MAKING A DIFFERENCE
DR B.R. SHETTY: THE ENTREPRENEUR PHILANTHROPIST
He was not a brilliant scholar but had an unquenchable curiosity and interest in everything around him. Hard work, dedication and determination helped him become a successful entrepreneur. Dr Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Abu Dhabi-based NMC Healthcare and Managing Director and CEO of UAE Exchange, is more than a business tycoon. He is a good samaritan, a philanthropist at heart and very generous in contributing for the needy. Dr Shetty was born in Kaup, Udupi, Karnataka, in 1942 and like many other boys his age went to school barefoot. After having a clinical degree in pharmacy, he left for United Arab Emirates (UAE), in 1973. He started a business there and gradually over the years succeeded in multiple businesses. Today, his business is spread across nations. He ventured into the field of health care by establishing New Medical Centre (NMC) in 1975 which expanded significantly over the years and is today the UAE’s largest private health care provider. The hospitals and medical centres under NMC cater to over two million patients annually across 12 facilities spread over five cities and four emirates. NMC Healthcare is also the first UAE company to be awarded a five-year contract by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Government of UAE, in 2012 to manage and operate the over 200-bed Sheikh Khalifa General Hospital, Umm al Quwain.
Later Dr Shetty started UAE Exchange, a leading global money transfer, foreign exchange and payment solutions brand with over 750 direct offices across 32 countries. In 2003, he founded Neopharma, the UAEbased pharmaceutical manufacturer inaugurated by none other than the then President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in Abu Dhabi. Neopharma has its own research and development wing and offers quality medicines at affordable prices. His other ventures include distribution business named NMC Trading.
Service to the community has always been in Dr Shetty’s mind. He is enthused by the dictum that the real secret of happiness is not in what you have or what you receive but in what you share. Before he left for Abu Dhabi, he was the Vice Chairman of the Municipal Council in Udupi and worked towards the cause of providing proper sanitary facilities, building concrete roads, schools, underground drainage and septic tanks for people to lead a better and healthy life.
Dr Shetty believes in ‘Education for All’ and supports the idea by giving scholarships to deserving and needy students. He also funds schools and colleges as well as promotes various sporting activities. The Padma Shri awardee, Dr Shetty is on the Board of Directors of Haldwani Medical College
in Uttarakhand and Manipal Medical Academy of which he is an alumnus. He is the Honorary Chairman of Abu Dhabi Indian School and has set up a number of schools in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, including Deira Private School, Bright Riders School (Mussafah and Al Gharbia) as well as Sara Nursery. “My mission in life is to serve the community, by way of my professional ventures and personal pursuits,” says he.
Dr Shetty believes in giving and donates not only to the Indians, but also to people from different communities and walks of life in times of a crisis.
He either donates monetarily or sends medical and critical care aids for victims of natural calamities. Besides helping people in countries hit by natural calamities in Bangladesh, Japan, Indonesia, India (Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir floods), Turkey, Sri Lanka, Thailand, he supplied medicines for the war victims in the Palestinian state too. “It is society which nurtures you. It is your duty to give back to society. Only when you share your success, does it multiply. I have strongly believed in this and it has worked for me,” says Dr Shetty.
He is the Director of the Special Care Center in Abu Dhabi and also supports the Cancer Foundation run by cricketer Imran Khan in Pakistan and the Mudra Foundation. Dr Shetty is the former President of the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council and played a vital role in building the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Interestingly, the kind hearted doctor is good actor too and has played the role of Dharmaraja, the King of Travancore, in the historical documentary “Travancore: a Saga of Benevolence”, directed by Kerala-based photojournalist B. Jayachandran.
Dr Shetty has won many awards and recognition. He was the first recipient of the ‘Order of Abu Dhabi’ by the Government of Abu Dhabi in 2005, the highest civilian award for contribution to the development of the community; conferred the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2009 for his achievements in trade and business; received the first-ever Swiss Ambassador’s Award 2008 from H.E. Wolfgang Amadeus Bruelhart, Ambassador of Switzerland, Abu Dhabi, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award and the Forbes Middle East Top Indian Leaders in the UAE Award, among others.