In the year 1996 Laxmi Naidu completed her Diploma in dress making and custom designing. She began stitching readymade garments at her residence, and later she ventured into creating Kasuthi designs. In the year 2009 she joined Satara Foundation as a production manager, and after working for 8 months she gained confidence to start her own enterprise Vasavi Fashion Designing.
Before taking up the Navodyami program she was stitching shirts, kurtis, Saree skirts, and blouses with the help of 10 members. Later she was left with only 2 workers and she continued stitching only matching saree blouses with a capacity of designing 20 blouses per day. In 2014 Laxmi was introduced to the Navodyami Program and underwent training and received consul for labor issues she was facing. Laxmi got connected to ATDC center and the Navodyami network of micro-entrepreneurs who are in similar businesses. Now Vasavi Fashion Designing employs 15 workers and has increased production from 20 pieces to 200 pieces per day. She plans to expand her business to employ 50 people, as well as start a training center.
Prakash Horthi is a handloom weaver from Narasapur, Gadag district. His family has been weaving for decades andhe is proficient in weaving cotton fabrics, producing 75 meters of cloth per day with the help of 9 machines. He was in the weaving business from couple of years with an initial investment of Rs 25000, but due to the market slowdown in 2013 he was forced to take up another job for a year. He was introduced to Navodyami and he never looked back. From the program Prakash received proper guidance for his business, problem analysis and troubleshooting, as well as market linkage within the Navodyami network.
Prakash was exposed to a new world of opportunities from the Navodyami Program, and was inspired to rebuild his business. He now has 4 labors working on 4 looms, producing 20 meters of cotton fabric per day. The cloth is directly sold to one of the Navodyami vendors from where he receivesa good profit for his products. Prakash’sgoal is expand his business to produce 100 meters per day.
36 year old Somanath is a bag manufacturer in the Gadag/Betageri district. After SSC he worked in medical sector, and he has 16 years of experience in distributing medicines. During his job tenure he would simultaneously purchase and sell bags, totaling over 2000 woven bags. He received a good response from his customers. In 2010 he decided to start Chaitanya Bags, his own unit of manufacturing bags with a small investment of Rs5000, manufacturing 8 varieties of bags with the help of 2 employees. He enrolled for the Navodyami program in 2014, where he was trained on management and marketing skills which helped him construct his business. He made a profit of 1.8 Lakhs after the training program. His future plan is to expand his production to 1000 bags per day and plans to employ 6 workers. He is positive that the marketing and financial assistance from Navodyami will help him expand his business.
Suresh K S, a micro entrepreneur and a producer of virgin coconut oil, shares his experiences about his enterprise.
"Coming from an agricultural family, I was always disappointed by the lack of recognition a farmer receives in our country. Moreover, the middlemen take a majority of the profit and leave the farmers with nothing. One day I read an article in the newspaper about coconut milk and virgin oil that was being produced in Malaysia. I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of this business and operate this venture in a way that will benefit everyone involved, from the very bottom to the top.
The article had impacted me greatly and had brought a new dimension to my life. I researched and found out as much information as I could about the product, technology, and market. Afterwards, I was trained in the production of coconut milk and virgin oil, and started on a small scale in 2012. I soon approached Navodyami for their guidance and support to build my enterprise. They not only helped me financially, but also gave my company a direction to move towards in order to reach my benchmarks and overall goals. They trusted my ability and supported me, which in turn helped build my confidence and reach greater heights. My family is happy and proud of me for developing my own enterprise.
I expect a major growth in my production levels and aim to reach a production of 2000 liters per month with a developed use of technology. I am also customizing our technology to fit my specifications. In the next 5 years, I plan to export my product and go global.”
Also known by the name of Prakash, Fakirappa Medar is a thriving entrepreneur in the cane and bamboo handicraft business. He agreed to share his journey of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
"After I finished my education, I had no job. I was interested in handicrafts so I joined a training session in Kundapur. This increased my interest in the art and gave me a reason to start my own enterprise.” Having started around 2003, he has been expanding his products, network, and quality. He faced challenges in improving and selling his products, leaving him with a meager turnover of Rs. 10,000/- per month.
"Being selected as a Navodyami winner in 2013 gave a new perspective to my life. I benefited greatly from this award, not only financially, but also through networking, publicity, proficiency and quality. Various workshops conducted by Navodyami opened my eyes to the current market needs. It gave my business the cutting edge,” says Fakirappa. Now, with a profit margin of Rs. 25,000/- per month, Fakirappa aims to go global in the next five years with a minimum profit margin of Rs. 50,000/- per month.
