Pravasi Friend, a recently launched organisation, provides all the services required by the NRI on their busy vacations at home

We all have NRI friends and relatives who come home for brief holidays, pay their relatives whirlwind visits and occasionally complain about the many local tasks to be accomplished before they return. These tasks can range from the payment of bills and taxes to real estate matters such as the buying of property. With the exodus to foreign lands being a never-ending phenomenon, two city-based individuals have decided to provide a helping hand to the harried NRIs so that they may enjoy a break in peace.

Taxes to bill payments

S. Manoj and P.R. Ganesh are the men in question, who have teamed up and co-founded Pravasi Friend, an organisation that provides all services required by non-residents short on time. “Our clients can save themselves the hassle of standing in line to pay bills or running around to organise events or scout for property. We take all such problems out of their hands,” says Ganesh.

Manoj and Ganesh are examples of entrepreneurs who have given up lucrative careers to pursue a passion. Manoj played for Kerala in the Ranji Trophy for five years, and worked at Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation Ltd. (SPIC) for a while before relocating to Kochi 10 years ago; Ganesh ran his own distributor business and managed its marketing for almost two decades.

Pravasi Friend is based in Kochi and the duo has a small team of people working for them throughout the length and breadth of the State to perform whatever services their clients may require. “The aim is to provide reliable service and to this end we are working with NRI communities all over the State and roping in franchisees to support any NRI who requires our service,” says Manoj, adding that “on many occasions, such as when buying property, NRIs depend on the advice of their dear ones or fall prey to the tactics of property builders. We see the big picture; we track development and give our clients fair advice on property and its future trends.”

Other services on offer are event management, travel and tourism, career guidance, legal support and insurance, to name a few. Both Manoj and Ganesh are confident as they talk about the ability of Pravasi Friend to fulfil requests, easily rattling off facts and figures and talking about the status of various developmental projects happening within the State, particularly the Metro Rail, and its impact on property values. “We have been advising our friends and relatives for a while, and though the organisation is relatively new, we have a wealth of experience going back years when it comes to the work we do,” says Ganesh.

State-wide service network

With over a hundred clients already using their services, Pravasi Friend is off to a good start and doing well, but Manoj and Ganesh are not done yet. “We plan on including more franchisees to provide a strong service network throughout the State, and eventually hope to provide the same to other States that have major communities abroad. Our promotion happens mainly through these communities as we advertise at airport arrival lounges and at NRI community meetings. So it makes sense to help out such communities in every way possible,” says Manoj.

Like most who choose to travel off the beaten path, Manoj and Ganesh were also met with opposition. “It was not easy, and even though we do reasonably well for ourselves we will still not be given much credit in society. But times change, and entrepreneurship is something that has now become a necessity,” says Manoj. Ganesh sums up the facts, “It’s a question of the road you take. When you take the well paved road, and an accident happens, people shrug it off. But when you take the road unknown, accidents are usually blamed on you.”

To know more about Pravasi Friend, visit www.pravasifriend.com.