Sabu M Jacob may have been born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but he had to climb every rung of the family business ladder to reach the top position.
His father MC Jacob put Sabu through the grind when he was just 13 years old. His first job was to clean the workers’ toilets for a few months, then sweep the floors of the factory, contribute to construction work followed by a stint as machine and loom mechanic. “My father put me through this entire process of training to make me a human being, one who understands the problems and pains of workers as also issues at various levels of the corporate ladder,” says Sabu.
The enterprising entrepreneur attributes his approach to business and the commitment towards community development to the learning process. For the record, he is an economics graduate, but he doesn’t believe in degree certificates. “Most corporates are bookish, but for me, it’s the real-life learning,” he says.
So, why doesn’t he do business in India? Sell kidswear in the Indian market? “India is not a safe market. There are too many complicated rules and regulations in the system. As of now, I am in a seller’s market and I am happy with that,” says the CMD of Kerala-based Kitex Garments Limited.
On the Kizhakkambalam Twenty20 initiative, Sabu says he faced quite a bit of opposition from political parties since they didn’t want their support base to be eroded. “But, the people of the panchayat realised that the initiative would only empower them and extended their whole-hearted support,” says Sabu, proudly stating that a delegation of Aam Aadmi Party from New Delhi visited the panchayat to study its functioning. Actor Kamal Haasan, the new entrant in politics, has also shown interest in studying the Twenty20 concept.
Does he have intentions of entering politics? “No. I am not interested in politics. Politics is a business, and that’s not my business. In politics, they loot the public, and I am content with serving the people,” he says firmly.