Meet the 26 year old entrepreneur from Fatehabad!
What happens when an enthusiastic 26-year-old woman is mentored and encouraged on achieving her dreams of becoming an entrepreneur? This is the story of Pinki, a resident of Bhoda Hoshnak village of Fatehabad district, Haryana who started her own business called ANV+ Detergent.
Bhoda Hoshnak, 187 km west of Delhi, is a small village in Fatehabad district of Haryana. Census 2011 states that a total of 423 families are residing in the village. In 2011, literacy rate of Bhoda Hoshnak village was 69.16 % compared to 75.55 % of Haryana. Male literacy stands at 77.54 % while female literacy rate was at a dismal 59.93 %. Out of total population, 1127 were engaged in work activities. 62.47% of workers describe their work as Main Work (employment or earning more than 6 Months) while 37.53% were involved in marginal activity providing livelihood for less than 6 months. Of 1127 workers engaged in Main Work, 278 were cultivators (owner or co-owner) while 103 were agricultural labourers.
Pinki, a 26-year-old woman is a resident of Bhoda Hoshnak village. She resides with her husband Subhash, and two children. For a long time, their livelihood depended on the income generated by the general store that was run by them. However, sustaining it turned out to be difficult and eventually the store had to be shut down. Unfortunately, because of this they had to join the unorganized sector as labourers, earning Rs.6000/- per month. Due to limited sources of income and unavailability of other sources of employment, they had to indulge in the same work for many years.
In July 2017, Pinki was encouraged by her friends to become a part of the SHG that they were a part of. During the SHG meetings, Pinki was informed about the initiatives introduced by the government that are being carried at the cluster level to uplift the people of her village. In one such meeting, she got to know about detergent making process. Excited about this process and the envisioning the start of her entrepreneurial career, she shared this knowledge with her husband. Soon enough, both of them decided to take training on detergent making. They expressed the will to scale up their small-scale business and availed loan via the Self-Help Group. To kick-start her dream of starting a detergent making initiative, she along with Subhash, invested their savings of Rs. 14000.
While setting up her detergent making business, as a new entrepreneur, she faced numerous problems. She had no knowledge about equipment needed to sustain her business. “I received help from my trainer. He is also a friend and works with my husband. Some of my friends also came in to help me”, she responds enthusiastically. Although, because of the novelty of the initiative, Pinki didn’t receive as much customers as expected, but soon enough, her customer base increased as word of mouth spread.
“Making detergent powder wasn’t easy in the beginning. People around me were asking why I wouldn’t look for a full-time employment in a company. In fact, they kept reminding us of the health hazards of being involved in such a business”, says Pinki. Her husband Subhash agreed with her and said that comments like "that is not your market", "you need not be concerned with running a business” were common phrases thrown at them.
The success of the detergent making business was enough to shut all the negative energy. With that, there was a sudden change with all the critics turning into supportive friends. As the business started to scale up, cash flow and profit started to increase. From earning Rs. 6000 per month, Pinki’s income jumped to Rs. 20000 per month. With the profit, she ventured into selling soap, handwash, dishwash bar and toilet cleaners. As their products gained popularity, people from other villages also started coming to buy these products. In fact, Pinki and Subhash have inspired more people to get into the business of detergent making.
Future expansion plans have already been mapped out by Pinki. “I want to form a producer group and register my business to increase my market. That way I will be able to sell my products in nearby markets” says an excited Pinki.
Pinki says that the LDF has always motivated and guided them on setting up and expanding their business. At the time of scaling up, it was LDF that guided her on the process of approaching for loans and various other registrations. “Without the intervention of LDF, I don’t think I would have known how to promote my products and how to approach makers and VOs or CLFs” says Pinki while she thanks LDF on the mentorship provided.