Vishwanath Keinchiis a micro-entrepreneur who operates a handloom enterprise, and shares his journey with us:
"Deeply moved by the dying Indian tradition of handlooms and the devastating lives of the weavers, I decided to open an enterprise that would support the local craft. I wanted to preserve the art of handlooms and incentivize the localities, especially the women, to continue this craft by providing them a viable livelihood.
I started on a small scale in 2007, expecting to obtain assistance from the Government. But when I didn't receive it, I decided to look elsewhere for financial support. Prasanna from the Charakha Foundation has been my mentor and my inspiration to improve. My wife has also been a source of support, encouraging me through the ups and downs of starting an enterprise. Since 2011, my business has experienced tremendous growth and success with the help of Navodyami. With the help of about 25 machines, I had gained a profit of Rs. 25-30 Lakhs in 2011. Navodyami has helped me drastically in terms of marketing and networking.
I have already employed about 100 workers and am expecting to employ at least 1,000 more in the next five years. I believe that empowering women with a viable livelihood will not only give them a good life, but will also help our rural areas develop dramatically. Therefore, a majority of my staff are women."
Raziya, a strong willed, enterprising entrepreneur enthusiastically shares her experience with us. "I started in 2011 on a very small scale. Dairy business looked like the simplest and most productive venture for me to start due to the availability of cattle and other resources in our village. I ventured into it only to sustain my family, so I had no big dreams but was definitely passionate about my work. I got to know about Navodyami and applied for the program. I was selected as a winner and this has changed my life for the better."
With a daily turnover of Rs. 280 to Rs. 300, Raziya used to worry about her son's future. Now she has a turnover of Rs. 1,500/- per day. "I get help from my children and we have expanded quite well" she says. Not stopping at that, she adds, “Navodyami helped me turn my worries into the will to dream and achieve.
Now I have the strength to do something big and realise my dream. They helped me get better network, I was exposed to other advanced dairies, training sessions on business management and marketing etc.; I was trained holistically. We now plan to invest in 10-15 more cattle and I want to build a better shelter and a bigger dairy." The sparkle in her voice describes the change and turn her life has taken. It has not only made her business become more sustainable but has also given her the wings to fly high.
Having run a business in cane and bamboo products for 13 years, Mr. Kumar Kundgoal was not very open to change and new learning. He was satisfied with his business and the support provided by the Government. However, one day he realized that his business needed changes to provide better products in a more cost-effective way. He hired more people and started marketing.
Being selected as Navodyami winner in 2012, his urge to expand the business became stronger. "Navodyami has changed my life. Not only did I benefit financially, but I have also developed myself significantly. I was never interested in learning new things, so I never attended any seminars or programs to enhance my skills. I did not even think of improving the quality of my products or innovating something different from others. I kept doing what I used to do without bothering about customer needs and satisfaction. People bought them because they were made of good quality, nice decoration or just merely because of the function. There was nothing innovative about my products. Now I attend workshops, functions, programs and grab every opportunity I get, not only to market my products but also to gain knowledge about market needs, innovation and change that will make my services more customer friendly and increase sales” he says, being overwhelmed by the improvement that Navodyami has brought to his life.
Now with a turnover of Rs. 20,000/- to Rs. 70,000/- per month, depending on season and exhibitions, Mr. Kumar wants to employ more people and create a social impact in the community. In the next five years, he aims at a steady turnover of Rs. 1,00,000 per month so that he can support more families and popularize his products extensively in the Hubli-Dharwad region. “People are now inspired by my work and they want to follow my path. I feel good about myself, like a role model” he says, giving major credit of his success to Navodyami.
Lalita Kantaraju, a thriving entrepreneur, with the support of her husband, started a new enterprise- a computer training centre, in the year 2011. After working for another institute as trainers, both Lalita and her husband felt that computer education was very essential but insufficient in North Karnataka. “It was a dream to start up on my own” she expresses about this passionate venture, to serve as well as to earn.
Initially, like most entrepreneurs, Lalita and her husband faced a lot of ups and downs and struggles. But, never losing faith and trust, they committed to make the business work.
"The first few months were a struggle, with a low turnover and loss at times. But now the enterprise is self-sustained and running well. I was introduced to Navodyami in 2011 and since then we have learnt a lot from them. Navodyami was like the building block of our enterprise. They supported us financially and encouraged us to expand. They also helped us get loans that enabled us to increase our capacity significantly. What my husband and I used to single-handedly handle now has a workforce of 7 employees".
