Melwin Joy
AUTHOR

Melwin Joy

All stories by: Melwin Joy
Ansif Ashraf – Ace of change

From handpicking the future trends to running different successful business ventures, Ansif Ashraf has already made a visible mark in all his business ventures. Known as an international speaker, moderator, writer, entrepreneur and editor, his multi-faceted skills and his new-found ilk of being called the ‘ace of change’ is worth the efforts put forward. A young entrepreneur and a dynamic businessman, Ansif had set out to change the lives of people around him. His success story showcases how is not just about earning profits.

Being the man with an eye for investing in the right business at the right time is what makes him what he is today. From printing, publishing, e-commerce, education, IT and much more, his repertoire of vested interests spread across many industry verticals. Today, with hard work, dedication and multiple investments globally he has established a business empire of his own. He is the chairman of Cochin Herald Media Network, a firm that his father established in 1992, founder of different mobile apps and a top advisor of various distinguished business establishments and groups.

Humble beginnings

Ansif hails from a family that never wanted him to become a businessman, as there was so much loss in the past. A failed business venture in the life of his late father Dr. S.A. Muhammad Ashraf had cost the family almost everything. Even though he was discouraged to do business Ansif had his own well planned agenda which led him into this field. Even at an earlier age he had identified the potentials of business with the advent of technology, which instilled him with confidence.

Ansif started his long and arduous entrepreneurial in 2001 as a photographer and graphics designer, working from home and then later developing into a design studio. Later he turned into the business of rubber with inspiration from a person he met from Punjab here. He found the Kochi-based Paradise International, attained a license from the rubber board and became a supplier of rubber products to the northern parts of India and later started exporting the same to other nations globally. Signing a contract with Shanxi Lixin Chemical Co Ltd China, he was able to market and distribute carbon black in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The product is used in the manufacturing of tyre, rubber, plastic, printing ink, doping and coating wire and cables etc.

In an attempt to diversify and invest on a global scale he established Ansif Global Inc. The firm incorporated a company in Hong Kong has presence in diverse range of trading and consultancy business in electronics, mining & exploration, cement and technology; serving an important role in distributing technology to various industries. Later it became the exclusive distributor of Zhejiang Qingji Ind Co. Ltd., of China in selling their centrifuge separators to Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam and Malaysia markets. The group was able to provide technology for EMR fabric that helps in deactivating bombs which are mobile phone triggered.

Even though he is a young entrepreneur, Ansif has already created a legacy of his own by establishing the Young Chamber of Commerce (YCC) in India in 2014. YCC is a group of young entrepreneurs joined together under his leadership with an objective to promote the wellbeing of business in India and across the national border aiming at making a global platform. It work towards fulfilling the business dreams of the future generation and enable them to meet the challenges of the New Age Era. YCC is exclusively built for the youth by the youth. It provides a platform to young entrepreneurs and professionals where opportunity provider and opportunity seekers come together under a single umbrella for mutual benefit. In 2017, YCC was acquires by a consortium of Indian origin entrepreneurs from Singapore and Malaysia and changed to Crescent Chamber of Commerce & Industry to be headquartered in New Delhi in India.

Like every other entrepreneur the journey was never an easy one to take. Yet it was his perseverance and timely intervention to identify opportunities that has pushed him forward so far. Presently, Ansif Ashraf is the Editor-in-Chief and the Managing Director of Cochin Herald Media Network, an English business magazine published from Kerala.

Cochin Herald – Start & Transformation

With a vision beyond any shadow of doubt to depict the truth and to uphold the lower strata of the society Dr. S.A. Mohammed Ashraf commenced Cochin Herald in 1992 as a Sunday Malayalam Newspaper from the land of Queen of Arabian Sea – Cochin, a  time immemorial known as a trade centre of Arabs, Dutch and British. Dr. Ashraf wished for the newspaper to be the voice for the voiceless. With a strong profile and handful of experience in different sectors that closely relates to the society; he was the one and only person who can hold both the offices of Editor-in-Chief and the Managing Director of the publication.

The newspaper grew tremendously in the initial stages all the while reflecting the society and axiomatically prepared to fight the odds. Dr. Ashraf accepted the investors and partners with an affirmative ambition that will help to cater the newspaper in the posterity. As the proverb says too many cooks spoil the broth, the ideological differences in the management created convulsion. The various factions inside sore from bad to worse, forcing the founder to step down from the office in 1995; but not before the spirit and enthusiasm were transferred from the father to son.

Ansif Ashraf, who by this time had already established his own business empire, took back the titles in 2011; longing to cherish the dreams of his father. After much discussion and research he decided to bring out Cochin Herald as an English Business Magazine, which will initially be a by-monthly and then a monthly. He had travelled to more than 18 countries and numerable ventures globally amassing vast knowledge and experience.

