They met at a bio-entrepreneurship program in 2021, and little did these two young women from Kerala realise that their friendship would soon blossom into a groundbreaking company, which is all set to launch a range of nutrient-rich food products made from agricultural byproducts that have been going to waste with no real use.
Sreelakshmi S, 24, from Palakkad, and Amritha Nair, 26, from Thiruvananthapuram, have come up with a revolutionary solution to make nutrient-rich food products from tons of agricultural byproducts that have been going to waste for all these years without any proper value addition. The Bio-Entrepreneurship Programme in 2021 was organised by Kerala Biotechnology Commission (KBC) – KSCSTE.
While Sreelakshmi’s innovative idea has led her to make cookies and biscuits from fruit peels, Amritha Nair has created cookies from rice bran. The biscuits made from rice bran have been named ‘Dhaanyamrit,’ and the cookies from fruit peels have been named ‘Fruitscuit.’ Their startup, “Uniwo Naturals”, currently incubated at the Business Innovation and Incubation Centre (BIIC) at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, also produces a wide range of nutritious and healthy items like powder and chips from fruit peels and rice bran, apart from biscuits and cookies.
Sreelakshmi, who did her engineering in Biotechnology, and Amritha Nair, who has an MSc in Biotechnology, met at the bio-entrepreneurship program in 2021 after their innovative ideas were selected to win prizes. “We became friends at the event and realized that we both shared the passion to do something unique in our lives. As our innovative ideas won prizes at the event, we decided to work together and register a company for it,” Sreelakshmi told “Open Digest.”
The result of their collaborative effort led to the creation of “Uniwo Naturals,” a company dedicated to transforming agricultural byproducts into delicious, nutrient-rich food products. Now, they have embarked on a mission together to create innovative and sustainable food solutions. The two as a team also won the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) idea grant of Rs 1.5 lakh and the KSUM Mahatma Gandhi University Research Incubation Programme (RINP) grant of Rs 2.5 lakh.
Through meticulous research and development, the duo is now in the process of securing necessary patents before entering the market. “Our products not only offer people nutrient-rich food but also help reduce food waste in the agricultural sector,” Sreelakshmi said, adding that their venture is receiving full support from the Kerala Startup Mission, and they will soon be applying for the necessary approvals to launch their products commercially in the market.
Two of their products have received provisional patent which is supported by Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Services (TIPS) at Sree Chithra Thirunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology – TIMed.
As Amritha and Sreelakshmi gear up to make a positive impact on the food industry, their remarkable journey serves as a testament to the power of friendship, determination, and the potential for positive change in our world.