Breaking work stereotypes
Hyderabad-based Dasari Aruna strives her way ahead in what is perceived as amale-dominated field of work (plastic recycling), and sets an example of empowerment
Hyderabad-based DasariAruna, a management graduate in HR entered the business of plastic recycling amidst much discouragemen, in 2015.
She shares, "Once, when I was travelling to Bengaluru in a train, I saw many water bottles lying around, and it occurred to me that these bottles can be made productive by recycling.
I wanted to start my own business and be independent and getting into plastic recycling seemed like the right decision." She established three companies-Ananya Greentech, Ananya Polymers and Ananya Poly Greentech.
"When I tried getting into the business, I was discouraged by saying that it was "Chetta" (garbage) business.
Being a woman, they thought I could not enter this industry as it is dominated by Muslim men and illiterates. They dissuaded me saying workers come drunk to work.
I wanted to prove them wrong with my success. Today, it is a different ball game altogether. Now, everyone talks about plastics recycling," she relates.
She began in a small way and developed her business in stages and today she clocks a turnover of Rs 8crore.
"I did a short diploma course from CPET (Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology). I also did one-week entrepreneur course in IIP- Indian Institute of Packing.
I wanted to start off with pet bottle recycling, but the project was too huge and had a high budget, so I got into the recycling of HDP pipes scrap. In the beginning I did not want to invest on it too much, but later I started an all plastic recycling industry.
We are also into manufacturing plastic components and products such as curd buckets, domestic plastic products such as plastic tubs, jars, etc," says Aruna.
"I didn't want to depend on anyone for money," she explains how she managed to pool the money for her business, "The imported machinery was very expensive.
I began my entrepreneurial journey by outsourcing a local machine, which I procured at a cost of Rs 60 lakh.
After many months of follow up, Canara Bank sanctioned a loan of Rs 48 lakh. I managed the balance Rs 12 lakhs by selling my marriage jewellery and taking a loan from my father and in-laws."
Marketing and manpower were a huge challenge for her as well, but she sustained her efforts. She says, "We need skilled labours and operators, and the big challenge was that I couldn't find any operators, and those available were demanding huge amount as salary.
Procuring raw material was yet another major task. Marketing was a challenge too."
She has come a long way overcoming the obstacles. Now, she doesn't consider the initial hiccups in setting up the plant as hindrances anymore. She advises young women entrepreneurs to never give up.
"Keep going until you achieve your dreams. All the problems or even the joyful things are temporary.
Your persistence should be your strength. Whatever you do, you do it with your heart and mind in it, hard work is the only success mantra," she tells them.