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An Indian success story from Singapore

Niraj Agarwal, runs, at the age of 23, five stores selling and servicing computer hardware and software.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2006 12:23 IST

While his peers may be still searching for jobs, a young Indian entrepreneur is already running a multi-million-dollar company here and is seen as a business icon.

Niraj Agarwal, a graduate of the Temasek Polytechnic, runs, at the age of 23, five stores selling and servicing computer hardware and software and with a annual turnover of Singapore $8.2 million.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in his recent National Day Rally speech, mentioned Niraj's success story. He explained the importance of attracting foreign talent and urged Singaporeans to welcome them.

It all started in 2000, when Niraj first came to Singapore under a scholarship from the Singapore's ministry of education. While studying in Singapore, in order to make some extra money, he hired Hindi language teachers to set mock examination papers and sold them to students online.

"I sold them for $60 per package and there was quite a good response because nobody was doing that at the time," Niraj was quoted as saying.

Through that, he earned at least $12,000, which paid for his daily expenses.

Soon after his graduation Niraj became a permanent resident and was eager to set up his own venture rather than joining a firm.

In 2004, with $5,000 he started his own computer servicing business. Niraj roped in his elder brother who had come on a similar scholarship in Singapore two years before him.

The brothers ran a two-man show, working on as many as 20 computers a day. They worked seven days a week and took only four days off a year during Chinese New Year.

After a year, the business expanded and they ventured into hardware and software retailing.

"It was difficult at first because suppliers didn't have confidence in a young foreigner who was new to the business," said Niraj.

Last year, the enterprising Indian brought the rest of his family - one sister and his parents - over to Singapore.

"Singapore has been good to me. I've spent an important part of my life here," he said.

"And I think both foreign and local talent can share different experiences and qualities to make their businesses more successful."

He now has plans to work with a local partner to expand into the Hong Kong market.