The Untold Story of International SMEs: An Entrepreneur’s Perspective
Ambitious and cautious, Green Mint Pte Ltd is an international trading business what has grown in folds over just a few years thanks to its founder’s ability to seize opportunities and try out new things.
by Maureen Ledesma
This blog focuses on Green Mint’s founder and CEO, Vaibhav Gupta, who shares his inspirations, struggles, and vision for his company.
Know Your Heart’s Desire
According to Vaibhav, when he was still in college, he had a vision that he will start a business as he doesn’t find himself suitable for a regular job. He’d get bored and would want to make more money than being an employee. However, he understood early on that he needs to learn how everything in business works, and he knows it won’t be easy.
“After college I gained experience from various business houses and learned the importance of purchasing and financing.”
In 2012, three years after college, Vaibhav opened up Green Mint which is a company trading various metals.
“I started making money and I realized the potential of what I’m doing. If I add volume to my trades, I’ll definitely make more money.”
According to Vaibhav, he would not be here without his business partner whom he also considers his mentor. Vaibhav took over Green Mint upon the retirement of his partner in 2016. In addition, Vaibhav recognizes the support of his wife and his family in developing this business.
The Struggle is Real
We asked Vaibhav on his biggest challenges in starting and growing Green Mint. According to Mr Gupta, their biggest challenge when starting was maintaining cash flows and finding the right banking partners who can then later provide lower cost of funds.
“Biggest challenge for us is to obtain fund at a lower cost. Big players in the market have low cost funds and had done vertical integration, whereas players like us have high cost of funds. Finding capital for vertical integration is a big task.”
Be Brave to Try New Things
Vaibhav’s go getter nature to take advantage of opportunities and his courage to try new things in trade finance rewarded him and helped him grow his business. One of Vaibhav’s buyers wanted open account payment terms, 60 90 120 days. He was hesitant to offer payment terms but, since it’s good business, he looked around for solutions to minimize his risks.
“One of my buyers told me that we can have trade credit insurance on them so I’m comfortable to provide a credit period. When I was searching for credit insurance, I found Vesl. Main distinguishing factor between others and Vesl was that Vesl was providing per invoice-based insurance through their platform which was very cost effective in comparison to other players who take lump sum amount for providing trade credit insurance.”
Vaibhav successfully covered his invoices by accessing the Vesl platform and was matched to a lender who would finance his receivables. Not only did Vaibhav have peace of mind dealing with a buyer asking for payment terms, he also found new lending partners who can grow his credit limits. Now Vaibhav banks with one of the biggest Indian Commercial Banks at a lower cost of funds, thanks to trade credit insurance.
Don’t be Complacent, You’re Limitless!
Green Mint as a Company started with copper scrap, and later moved to nickel and steel. Nowadays they are processing and selling ingots. They have expanded and are currently headquartered in Singapore with networks in UAE, Hongkong, China and Africa.
Vaibhav is not stopping with one venture. “In coming years, Green Mint shall be in manufacturing and retail of goods. We are aggressively working in agro retail space.”
Stop Reading Success Stories
According to Vaibhav, to have an edge in starting a business, it is a requirement to have a niche, be focused and have deep knowledge of an industry to know where you can add value.
“There are already big players who have been there longer than you, have integrated far wider than you, and they won’t allow you to eat their share“, Vaibhav said.
“Before jumping into entrepreneurship, keep in mind that the struggle is real. Don’t read success stories. Go to people who failed and learn from them.” He added.