Making it big with technology
THE HANS INDIA |
Oct 18,2015 , 01:18 AM IST
Embarking on a journey of a different kind, the young CEO, Likitha Bhanu is an example of the new-gen, that use technology to their advantage by taking on the mantle from their families
Likitha Bhanu, executive director and CEO at Terra Firma Projects partners with her mother in the company that markets a range of organic food products.
While her mother does the back-end job of farming and interacting with the farmers, Likitha is in-charge of operations. But one wonders what it might take to pave a road to success in a man’s world.
“For me, being a woman in the industry helps. I know the pulse of what women customers want, considering that a majority of the products are purchased by women,” says the 26-year-old.
This career choice may have come to her on a silver platter, but it wasn’t as easy as it looks. As a youngster, fresh out of Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), having studied biotechnology, Likitha started working at age of 22.
“This is the first and only job I’ve had,” she states, adding, “I have learned to listen and to take advice.”
The idea to set up a company started with her mother’s interest in gardening and farming. Her mother Padmaja Bhanu’s hobby was to maintain a kitchen garden since the age of 20.
No doubt then, that the mother-daughter duo shares a similar passion of starting young and bold in doing something big.
“I always had an interest in farming, especially organic. Fertilisers give too much yield, so I stopped using fertilisers because I did not need that much yield. I also realised that the taste is much better without the fertilisers,” explains Padmaja.
Starting off on a 3-acre land, the family grew all that they needed for the home, including eggs. Growing up with farm-fresh organic food, Likitha was soon inspired to make it bigger.
This served as an impetus for her to take on marketing and introduce the concept of e-commerce to the company, which started in 2013.
Likitha was the hands behind introducing the company on major e-commerce sites, and starting a home delivery service.
Their farms are all certified under USDA, European Union and Indian standards. Today, the company has started to introduce organic options, one meal at a time.
They recently launched their ready-to-cook breakfast products such as Foxtail Millet Upma mix among others. Meanwhile, her mother holds training programmes for farmers in the use of natural pesticides.
So is organic the way to go? “I really think it is. It has been my desire to make nutritious food price-worthy because we all know that processed food is unhealthy.
There are now many takers for organic food because of the awareness we now have,” says Likitha.Her challenges in the business included effective supply of produce and reaching the market.
“We source produce from some of our own farms and from farms in regions, which have the best produce. For example, we get rice from Kurnool and wheat from Rajasthan,” she explains.
As a final word of advice, Likitha shares out of her personal experience, “Don’t be scared. Just go forward and do what you need to without worrying about others.”