Mohali-based entrepreneur Manpreet Singh Walia had never imagined he would have an edge over suppliers from China and South Africa in providing sports mechandise for the XIX Commonwealth Games being held in New Delhi.
Walia is the promoter of Hi-Tech Rubber Industries, a small automobile ancillary business that was shortlisted to supply vuvuzelas for the Games (they are distributed through Premier Brands Pvt Limited).
The revival of the automobile business after the slowdown has provided a plethora of opportunities to expand the existing business but I have a passion for sports merchandise," explained Walia. Most rubber-based sports accessories are made of recycled plastic, which poses health hazards. Walia, however, says that he uses food grade plastic imported from Germany.
Over 90 per cent of the sports merchandise that sells in India is imported from China. "I had a fire in my belly to produce something that carries the 'made in India' stamp." Walia supplied over 60,000 vuvuzelas for the last Indian Premier League tournament and wrist bands for Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab teams.
"We supplied vuvuzelas for Monsanto's annual dealers' meet. These days, corporates opt for innovative and fancy things for brand promotion. We print the company logo on it and this helps them to create visibility. We are negotiating with many corporates for such deals," said Walia.