With bigger plans in notebook

With bigger plans in notebookDoppala Nirmala from Vijayawada, ‘founder of ‘Ravindra Note Books’ who was present at the one-day entrepreneur programme named “Women in the Forefront” in Hyderabad talks about her challenges in starting a book manufacturing business

The journey was hard for the Dalit woman Doppala Nirmala from Vijayawada.

The journey was hard for the Dalit woman Doppala Nirmala from Vijayawada. But that did not stop her from aiming to become an entrepreneur and make a living independently.

She got into the business of manufacturing books, founded her own company 'Ravindra Notebooks' that supplies to schools and government offices.

Nirmala started her company in 2011 and named it after her son Ravindra. Today her company's turnover is over one crore rupees.

Looking back, she was too young to decide her life partner when she was married. "I was 20-years-old when I got married in 2000 along with my sister.

I donot know why my parents decided my marriage so soon; I was not even in a position to decide a right life partner and that's the reason we eventually got separated," she relates.

She has a son from the marriage. "I want to give him everything in life," she states. Her survival instinct led her to explore various options.

"One day while I was walking through a lane full of bookbinders in Vijayawada, the business idea struck me, and I asked one of the binders about the process.

He explained to me how they did it manually. Then I did research and started my books business; six months into it, I was still un satisfied, which was when I visited the Chittoor and Vijayawada books manufacturing companies.

There I got few more inputs on how to get machines do better work," shares Nirmala, who was already holding a Diploma in Computers by then.

Nirmala's role model is Kalpana Saroj, chairperson of 'Kamini Tubes', who is described as the original "Slumdog Millionaire". She has big plans for her company.

"I will invest seven crores into this. I have made my plans ready to borrow the same from banks," she informs. Being a single mother and raising a son she has done a remarkable progress in her business.

From the initial manufacturing capacity of 60,000 books per month, she, now has reached 2.4 crore notebooks per monthon an average.

She participates in government tenders and has been supplying to various departments of Government of Andhra Pradesh, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, Food Corporation of India, HUDCO.

I am a registered vendor in all these organisations," she informs. She provides employment to 25 technical persons and 12 women during the peak season and 15 technical persons and 3 women during the lean months.

When she first decided to get into book manufacturing business, she was dissuaded as it was perceived as rough and tough, in other words men's business.

"I didn't want to do a traditional 'ladies' jobs or get into tailoring, beauty parlour, or businesses associated with women. I was determined. The biggest challenge for me was to deal with the society.

At times I felt like I was getting crushed and wanted to get off the business. But again, when I remembered my responsibilities of raising a son; I, then, sincerely got into work," she shares.

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