In 1998, Arunachalam Muruganantham, a gentleman in his mid thirties from a poverty stricken family in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu was shocked upon discovering that his wife and several other rural women in India were unable to afford sanitary napkins to use during menstruation and instead had to resort to dirty rags or locally available substances like sawdust which were extremely unhygienic. The observation motivated him to design experimental pads which could be made available to women. The process for doing the same though was extremely cumbersome. In a method that required continual experimentation involving women, social stigmas were a constant obstacle. Owing to the peculiar methods used by him Muruganantham was first deserted by his family and then ostracized from his village, with the general public terming him a psychopath.
It was only in 2006 that Muruganantham finally came up with an ingenious version of sanitary napkins and a device to produce the same on a large scale, thus earning him the title of ‘India’s Tampon King’. Owing to his invention, Muruganantham accorded recognition in the TIME magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People in the World and was recently also awarded the Padma Shri.
The most remarkable features in Muruganantham’s feat have been his long term commitment to solve a persistent social problem and his desire to ensure that the benefits of his invention reach out to rural communities in dire need of sanitation, irrespective of the profits that his startup company Jayshree Industries makes. His machine has not just provided a basic to necessity to women in remote Indian villages, it has also generated self-employment for thousands of rural women.
Jayshree Industries has now installed machines in 27 Indian states and seven other countries. “I make a rural woman to compete with multinationals. That is my achievement”, said Muruganantham in a talk.
The idea of starting up is perhaps akin to climbing a mountain. More often than not the very thought of the climb may appear overpowering and awe striking. Every step forward is a calculated risk; a single wrong foot may prove to be fatal. Yet, as you move ahead, newer heights beckon for not many other occurrences in the world can match the satisfaction that is achieved upon attaining the summit.
A startup similarly is driven by a vision, a desire to revolutionize the world. The initial efforts and demands may drain you out. In a setup where every decision counts you must know how to pace yourself, switch plans and compete. Just when you feel are you are in control, things may begin to slip out and you may feel utterly lost.
Yet, they say, “The best view comes after the hardest climb”. Indeed, the toughest expeditions are the most fulfilling for it is not just the destination but the journey that is worth cherishing. They say, “A bad day in the mountains always beats a good day in the office”. Indeed, every setback in your venture lays the foundation for a novel erudition. They say, “Climb mountains not so that the world can see you, but so you can see the world”. Indeed,
“Great companies start because the founders want to change the world… not make a fast buck.” – GUY KAWASAKI
So in a world where startups are the new fad and entrepreneurs are redefining economies, do you have what it takes to venture to the explore the unprecedented and venture to the highest scales?
Presenting BITS Pilani’s International Startup Conclave, ‘Conquest’!
We don’t ask for a business plan. We ask just for your business.
Now in its twelfth year of inception, Conquest in its previous editions has served as a perfect launchpad for young startups. Be it mentoring, incubation or networking, Conquest caters to all needs of startups, new in the ecosystem. With investment firms and media houses spanning the length and breadth of the country, Conquest is just the perfect platform for budding startups.
Got an idea? Bring it to life and ascend @Conquest 2016!