Chennai

Budding entrepreneurs showcase their products

Startup exhibition at IIT-M offers solutions to range of issues

At a startup exhibition in the research park at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, young entrepreneurs, who won the National Entrepreneurship Award, showcased their products.

A common thread among them was identifying a need and finding a solution. If Vayujal converts atmospheric moisture into potable water, Earthen Tunes has designed an all-weather footwear for farmers. K. Santhosh said their product was a hit, as farmers until now had to make do with what urban people wore, despite the discomfort.

Asem Sundari Devi gave up her medical profession when she realised food security was “the need of the hour”. Along with Geetashori Yumnam, she launched Green Biotech Ecosolutions in 2014, in Manipur.

“We invested our savings of ₹85,000 and sold three packets of organic compost at ₹10 each. A week later, we got an order for 100 packets,” said Dr. Asem.

The women educated the farmers and developed aquaculture fertilisers too. “Farmers told us that the yield had increased and the taste was good. They also got higher returns,” she said. With a team of 25 members, they now make a turnover of ₹1.5 crore.

Sanitary napkins

Wheelchair user Ravindra Supekar of Shirdi noticed that absenteeism among girls in Maharashtra government schools was 35% for want of access to sanitary napkins. With a Mudra loan of ₹5 lakh, he set up Stree Swabhiman to supply sanitary napkins.

He installed dispensers in schools and manufacturing units. In the last four years, absenteeism has come down to below 5%. “We are now working on ‘no profit no loss’ basis,” he said.

Chhattisgarh is home to over 10 tribes who speak three different languages. Jeet Singh Arya used this diversity to develop a tourism circuit by training locals.

In his keynote address, Institute professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala supported startups. “You learn so much. You are given a tough problem and with minimal help you have to solve that problem. In established companies, you don’t learn to build,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 11:38:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/budding-entrepreneurs-showcase-their-products/article30959171.ece

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