A passionate venture who aims high and works hard, Lalita says "I expect to double the impact and income of our institute next year. I anticipate having a turnover of Rs. 5 lakhs per month by next month".
Hardworking and innovative, Mr. Ravindra Hegde started a business with great confidence and hope. His business focuses on bee breeding and breeding box manufacturing. Giving an insight about his enterprise, he says "I concentrate on building low cost, sustainable and efficient breeding boxes. I have a lot of agriculturists supporting me and they need low budget breeding boxes because bee breeding is only a small scale and side business for them. So I found innovative materials like cardboard and plastic that allows me to make good quality boxes with a very low budget".
"Navodyami was the icing on my cake. I gained a lot of support in financing, network building as well as reputation building because of my affiliation with the organisation", he speaks about how Navodyami has given him a new direction to his life. In the next five years, Ramchandra's goal is to employ more women in his venture. “Women are committed and capable of doing a lot of things. If I can support them by providing employment, I would certainly not think twice". he expresses. His association with various agriculturists has also helped him scale up his business to a large extent. He aims to expand his business further including going international.
Mr. Dinesh, an artist who lives in a village called Bhatkal, narrates his story about his thriving enterprise.
"I started my own enterprise when I asked myself 'why one should slog all day to help somebody else have the fruits of our efforts!' As an artist, I have always been passionate about doing what I want with great patience and dedication, and never stopping what I started until it has met my expectations.
I come from a financially unstable family; therefore I received no support from them when I started my own enterprise. But Navodyami identified my zeal and supported me through my endeavors. They provided training sessions, financial help, and a platform to interact with other thriving and successful entrepreneurs. Their support gave me he confidence and motivation I needed to grow my business. The encouragement and help that I receive from Navodyami has no boundaries and pushes me to continuously set higher goals for my enterprise and myself.
I am planning on expanding and increasing my productivity levels drastically by introducing newer technology in the next few months. My profit levels are in the margins of lakhs, but in the next few years I am working towards turning the lakhs into crores. I also want to employ at least 100 laborers and provide them a dignified life."
Started in the year 2011 on a small scale, Tirumaleshwar might not have even dreamt to expand and reach the scale he has reached today. Initially working only with one product, dry banana, popularly called "Sukeli", Tirumaleshwar was happy with his product and sales but he lacked marketing skills. "I was selected as Navodyami winner in 2011. Navodyami and Mr. Prasanna Dixit have been my constant support and inspiration” he described what gave his life a new perspective.
"Navodyami introduced me to many new things. We had training camps, mentorship sessions, we were guided to make effective business plans, marketing strategies, as well as how to maintain product quality and packaging and many other important lessons in business that we usually don’t take into consideration. I learnt to look into things and build on perfection and innovation. After a few training sessions I decided to expand my product range. I pondered on the raw materials available and what I could start on. I have about eight to ten varieties of food products now, ranging from pickles to buttermilk".
Tirumaleshwar has not only expanded his product range but also decided to expand his company. Speaking about his future plans, he says "I am facing a slight issue with labour and market in my village and so have decided to take up a space in the nearby town and shift my production centre there by 2014. My products now have a market and demand thanks to the Navodyami team. They have helped me greatly by getting in touch with customer needs and production and marketing techniques. This has helped me to give more focus on what is important and therefore be more productive. I expect to double my turnover in the next four to five months, as soon as I shift to the town".
An ambitious Bsc graduate, Mr. Shivashankar, inspired by his father, decided to open up a dairy business of his own in 2002-2003.
Very ambitious and determined, Shivshankar started from scratch and has already reached a turnover of Rs. 1, 00,000/- per month. He has expanded his enterprise and manufactured not only milk but also milk products and sweets. He has also reached out to twenty villages with distribution centers, has six full time employees and about twenty people working under him temporarily.
"Navodyami has helped him in terms of marketing, technical skills, field visits to understand established enterprises. “He aims to develop and expand his sweet mart very soon. In the next five years he also intends to reach out to many more places and work on an array of products. He has already invested in it and is looking forward to a future with more growth and expansion".
Mangala owns a relaxing vacation getaway called Amara Homestay since 2007, currently has 8 employees, and has invested 8,00,000/- rupees with a profit of only 1,00,000/- rupees. She wants Amara Homestay to accurately portray the culture of visitors interested in immersing in the local culture. She even aims to further enhance their experience by providing traditional and home cooked food Mangala aspires to expand her business by building cottages and providing free Ayurvedic spa consultancy to guests. Mangala has completed her education up to 10th standard.