PK Abdulla Koya’s seal to a Made in Gulf success story

P.K. Abdulla Koya has helped nearly 15,000 people across country to gain self-employment.

Kochi: He is smart and shrewd with a capacity to identify a business opportunity and its step-by-step execution. But what makes P.K. Abdulla Koya different from other business persons is his totally unassuming personality and down-to-earth attitude. A person with an innate talent for long conversations, he gives the impression that running a multi-million-dollar business having footprints in different time zones is as easy as taking a stroll along the seashore at Beypore, his native place near Kozhikode.

Koyakka, as he is fondly called by his friends, personifies one of the now-familiar ‘Made in Gulf’ success stories associated with the Malayali diaspora in West Asia. More than the million-dollar businesses he heads, Mr. Koya, however, is keen to be known as a person who has helped nearly 15,000 people across the country gain self-employment with the aid of a product that was developed by him and his colleagues with patented Japanese technology. The product under the brand name Sunstamper, the first pre-inked stamp with patented ink technology, has changed the art of seal-making in the world.

The man from Beypore was instrumental for the change. The Sunstamper enables a seal-maker to make the seal in less than two minutes with the help of a computer, printer and a flash machine.

The overall investment will be less than `40,000 and the system could be operated from a place having a table space. A single seal could give thousands of clear impressions without the need for any ink pads.

“I was keen to share the technology with some traditional seal (rubber stamp) makers in Kozhikode. Unfortunately, none of them have shown much interest. But I was able to convince a few youngsters about the potential of new ways of seal- making and they agreed to try their luck. The rest is history. Today, I don't think anybody is going for the old-style rubber stamp-making, a cumbersome and time -consuming process,” Mr. Koya said.

“We provide the complete knowhow to anyone looking for a decent income as a self-employed person. A large number of people from all over the country have reposed their faith in us and I feel that none of them are disappointed. All of them are making decent incomes," he said.

The ability to observe and learn new things separated Mr. Koya from the many thousands who have landed in Dubai and other parts of UAE from Kerala in the early 1970s. This quality has helped him in his pursuit for a meaningful life in the desolate desert environment. Learning the rudiments of screen-printing with the help of a friend in Kozhikode was the game- changer for him.

The art of screen-printing was largely unknown in much of the UAE in those days and he was credited with opening the second such enterprise in the region. He set up Addprint in Abu Dhabi while the other was in Dubai.

Addprint helped Mr. Koya in stepping into the world of seal-making and today he has the most advanced seal-making system under the brand name Sunstamper. “The emigration seal stamped in every passport of those passing through UAE nowadays is our creation,” said Mr. Koya.

Screen-printing has opened the door for Mr. Koya to the world of office automation and corporate gifts. Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the entire UAE in the cusp of turning into gleaming commercial entities with help of petrodollars in the past years offered good business opportunities in these areas. The steady business hit a fast growth curve with the first Gulf War in the early 1990s when US troops landed in West Asia. The US army personnel were looking for printing T-shirts for their solders with appropriate imageries. "Thousands of T-shirts needed to be printed every day and it was a real boom for my business," he said.

Apart from the seal business, Mr. Koya, is also chairman of Meltrax, an Abu Dahbi-based company supplying electrical and electronic equipment, accessories, optical fibre, copper cables, design, supply and installation of solar systems, design, supply and installation of power station and substation. The company has business in West Asia, China, Jordan, Australia, Africa and Papua New Guinea (PNG). Walayar Steels, TMT steel -manufacturing units and roofing tile- making units in Kozhikode are some the businesses set up by Mr. Koya in Kerala.

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