Backed by a bunch of experienced hands in journalism and business he was encouraged and supported in his decision by many. Anand Parthasarathy, an eminent journalist by profession gave timely advice and suggestions for the magazine, while becoming one of the mentors for the magazine. Avinash Naik who was the then Brand Manager for Times of India helped Ansif to make a contract with Bizxchange, an internet news portal owned by Times of India to provide the magazine with worthy information on business and market.

Unveiling the magazine in Cochin in 2012, the business capital of Kerala, all the while holding the name of the same place was a momentous destiny. While promising to be a guidance to entrepreneurs and young talents, Cochin Herald innovates itself to move forward and ensures that it act as a catalyst in discovering the potentials in business.

Milestones to fame

Launch – Cochin Herald business magazine was launched by Shri Oommen Chandy, the then Chief Minister of Kerala in an event in Cochin in 2012. The launch was well received among the business community owing to the rich content and scope of information it conveyed to its readers.

Achievement – Cochin herald was appointed as regional newsroom for Southern India by the International News Service (INS Australia) in 2001.

Partnership – Cochin herald signed media partnership agreement with Bizxchange (a Times Group Initiative) on 31st August 2012. This partnership helped in bringing timely and accurate news and reviews that matters to the community.

Inauguration – KSBEA 2013 was inaugurated by Shri. K. V. Thomas,  Dr. Rashid Al Leem, Director General of  Hamriyah Free Zone Authority & Mr. Ansif Ashraf, Chief Editor of Cochin Herald. KSBEA awards are the Kerala’s most preferred and recognized awards for Businessmen, Politicians and Administrators started in the year 2012. Global Leadership Award is hosted in United Arab Emirates which recognize and reward the Global Leaders and Businessmen. The award focuses on entrepreneurs who have set the highest standards and were outstanding in their field with their leadership qualities.

Excellence – KSBEA Coffee Table Book launched by Lazaro Nyalandu (Minister of Natural Resources & Tourism, Tanzania) in 2014. The coffee table book, published by CH Publishers of Cochin Herald, provides efficient and professional digital content that can be published and accessed across all platforms and social media brands.

Milestone – Cochin Herald reaches the 25th anniversary of publishing. Now, 25 years later, Dr. Asharaf’s legacy – Cochin Herald, is actively making its mark among the business community, where it had once ruled as one of the best source of information.

Adieu to a visionary

Dr. S.A. Mohammed Ashraf, the founder of Cochin Herald, which was established in 1992, was the person who showed the way ahead. This avid lover of literature had just one thing in mind when he started Cochin Herald. He wanted to show the people that what it is to do real journalism. When it started as a weekly, there was finally a source for the people of Kochi, to know the news that really mattered.  It was a dream come true for him when Cochin Herald came to reality.

Dr. Ashraf always shied away from the limelight. He never wanted people to recognize him as an author or be the head of any organization, which he could have easily been. Dr. Ashraf was a modest man who kept to himself. However, he still thought of publishing his life’s work as he thought they could perhaps benefit someone.

Never a person to shy away from education and knowledge, Asharaf Bhai gained his doctorate degree at the age of 55 on Islamic History from Kerala University. Later he went on to become the President of the Alumni Association and a member of the Autonomous Board of Studies of Islamic History in the same institution he studied. After gaining his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies, he even researched further in the subject in King Faisal University in Riyadh of Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Ashraf was a tall, charismatic man, whose presence brings in an aura of enlightenment.  He always had a smile on his face and was always polite to all. He loves to spend time with family and friends and was very hospitable. When it comes to journalism, he had a vast knowledge of both traditional and the contemporary. His knowledge was so vast that you can talk to him about anything under the sun.

Dr. S.A. Muhammad Ashraf was 63 when he succumbed to a cardiac arrest when he was in New Delhi in 2016. Even though he passed the torch to his son, Ansif Ashraf, who transformed the issue into a magazine in 2012, Cochin Herald still moves on a path that was shown by Dr. Ashraf – which is to write the truth that matters.

Mentors and influences

A man of firm beliefs, Ansif is one of those believers who think that the balance in creation is what governs this world. Over the years he has met different personalities who have moulded him into what he is today. Learning about life is not limited to just schools or educational institutions, says Ansif. If you can grasp a portion of how others live their life and apply it to your life, then that is also learning. In order to be a successful person one has to be a good person in life. Being humble, calm and rational in both mind and action is the best way to achieve these qualities, especially when you are an entrepreneur, he added.

Over the years of his travelling and meeting different people there are a few in his life who have encouraged, inspired and influenced Ansif to be a better person and a true ace of change.

It was Arun Pasricha, a businessman from Punjab that Ansif met in Kochi, the first person to recognise the entrepreneurial potentials in him. Arun used to say that in order to grow big in business, one has to associate or partner oneself with others. It was this advice that brought a transformation in Ansif, paving the way to the transformation that made him a rubber trader from a photographer.

