The Life of an Entrepreneur

The Life of an Entrepreneur

PG Paper celebrates 18 years in business this week.  As we countdown to our official anniversary we ask the joint CEO of PG Paper, Puneet Gupta, what life is like as a serial entrepreneur.

Do you believe there is a pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur? 

I don’t think there are any shortcuts.  Being an overnight success has taken me 18 years of determination and hard work.  I have always been willing to learn and get stuck in, and listen to the advice of others.  During the more challenging times resilience is crucial.  During the past year increasing my fitness and focusing on my health has also proved a very positive focus.

You are a serial entrepreneur. How do you generate new ideas? 

Being open to learning and seeing things from different perspectives is really important.  Education is a lifelong pursuit and I take every opportunity to improve my knowledge and skills.  PG is an international firm and both travelling and networking help to stimulate my thinking and generate ideas for PG.  I am also surrounded by ambitious, creative people who are encouraged to bring ideas to the table.  By working together and sharing ideas we grow. More recently, working with a VC fund that specializes in early investments in Ed-tech, Fin-tech and Med-tech has really opened my mind to what is coming 5 years from now.

Has being an entrepreneur affected your family life? 

Yes… and no. Running your own business is a 24/7 commitment and I wouldn’t have it any other way to be honest.  I really hope my daughters are enthused and encouraged to follow their own career paths and I hope that some of my passion, dedication and hard work has rubbed off on them over the years.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur? 

There’s so much I enjoy about being an entrepreneur but one of the best things is that every day is different.  Working across five continents in both prime and stock markets, no one day is the same as the next.  We work hard to open opportunities and new markets, meaning each day brings new and exciting challenges.

I’ve also met so many great people.  From the PG team, who have worked with us to help build the company into what it is today, to our customers and mills, many of whom we have worked with since year one.  We may be working within the paper industry, but we are firmly a people business.
A slightly unexpected aspect of being a successful entrepreneur has been finding myself in the lucky position of being able to directly make a difference in people’s lives.  We support many social and charitable organizations in PG, both locally and across the globe and it helps to bring a real sense of purpose to my work.

Igniting PG Paper’s Purpose in a Time of Crisis

Igniting PG Paper’s Purpose in a Time of Crisis

Just over a year ago I wrote an article for our digital audience on the importance of purpose at PG Paper, the company I lead with my wife Poonam Gupta OBE.  I wrote it at a time when the firm was looking forward to the year ahead, planning our strategic goals, and Covid was not on our horizon.  

Covid redefines our work and personal lives

The next 12 months saw the world pivot on its axis.  Across our planet, people have lost their livelihoods, their health, and over 3 million have lost their lives to Covid.  

In common with so many businesses, PG Paper worked hard to deal with the enormous and ongoing impact of Covid as customer needs changed and staff worked remotely across the world.

PG Paper went into survival mode. More than ever before, our values and purpose were what pulled us through.  We built on our resilience, our entrepreneurship, and our kindness to each other. 

PG Paper is a truly international company. We have staff, suppliers, and customers throughout the world, we speak many different languages and are culturally diverse.  As the Covid wave moved across our planet, we dealt with the impact of that on our business, staff, clients, and suppliers.

We’ve worked hard over the past few months to learn from this experience and make PG Paper’s purpose as meaningful, relevant and impactful as possible during these difficult times. 

Focusing on Good Mental Health

Social distancing and Working from Home have created significant stress and anxiety over the past year.  We’ve partnered with a mental health charity to provide resources, training, and professional, one-to-one support to our staff.

Supporting Good Causes Globally and Locally

PG Paper has a long history of supporting a number of local, national and international charities including those working with vulnerable children and young adults, those working to extend access to education and healthcare, and we are proud to support a number of environmental initiatives too.

In December last year we supported a number of smaller local charities, nominated by our staff.  The charities had all been adversely impacted by Covid with fundraising opportunities greatly diminished and we hope our Christmas toys and gifts, sanitizer units, clothes, and financial contributions helped charities close to our hearts.

Staying Connected with each other

We’ve stayed connected and supportive with more virtual staff catch-ups and last month, although there wasn’t a black-tie or evening gown in sight, we all got together (virtually) to attend Action for Children’s Virtual Sports Dinner.



India’s Oxygen Crisis

Never has our purpose been stronger and clearer than in the past couple of weeks when India announced that it was running out of oxygen in the midst of a huge surge in Covid19 cases. 

The PG Paper team has spent the last fortnight working tirelessly to source, buy and deliver thousands of oxygen concentrators and oxygen generator machines. Poonam, myself and our international team have worked closely and collaboratively with NGOs, hospitals, and both the UK and Indian administrations to distribute these as effectively and efficiently as possible.

We are one of many organisations in the UK and across the world who are working to help ease the time critical situation in India.

The past week has made our purpose completely personal both for myself and for so many of the PG Team.  We have lost close family members friends and colleagues. 

