A recent graduate of the Master of Business Administration program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is putting his business skills to good use with the creation of a new beverage business in Little Rock.
Pavithran Tirukazhukundram Sekar Indira, founder and CEO of Magic Water Drinks, originally came to UA Little Rock from India to complete a master’s degree in construction management. After he enrolled in the MBA program, Indira set his eyes on starting a business.
“My father worked with rice, and I grew up on a farm,” Indira said. “I wanted to go into the food and beverage industry. I am very passionate about this industry. Everyone in my family works in business. It’s in my blood.”
In 2018, Indira visited the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center for assistance in starting his business. His business consultant, Nicolas Mayerhoeffer, said he was immediately impressed by Indira’s drive to succeed.
“Pavi came from a different country, completed an MBA, and is now talking with Walmart, Kroger, and other large businesses to expand his company,” Mayerhoeffer said. “Pavi’s story is absolutely incredible. He’s not the typical entrepreneur. He’s had more challenges than others, and it was incredible to see him succeed.”
Mayerhoeffer and Indira started doing market research into the food and beverage industry. Originally, he was interested in starting a microbrewery but later decided on a beverage company.
“The trends show which industry is growing faster,” Mayerhoeffer said. “Microbreweries were trending down, while soft drinks are growing faster than microbreweries. The markets shift all the time.”
Indira is currently renting a 5,200-square-foot factory space that serves as the base of operations and production for his company, Magic Water Drinks, which produces water infused with organic extract flavors. He employs four people. Together, they produce more than 400,000 bottles of water per month.
“As a student who is new to the U.S., I don’t know the business market,” Pavi said. “The ASBTDC helped me and guided me through steps like registering my business. Without them, I wouldn’t have made a product. At UA Little Rock, I learned how to run a business. This is where everything started for me. I’ve even met the chancellor, and she really liked my drinks.”
As his business grows, Indira has plans to expand his product line and hire additional factory workers as well as drivers. If everything stays on track, he projects he will make $300,000 to $400,000 in profit by the end of the year.
A self-described go-getter, Indira said he’s saved a lot of money in startup costs by learning skills at the ASTBDC and doing the work himself.
“I’ve taken 20 training classes through ASBTDC,” Indira said. “I took a class on Canva, and I created my logo using that program. There was another class, Website in a Day, that teaches small businesses how to create websites. I made my own website and saved thousands of dollars. Market research is one of the most expensive things for new businesses, and they provided it to me for free.”
After seeing so many people fall ill because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Indira was inspired to create a new product that he hopes will keep people healthier. He has a new peach mango-flavored energy drink with immune boosters, turmeric, ginger, and green tea.