Born into a well-off, traditional family in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, Pramila hadn’t faced economic hurdles till a very late age. Married to a doctor and mother of two beautiful daughters, she was comfortable in her life. When her doctor husband passed away due to a cardiac arrest, not only was she emotionally shattered, but also confronted with the big question of means of survival. With the sudden demise of the sole bread earner of the family, she became dependent on her extended family for financial support.
But as a self respecting, strong woman, she chose to step into the utterly alien business world. She had studied up to higher secondary levels and did not have any formal business education. But it did not deter her from starting a business at the age of 50. On her brother’s advice, she started a small business from her home, selling Bhadang (puffed rice chivda), a traditional Maharashtrian snack. The popular snack gained appreciation in her friends’ circle in Hubli which boosted her confidence. It was during this initial phase that she got to know about Navodyami ‘santhes’ - platform for micro and small micro-entrepreneurs to exhibit and sell their products. Santhes are a part of the Disha pilot program. The Disha program aims to reach out to 10,000 existing and aspiring entrepreneurs, provide entrepreneurship development training to 3000, and incubate 1000 sustainable women entrepreneurs.
Pramila’s interaction with the Navodyami team and other micro-entrepreneurs fueled her desire to expand her business. She enrolled as a member of Navodyami and started her journey of entrepreneurial learning as a Disha beneficiary.
Talking about her business growth, Pramila says “I started my entrepreneurial journey with the popular snack of Maharashtra called Bhadang, which my brother used to send me from Kolhapur. Initially the demand was low, and I would source 20 – 30 kgs of Bhadang. After participating in Navodyami Santhe, I met more potential customers. My food product got a huge response and people loved the product. Orders started pouring in. I participated in two Navodyami Santhes, and soon after, people started recognizing me and my product. Now, I manage to sell about 100 to 150 kilos of Bhadang on an average every fortnight. Expanding my range of products, I have also started stocking up on Kandalussunchatni , a unique masala chilli powder, turmeric powder, Goda masala (use to prepare vegetable curries and Pulav). Apart from this, I am also trying to sell bhel and other varieties of snacks”
With growth in her business and selling capacity, Pramila has bagged a contract to serve Bhadang as a snack in Jain Heritage International School, Hebbal, Bangalore. The response has been very good and is giving her opportunity to venture into newer markets.
Emphasizing about Navodyami’s role in her success, Pramila says, "No other organization could have done it the way the Navodyami team has cooperated, supported and trained me to be an entrepreneur. Through the 5 day EDP training given under Disha, I have received inputs on how I could better manage my accounts and use resources properly. I do not feel like an early-phase entrepreneur clueless of what I should do next. instead I am confident and I can also motivate other women like me who need timely support at the most crucial phases of their lives."