HYDERABAD: Throughout history, women entrepreneurs have had a remarkable impact. Their courage to stand tall and contribute to society stands as one of the most admirable qualities. Recently, during the IIMB Golden Jubilee Celebrations, the President of India met four women entrepreneurs as part of NSRCEL, the leading incubation centre for start-ups, emerging businesses and women entrepreneurs in India.
Among these accomplished individuals was Harini Chodagam, the sole woman entrepreneur from Hyderabad. As the founder and director of Palasah Manufacturers and Traders Pvt Ltd, her insights shed light on her entrepreneurial journey.
Reflecting on her path and the genesis of her start-up, she shares, “I pursued an MBA and initiated Palasah in 2019. Despite facing two lockdowns, we’ve persevered. My aspiration was twofold: to pursue entrepreneurship and contribute meaningfully to society. Hence, our choice. Ours is an all-women company, with all women at the helm. Nearly half of our workforce comprises women. Additionally, we focus on biodegradable products, aligning with our commitment to the environment.”
Detailing the company’s offerings, she explains, “We specialise in manufacturing sanitary napkin vending machines, incinerators, manufacturing machinery, and biodegradable raw materials.” Regarding her interaction with President Droupadi Murmu, she highlights, “I recently completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Entrepreneurs Programme at IIM Bengaluru facilitated by NSRCEL.
This led to the opportunity to meet the President. Among numerous entrepreneurs, only four women were selected from NSRCEL for a private meeting with the President. We individually presented our enterprises. Her insights and guidance on the way forward were invaluable.”
Recalling the meeting, she fondly expresses, “It was an enriching experience. Her warmth and ability to put one at ease were remarkable. She emphasised the inclusion of more women in my endeavours. Encouraging women to venture into entrepreneurship or secure a source of income was her advice. She urged us to strive toward making India the world’s third-largest economy.”
Inspiration fuels her journey, and she credits her mother, stating, “My mother, a working woman, remains my inspiration. Witnessing her navigate the challenges of raising children while working tirelessly, she was the sole working woman in our family. Her sacrifices have shaped my present.”
Discussing the persisting taboo around menstruation, she notes, “While urban areas show some openness, rural regions still face challenges. About 52 per cent of rural women don’t use sanitary napkins. Initiating conversations is crucial, but making these products accessible is our primary goal.”
Sharing impactful experiences, she adds, “Collaborating with NGOs, we’ve supported girl students by providing sanitary napkins alongside meals, encouraging school attendance. Offering a 50 per cent discount to NGOs enables us to contribute despite not directly engaging in charity.”
Her message to aspiring women echoes empowerment, “Believe in yourself and in the cause you champion. Stay resolute in your pursuits and discern advice wisely. In our journey, for every ten encouragers, there might be forty detractors.”