The past year may have been challenging but it is our unwavering focus on PG’s purpose that leads our daily actions and our way forward.  We feel privileged to be in a position of being able to help India during this crisis.  Our efforts, like so many other organisations and individuals, will continue over the next week and our thoughts and prayers remain with our colleagues, customers, family, and friends in India.

A Call to CEOs

Before Covid, I attended numerous business leader events focused on the growing importance of purpose in business.  Organizations that are driven by purpose benefit from better-engaged employees, increased customer loyalty, are more innovative and financially successful. Although so many businesses have been badly hit by the lockdown in the past year, with CEOs, managing directors and company owners managing their businesses in “survival mode”, it will be the refining and refocusing of their purpose that makes organizations stand out and succeed during this critical time.  Are you focused on your purpose?


Puneet Gupta
Joint CEO, PG Paper

What is PG Paper’s Purpose?

What is PG Paper’s Purpose?

A company’s purpose is more than a mission statement or a vision.  Plainly put, it is the driving force or even raison d’etre for setting up a business.  It defines what a company stands for – ethically, emotionally and in practical terms too.


This week, PG’s COO, Puneet Gupta shares his thoughts on what makes the heart of PG Paper beat, and the importance of the company values.



So, what’s PG Paper’s purpose?


For me, PG Paper’s purpose is what connects the head, with the heart.  And by that, I mean serving our international customer base by understanding their needs – without losing sight of our environmental responsibilities and ethical core.  It’s also about ‘giving back’ and this extends to our PG team, our local community and supporting charitable causes.


The PG story so far……

Many of you reading this blog, will know PG’s back story and may have followed our journey from a start-up at the kitchen table in our family home in 2003, to the global business that we are now proud to lead, doing business in over 55 countries with international locations in the US, China, India, Turkey and Sweden. 

PG Paper started out in our kitchen – the ‘heart of the home’ – and it was here where Poonam and I discussed and laid out our company purpose and agreed our core values that are the foundations upon which we have built our business.

Almost two decades later, our purpose remains the key driver of PG Paper.  With every business success or win, I believe there is a related or corresponding opportunity for the company to give back.

Core Values

First comes purpose and then the values that bring your business purpose to life.  We created the infographic (below) a number of years ago, to communicate our purpose to our growing team, our customers and growing business networks.  I am pleased to say that these values still remain at the core of how we do business today. 

Demonstrating Purpose

 PG Paper has supported a number of local, national and international charities since 2003.  Our support extends to charities that work with vulnerable children and young adults, those who work to extend access to education and healthcare, as well as supporting a number of environmental initiatives too.

CSR in Action – A Snapshot

We have been fortunate enough to support a number of well-known international charities including Oxfam, Unicef, The British Asian Trust, Yuvraj Singh’s YouWeCan Foundation and the Virat Kohli Foundation – each charity supporting causes close to our hearts.

Elephant Family

We are delighted to have supported this Asian elephant conservation charity for the last four years.  Around 1 million people are displaced every year as a result of the economic demands of a growing population and the erosion of the Asian elephant’s natural habitat and corridors for movement. In November this year, Poonam and I will take part in a tuk-tuk race across India, for the third time, in support of Elephant Family’s vital work.

PG also supports a number of national charities, for example Action for Children and the Scottish Circle (a charity that Poonam helped establish in 2006 with the singer, Annie Lennox).

Action for Children

AFC helps the most vulnerable children throughout the UK, and PG Paper has been a long-standing supporter.  Our long-term sponsorship of the its flagship annual sports dinner has raised significant sums in support of the life-changing work of the charity.

With over 60% of the PG team living within a few miles of our HQ, many of our charitable endeavours are concentrated on giving back to our local community.  These are often charitable events or fundraisers that our team support, help organise or volunteer in support of.  This allows us to ‘give back’ to a wide-range of groups including local sports charities, schools, our local cancer hospice and foodbanks.

Demonstrating Purpose in Business – Paper Alternatives to Plastic

From the outset, themes of sustainability and environmental impact quickly provided focus to our business strategy and over the years, helped establish PG Paper as a prominent international paper trading business. And as we grow as a company, we continue to look upon these factors as key PG business drivers with our commitment to reducing waste and preventing recyclable materials going to landfill.

Today, these circular economy drivers continue to be at the core of our business, and the PG procurement and business development team support a myriad of businesses around the globe to source materials to allow them to meet their customer demands for recycled papers and boards, for compostable materials and paper alternatives to plastic.  To illustrate, colleagues in our business development team have seen an exponential increase in the number of orders placed by paper straw manufacturers, paper bag manufacturers and customers seeking alternatives to plastic pouches.

More to PG than P&L

At PG, we take a holistic approach to celebrating our successes. Exponential growth and great business wins are of course, crucial to business success.  But measuring success beyond the P&L, the balance sheet and EBITDA is our gauge of true success.  PG Paper’s clear purpose is the backbone of all success and it is this that guides the entire team to work ethically and fairly, with consideration, passion and kindness.