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From farming to food unit: Kerala woman fights adversities to become an entrepreneur

Thulasi Sabu

There were umpteen reasons for this woman to feel let down in her life. But Thulasi Sabu of Kerala decided not to let the obstacles bog her down. Fighting all the challenges, she has built a successful life as an entrepreneur earning Rs one lakh per month.

This 47-year-old ordinary woman from Elikulam in Kottayam has shown the world that hard work, dedication, and a strong will are all enough to become a successful entrepreneur, and not any big investment.

It all began when she and her husband Sabu, a daily wage labourer, decided to start growing vegetables on their nine-cent plot. Though many dissuaded them, saying farming would never be profitable and it’s a waste of time, Thulasi was determined to give her best in farming. “I lost my parents at a young age and grew up in a monastery. I knew that life wouldn’t be so easy for me, so I was determined to put my best effort when we decided to take up farming,” Thulasi told “Open Digest“.

As their efforts to do farming on their small plot yielded positive results, they decided to expand the farming by taking 80 cents of land near their home on lease. They started growing tapioca, ginger, and different yams. “When fluctuating prices in the market really worried us, we decided to go for value-added products from the vegetables and introduced pickles and chips made from the vegetables,” she said, adding that to remain successful in the market, a farmer needs to be adaptive.

Thulasi also established a small food-making unit to supply appam, puttu, and idiyappam to small hotels and eateries in and around Kottayam. “I started making appams in my kitchen for catering to small orders. Because of the quality and taste, we soon started getting orders for weddings and other functions,” she said. Now Thulasi runs a unit under the brand name “Aishwarya Foods” that supplies different food products to catering agencies and event planners.

Thulasi’s determination to beat the obstacles didn’t end up with farming and food business. After a staff member who used to deliver her food products daily to the eateries continuously failed to perform the duty on time, she decided to take up the task by herself and learned how to ride an autorickshaw. “I learned to ride an autorickshaw and bought an electric auto to deliver the food products to my clients,” she said.

Now Thulasi not only delivers the food orders in her e-auto in the morning but also ferries passengers during the daytime. “I haven’t learned any management course. But to be a successful entrepreneur, one should know how to manage each step in our business without the help of others if required,” she added.

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