywood action thriller Thoongaa Vanam. He has also received huge appreciation for his acting skills and has been a part of various Malyalam and Telugu movies which include Naku Penta Naku Taka (2013), Thilothama (2015), Clint (2017) and Kayamkulam Kochunni (2018). Mr. Gopalan, who has left no stone unturned and thoroughly explored every business opportunity that has come before him, is the Chairman and the major state holder of a rapidly growing Malayalam television channel, Flowers TV, and a trustworthy Malayalam news channel, 24. Both these channels have transformed the sectors almost entirely, and are now market leaders.

Exceptional & Respectable Hospitality

The Gokulam Group ventured into the hospitality sector in the 1980s. Under their hospitality division, the company has properties across South India under the brand name ‘Gokulam Park Hotels and Resorts’. What started as a small restaurant called Bharat Restaurant at Ashok Nagar, Chennai now has a dazzling array of nearly 18 hotels ranging from 3 star, 4 star and 5 star properties. A few to name Gokulam Park - Kochi, Gokulam Sabarai Convention Centre, Kochi, Gokulam Park, Chennai, Gokulam Vanamala, Guruvayur, Gokulam Sabari Classic- OMRChennai, Gokulam Nalanda Resorts, Nileswaram, Gayathri International, Kozhikode, Gokulam Residency, Amballur, Thrissur, Malabar Fort, Thalassery, Gokulam Park, Doha and Clarion, Coimbatore all belong to the group. Gokulam Park, Doha, is our first overseas hotel venture and we plan to open a 5 Star Hotel and a Resort, both in Doha, Qatar itself. Gokulam Park Kochi was one of the first few properties acquired by the group. Soon they began to spread wings and also acquired the five start property at Bangalore, which until 2017 was operational as Movenpick Hotel and Spa. On his regular visit to Bengaluru, Gopalan usually stayed at the former Movenpick and hoped to own the hotel someday. In a magical coincidence of sorts, two years later he was able to acquire it from the original owners, defying bids from the likes of Hyatt and Marriott for management. “The Gokulam Group’s leap into the five-star segment was a huge boost for the company. Bengaluru was always a favourite destination and a start in Bengaluru was like a dream come true. Our vision and long-term strategy for the Gokulam hotel group is to have a strong brand presence built on robust operational services and hotel offerings, amenities and facilities,” the Business Leader stated.

Building Trust in the Community

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