Date of Issue:4 February 2016
Born on March 4, 1916 into an aristocratic Saraswat family and educated in Marathi, Portuguese and English, Vasantrao entered the family business when he was quite young. After his elementary education, he went to the Lyceum where he took his baccalaureate at the age of 18. In 1932, he married Girijabai Naik Gaunekar of Bandora. A year later, Vasantrao paid his first visit to British India.
With the Liberation of Goa, Vasantrao embarked on a diversification programme and expanded his industrial empire. For Vasantrao, business was no stranger. The Dempos had been in business even as early as 1600, when they owned a fleet of ‘pangayas’ country sailing craft, and ran a passenger-cum-cargo service from Goa to African and Arabian ports.
Vasantrao started his personal enterprise in 1941. He was barely out of school then. Despite his youth, he was immediately successful. Vasantrao looked towards twin ideals: expansion and diversification. In 1941, Vasantrao borrowed money and started business as a shipping agent. He was assisted by his younger brother Voicuntrao. In 1941 he set up his own VS Dempo & Co Pvt Ltd and began to import foreign goods like perfumes, chocolate and other confectionery acquired from England and Portugal. He had agencies to sell trucks and motor cars.
He took the initiative to establish the Dempo Charities Trust which apart from helping hundreds of students and other individuals and institutions, managed two colleges at Panaji namely Dhempe College of Art and Science and Srinivas Sinai Dempo College of Commerce and Economics. He also established two daily newspapers The Navhind Times in English and Navprabha in Marathi. Vasantrao Dempo passed away on November 9, 2000.