Three entrepreneurs and Valparai

British-era colonial bungalows in a quaint hill station, a food scientist-turned-entrepreneur, and a 25-year-old biofertilizer millionaire are all part of our newsletter this week

Rashmi Pratap
29 Oct 2023
New Update
Three entrepreneurs and Valparai

Three entrepreneurs and Valparai

Dear Reader,

When the Covid lockdown was announced in March 2020, everything came to a grinding halt. Many businesses had to shut down, people lost jobs, and incomplete projects were either shelved or terminated abruptly.

Akshay Shrivastav’s life was no exception. The lab in IIT (BHU), where 22-year-old Akshay was testing his biofertilizers, was also closed. He saw his research going in vain as he could not track the results of his organic fertilizers on plants.

Once back home in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, he had to face ridicule from villagers. But Akshay overcame demotivation and began to collect microbes from swamps, fields, and forests. He produced around 3 kg of biofertilizer at his home during the lockdown. The villagers tested them and the results were impressive, writes my colleague Bilal.

Cut to 2023. Akshay’s company LCB Fertilzer is now clocking Rs3 crore in annual revenues and is helping thousands of farmers shift to organic farming. Akshay’s journey from zero to hero is inspiring and reiterates that there is no substitute for hard work and patience. Do look it up.

My colleague Aruna wrote a very inspiring story on Vindhya e-Infomedia, set up by YS Pavithra in 2006. About 30 percent of its employees are persons with disabilities. So far, it has created opportunities for over 7,000 people with challenges including visual and hearing impairment, autism and acid attack survivors, people of short stature and those who are wheelchair bound among others.

Many people have grown at the organization to take up managerial roles or have moved to multinationals as they found bigger opportunities. For Pavithra, the BPO is an extension of the empathy and compassion she developed as a child on seeing her doctor-mother treating people from slums for free. These stories reiterate our belief in humanity and the importance of doing good. Kudos to Pavithra and her team!

Our other interesting piece is from Telangana, where a food scientist decided to become an entrepreneur after creating recipes for others for over a decade. In 2019, Sowmya Mandaripu launched her healthy food startup Millennova Foods, which uses millets, lentils, fruits, and vegetables to make ready-to-eat snacks.

Buoyed by the response to her products, Sowmya is now setting up a new facility that can process one tonne of millet daily, she told me. She has also trained thousands of women in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Manipur in food processing and many of them are now entrepreneurs.

Our Sunday feature is on Valparai, the hidden gem in Tamil Nadu’s Anaimalai Hills. The route to this little-known hill station has 40 hairpin bends! And there’s a lot more that makes it an offbeat tourism destination.

Happy Reading!





How this UP farmer’s son set up Rs 3 crore biofertilizer business


How Vindhya e-Infomedia is mainstreaming persons with disabilities


Telangana food scientist turns entrepreneur with millet energy bars and snacks; trains rural women in food processing