When Cochin Herald started publishing it was then that His Excellency Dr. Rashid Al Leem, chairman of Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA), took an interest in Ansif. It was the recognition of Ansif’s skill in bringing people together that leads him to become one of the mentors of the media network. He extensively supported in the growth of the magazine in the gulf nations. It was Dr. Rashid who advised Ansif to just respond to everything he faces in life and instead of reacting to them. He encouraged the concept of creating a visible mark while living which later on inspired Ansif to establish the Young Chamber of Commerce.

We are all born with a unique genetic blueprint, which lays out the basic characteristics of our personality. And yet, we all know that life experiences do change us. It was Mufti Ismail Menk, a Muslim cleric and Grand Mufti of Zimbabwe, whom Ansif met in Kochi that inspired him to be a better person in character. An ardent follower of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), Mufti Menk has gained an admirable level of divinity in personality. It was his advice to Ansif on having good ethics and an acute anger control that made a righteous businessman out of him; further helping him in his business ventures.

Honours galore

Ansif is a businessman who took e-commerce as the promise of future into global business. It was for this reason that he was honoured him with the World’s Top e-Business Champion of the Year in 2008 by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 2008. He is the first Indian to get APEC award for e-Business. He was chosen as Brand Icon by Times of India in 2013. He has been awarded as Times of India Brand Icon in the year 2013.

He is the Founder President of Young Chamber of Commerce, the former e-Coach and mentor of Youth Employment Network which was a partnership of United Nations, World Bank & ILO.

Mr. Ansif Ashraf is also an experienced and expert trainer, adviser and speaker. He has authored articles in journals and magazines in both Malayalam and English, including his recent book ‘Vyaparathinte Puthiya Natappukal’.

A future in diversity

Over the time Cochin Herald Media Network have diversified and transformed itself to keep up with the emerging trends of the world.

The newest mobile tech-app That’sKochi, a fast growing e-commerce shopping app, for Kochi’s trending e-com space is one of Ansif’s brainchild. Be it movies, novels, articles or even websites, the perception of Kochi is being brought by all. Trying to draw an image of the city in terms of product availability into a digital canvas is what this new mobile app will do. The already up and running That’s Kochi app lets anybody within the city limits to buy, sell, rent or find anything and everything that the city has  to offer with utmost ease. This tending app has already been downloaded thousands of time stating the need for such a shopping portal here.

Another prestigious project that is in the pipeline is the Gulf Herald News Portal. Being able to bring out a news portal in the gulf regions is a necessity for any media network with good networks. Ansif recognised this opportunity earlier itself and has already started the balls rolling in it. Gulf Herald talks about the daily heartbeats of middle-east that is up-to-date on a real time basis. With support from his various friends and business acquaintances this prestigious project will start broadcasting soon.

Perhaps one of the most looked forward projects will be the restarting of weekly Malayalam newspaper from Cochin. The weekly paper which once was one of the best regularly published weekly newspaper in the region will be started again. The reels have already started rolling for this prestigious project and will be rich in news, views, information and thoughts of the city it is published from.

Living in the present

While following the steps of company’s predecessors, Cochin Herald was glad to accomplish the laid out targets to make it informative, interesting and valuable to all the readers through the editions to come. It provides one with everything that they will need to stay ahead in the fast-paced world of business. It includes latest news bulletins, essential technology, book reviews, key conferences and events, up and coming award ceremonies and last but not the least – business tips.

Cochin herald has become the essential guide for business products and services, including a wealth of information and specialist reviews. Tips and personal information are incorporated to provide the ultimate business lifestyle template. Leading business writers and expert’s regular column details specialist areas of business, draw first-hand experience and comprehensive analysis. A selection of high profile people discusses current business issues and new ventures, providing a detailed analysis on topics of interest. A series of interviews provide a rare insight into the thinking behind many of the world’s most infamous entrepreneurs, business specialists, and government ministers.

Cochin Herald works closely with regulatory bodies and business support organizations and the Institute of Business Advisers. Through the magazine’s media, Cochin Herald shares knowledge and best practice to influence policies for small businesses contributing to the growth of the Kerala State economy.

Cochin Herald Media Network unites some of the best experts, analysts, writers, designers, and historians. One feels that there are so many out there who deserves to have their stories told.

The company also being a publication is currently working on many autobiographies of several legends, and iconic figures. Cochin Herald Media Network takes great pride in telling their stories as they are the pride of their respective nation. With years of expertise in publishing business magazines, Cochin Herald Media Network now also focus on in-house publications. The company is currently working together with several reputed business enterprises to come up with their in-house magazines.

Melwin Joy
AUTHOR

Melwin Joy

All stories by: Melwin Joy