The story that we are going to talk about today is not just about women entrepreneurship but it is also going to talk about the courage of women who set up an entire business with their only skill, cooking. It is definitely ‘A Rag to Riches' story but it is more about the women who have been empowered by a small venture. It's a story about seven women who started to work with an intention to earn a living and ended up being entrepreneurs with an intention to empower women.
Many of us must have heard the name “Lijjat Papad”. Reading to this, many of us can recall the ad with a rabbit singing “Lijjat Paaaapad!”.
This article is going to be about the brains behind Lijjat Papad. Lijjat papad was brought into the market by 7 Gujarati ladies residing in a chawl in Mumbai.
The names of seven women who founded Lijjat are as follows:
Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat (Below picture)
Parvatiben Ramdas Thobani
Navalben Narandas Kundaliya
Bhanuben Narandas Tanna
Labhuben Amrutlal Gokani
Jayaben Gordhandas Vithlani
It came into existence on 15th March 1959. These ladies borrowed an amount of just Rs. 80 from Chaganlal Karamsi Parekh, a member of the Servants of India Society and a social worker. Also Pujya Dattani Bapa helped them to grow.
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On a highly sunny day, they gathered on a terrace and they created 4 packets on first day of Papad and sold to a seller in Bhuleshwar. And this way, they started receiving orders. However, this was not as easy as it seems. They went through several ups and down. They also had to stop production in the first year due to rains because they could dry papads only in sunlight. But like any other aspiring entrepreneurs, they also made through it. They made 25 recruitments in just 3 months. They made a sales revenue of Rs. 6196. They were also in newspapers. In the third year, their number increased to 300 women and they started facing problems of accommodation. So they started distributing kneaded dough to members who made papads at their respective homes which were then sent back for the packaging. As per an article, soon they gained popularity and started exporting 35% to US, UK, Holland, Singapore, Hong Kong and countries in the middle east. By 2015, the export rose to Rs. 100 million.
Source: Free Press Journal
They work on the Sarvodaya Principle saying that the company is of the women, for the women and by women. Also the profit and losses are divided among everyone and everyone has a veto power to express their views. It was evident through their work that they were creating a change by providing employment to several women. Even the recently joined sister gets the same share as others who have been there for longer. Its logo itself mentions “Symbol of women’s strength”. Hence, they got recognition by the Gram Udhyog and was considered a cottage industry.
Today, they have 81 branches in different states of India and 43000 sisters. Their head office is in Mumbai. Also they have several other products like Khakhra, Masala, Vadi, Wheat Atta, other bakery products, detergent powder and detergent cake. They also have their own flour mills, printing division and polypropylene packing division. By 2018, their turnover grew to Rs. 800 crores. They were also recognised as ‘Best Village Industry’ in 2003 and received the PHDCCI Brand Equity Award 2005; Power Brands Award, 2011; Wockhardt Foundation Social Development Award, 2017, Mahila Vikas Award, 2017; Global Economic Award, 2017 and Anita Parikh Empowerment of Women Award, 2019. They also provided scholarship to children of sister members who achieved success in 10th & 12th board exam of March 2018.
Source: NP News24
Isn't it inspiring to know that just with a capital of Rs. 80 if they could set up Rs. 800 crore business, why can't we do any of such things? Why can't we let the women of our houses work and earn?
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