Startups are today a showcase for young minds to catalyse their talent and undying spirit to create something of their own. Entrepreneurs are venturing into varied avenues that have converted hobbies and passions into viable businesses.
One such startup is Naral Mitra, by Bhaskar Jagtap, a Technical engineer who decided to make his part time hobby into a full-fledged startup venture. Naral Mitra, is a social startup aimed at maintaining the many coconut trees that populate Pune city. “If you just look around in the city, you’ll come across quite a few deserted coconut trees. They tend to damage property thanks to their heavy leaves that eventually drop down . Despite that, they are extremely environmentally friendly and we need them,” explains Jagtap.
Naral Mitra– the coconut plucking service provides an annual maintenance contract, including plucking of the mature coconuts, coconut treatment and providing a safety net to ensure no harm is caused by an abrupt coconut falling. The idea struck Jagtap while he was still a college going student, “I created a coconut tree climbing machine which made the process simpler and safer. Even after I got a high paying job I would offer my machine and pluck coconuts after work. I really enjoyed it,” he smiles. Taking the idea forward, the budding entrepreneur realised that the issue of scarcity of coconut climbers could be solved as well. He goes on to explain, “It is a very unorganised sector. Most of those who do the job of coconut plucking are drunkards and do it to make a few bucks. I felt that we could change this scenario under Naral Mitra.”
Providing services three times a year, their team of coconut climbers are trained for a month and assist Jagtap for a while before they are sent out alone. Complete, dressed in uniform and carrying adept safety gear, the team will ensure that “you can enjoy the organic value of the tree without it becoming a nuisance.”
“Anything you do with passion, you will earn out of it,” were words that motivated Jagtap to start off providing safety equipment for coconut climbers to a fully developed business. As it grew, Jagtap began promoting handmade coconut products made by the rural women under his social startup. But, building a team manged to be a consistent block. “There is no willingness to do such a job. It’s also looked down upon and not considered as dignified work,” says Jagtap.
Setting up in January, 2015 Jagtap has already ventured into markets outside of Pune with clients such as Sachin Tendulkar and various educational institutions, corporates and housing societies. With almost 1200 clients, Jagtap aims to fulfil his dream, “At Naral Mitra, we just want to save the environment. Once upon a time Pune was a city where you didn’t even require a fan and look at the way it is now. Hence, along with maintaining coconut trees we promote and participate in tree plantation drives,” he beams.
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