BHUBANESWAR: Villa Mart, an emerging venture from Odisha, has made it to the top-10 list of social enterprises at the Sixth edition of Tata Social Enterprise Challenge (TSEC). Currently operational in Nayagarh district, Villa Mart provides a mobile market place to farmers to sell their produce besides making available around 260 items of vegetables, grocery and other essential commodities for the villagers at their doorsteps.
Villa Mart (locally known as Gaon Haat) was selected on the basis of its business model, social impact and sustainability from hundreds of proposals spread across the sectors. Of over 600 entries, 20 were called for presentation at IIM Calcutta where the top-10 finalists were chosen. The event, held recently, recognised the country’s most promising early-stage social enterprises that have ability to bring about long-term solutions to the social needs.
Founded a year ago, Villa Mart aims at transforming the lives and livelihood of rural people, particularly farmers through a sustainable revenue model.
Founder and CEO of the start-up Ramesh Chandra Biswal and co-founder and Director Gopal K Pradhan said, the venture has been able to create an impact on about 5,000 families and 800 farmers within a year.
“Our dedicated research team is working overtime to develop a low cost solar-enabled mini cold storage facility and other advanced food processing methods that will minimise post-harvest loss during peak production time. It will provide better price to farmers and bring stability to consumer prices,” said Pradhan.
Once unsure about its future, founders of the start-up believe their venture is sustainable and ready for expansion.
“The recognition encourages us to strengthen our mission and expand our business to create positive and sustainable social impact in a profitable manner. Our idea is to make farming profitable as well as respectable besides creating jobs,” he added.