Table of Contents
Top 10 Rural Entrepreneurs of India
Image source- CNN
Hailing from a family of poor farmers in Mota Devailya village of Amreli district, Gujarat, Mansukhbhai is a popular rural entrepreneur. A school dropout, had to start helping his father in farming in his early years. But, he always had a positive approach towards life and made sure these problems did not affect him. Soon, he ended up developing a motorcycle based tractor for India’s poor farmers that are both, cost effective and fuel efficient. He also developed an attachment for a motorbike to customize it – a multipurpose tool bar called Bullet Santi which can carry out various farming activities like furrow opening, sowing, inter-culturing, and spraying operations. This innovation, which led to increase in productivity, turned out to be a blessing for hundreds of farmers in India. Bullet Santi has won a patent in India and US.
2. Mansukhbhai Patel
Image source- Forbes India
Mansukhbhai Patel, born in a family of farmers in a small village, always had a penchant for mechanical and electrical appliances. After finishing his high school studies he initially started working as a helper in a steel tube manufacturing company at Ahmedabad only to become the radical change in the field of farming by inventing “Chetak”, the cotton stripping machine. This has significantly changed the way farmers carry out their agricultural activities by processing bulks of cotton simultaneously saving tremendous amounts of time and cost. Eventually, this led to Patel diversifying his business and inventing cotton bailing machine, automatic ginning machine, and conveyor belt.
3. Mansukhbhai Prajapati
Image source- Indiatimes
Born in the Prajapati family near Rajkot, Mansukhbhai grew up in the family of clay-makers. Thus, he acquired the skill since his childhood, which was full of hardships and turbulence. He started his journey from a tea stall and reached a point in life where he took a loan of Rs 30,000 for setting up his own earthen plate manufacturing factory. His desire to grow in life led to him developing the roof tile developing machine producing 700 earthen pans a day.
But his success came with a time frame and the devastating earthquake of 2001 destroyed half of his products but also sparked an idea which led to the birth of “Mitticool” fridge. This was made up of terracotta and worked on a simple Physics principle of circulating and evaporating water, keeping the contents cool and fresh for upto five days. Mitticool, today, makes and exports fridge, non-stick tawa, low cost water filters, thermal water bottles etc. and has also won many awards. He also features on the list of Top Social Entrepreneurs of India.
4. Dadaji Khobragade
Image source- nif.org
Dadaji Khobragade was born in the remote Nanded village in Nagbhid tehsil, Maharashtra is a agricultural entrepreneur. He was barely literate and had no formal education in agriculture, when he began experimental breeding of a new variety of rice. After years of trial and error, he developed the highly successful variety of paddy – HMT rice that yielded 80% more when compared to the conventional varieties. Presently HMT, is grown all over India and this innovation of his also made it to the Forbes list.
5. Chintakindi Mallesham
Image source- BusinessRediff
Mallesham was born to a poor weaver family in the Sharjipet village of Andhra Pradesh. He had to discontinue his schooling, to assist his family with weaving. During those days, the weavers making the traditional silk sarees used to undergo a painstaking process (Asu), moving their hands up and down, thousands of times in a day for a single saree. Mallesham invented a device which mechanized the process and reduced the human effort to bare minimum. This invention increased the production from one to six saris in a day and also won a patent.
6. Madanlal Kumawat
Image source- Nif.org
Born in a family of carpenters, his childhood was spent in poverty. Due to the financial issues, he had to quit school after fourth grade and had to start working as a carpenter. Soon, his health started to deteriorate as most of his work involved lifting heavy weights and being exposed to wood dust. He then decided to do something of his own and ended up developing a fuel efficient, multi-crop thresher. Farmers benefited massively from the multi grain friendly thresher, that yielded cleaner grains and considerably eliminated the cost of cleaning. Presently, the threshers built by Madanlal are available in different sizes and models.
7. Kailash Katkar
Image source- YouTube
Born to a typical Maharastrian family in a small village of Rahimatpur in Maharastra, his father worked as a machine setter at Philips. Due to the disturbing family circumstances, he, in order to help his family, had to quit his studies after the 10th Grade. Soon, he started working at a calculator repair shop. Gradually, he became proficient in the repairing of popular office gadgets and other appliances. In 1993, he took the big step and founded CAT computer services, now famously known as Quick Heal Technologies. Today, the company employs more than 1200 workforce with a customer base of 17 million across the world.
8. PC Mustafa
Image source- YourStory
Born in a small village called Chennalode in Wayanad, his father was a coolie on a coffee plantation. Owing to the poor circumstances, after his schooling hours, Mustafa had to work with his father to add to the meager family income. After failing in Class 6 to standing 1st in Class 10, Mustafa realized how important is to educate oneself to succeed in life. He worked extremely hard to secure admission in the computer science field of National Institute of Technology only to be later placed at Manhattan Associates, an Indian start-up in the US.
Gradually, shifting gears from one after other, Mustafa finally decided to relocate to India in 2003. Desperately looking for a business venture, he soon came up the idea of ID Fresh (idli dosa batter) and with an investment of Rs 25,000/- started a company immediately along with his cousins. From selling 100 packets a day to catering across various cities in India and now expanding in Dubai, ID Fresh is now a 100 Cr company producing 50,000 packets a day with 1,100 employees. The remarkable feature at ID Fresh is that it recruits people from rural areas providing them with wide opportunities to succeed and grow in life. He is regarded as the one of the top food entrepreneurs of recent times.
9. Jyothi Reddy
Image source- ScoopWhoop
Born as the Fifth child to a poor family, she was admitted into a welfare orphanage. Married at an early age of 16, she had to start working in the fields to sustain her family. But her desire for a bright future led to her volunteering at NYK, teaching, stitching petticoats at night and various other odd jobs just to sustain her family. Determined to succeed, she decided to study further and obtained a BA from a renowned university and started working as a teacher making decent money. But her passion to reach to the top took her to United States, where she after switching tons of job, started her own consulting company Keys Software Solutions Inc. (KEYYS). In 2016, the Company notched up a turnover of USD 15 million.
10. Gyanesh Pandey
Image source- Rediff
Gyanesh Pandey grew up in a remote village in west Champaran district of Bihar, a region devoid of power and lacking rural development. He went on to become an engineer and pursued his masters from the USA, but it was his desire to Electrify his village that brought Gyanesh Pandey back from Los Angeles (2001) where he was working as a senior Yield enhancement engineer. For the next 5 years, he along with his friend experimented with several technologies but all of them failed. It was then they had the idea to generate power from renewable farm waste (Husk). The rice Husk was used to supply power to micro power plants which generated electricity. A year later a company called Husk Power Systems (HPS) was set up which has gone on to set up numerous power plants across different villages.
How is that for motivation?
Need more? Check out the inspiring stories of Bravery Award Winners