My story: Santosh Kaveri (Samiti BBA College, Belgaum)
“The way I see it, all problems give me an opportunity to enter into business and provide products which are helpful for Indians.”
I faced many challenges growing up. I come from a rural background in the village of Shedbal, which is very remote. When I was younger, I used to walk 10 kilometers every day just to attend school. When I got older and was in high school, members of my family started facing different health and economic issues. In order to feed my family, I had to start working on the farm. I used to work on the farm every morning before class starting at 5 AM and I would continue working immediately after returning from classes every day. It was a very tough time for me, but thankfully I was managed to get through it and get myself to college.
During my first year in college, I joined LEAD. While in LEAD, I came to know about the need for technology, as well as the important for innovating it to make it inclusive and affordable for everyone. Before joining LEAD, I had always been interested in becoming an entrepreneur and I utilized LEAD as a platform to execute my ideas for improving the lives of farmers.
Carrot Cleaning Machine
When I was thinking about my first LEAD project, I reflected on the struggles that my own family faced and I identified a problem in carrot cleaning. Before farmers can sell their carrots at the local markets, the carrots must be cleaned to make them appealing to customers. However, carrot cleaning is a lengthy and demanding process; cleaning one quintal of carrots requires usually the labor of 12 people.
Being a business student and having no prior experience with engineering, I struggled to develop a technology that could clean carrots. After developing 11 unsuccessful machines, I finally devised the Carrot Cleaning Machine. My Carrot Cleaning Machine can clean a quintal of carrots in just 15 minutes and requires the labor of only two people. The Carrot Cleaning Machine uses no electricity, and very little water. This machine is now helping hundreds of farmers throughout 10 villages. I thought about the problem and searched determinedly for a solution to this problem. My epiphany came at last one day after observing a washing machine. I realized I could apply the same concept to devise a machine that could quickly, and efficiently, clean carrots.
Eco Hot Water Coil
In India, gas is costly, and no one seems to be concerned about that. We use a lot of gas every day without even realizing. We use it to make tea, cook food, heat water for baths, and more. I tried to find a way to still be able to do all of this, but use less gas while doing it. My Eco Hot Water Coil can perform two functions at once, thereby helping people conserve gas. The Eco Hot Water Coil is a stovetop device that simultaneously boils water for cooking and collects hot water for bathing. This device has been fixed in several hostels, and the hostels have reported that the Eco-Water Coil is helping them save more than Rs. 1000 per month. I plan to soon introduce this technology to individual homes for domestic use.
Brake System for Bullock Cart
Farmers around the country rely on bullock carts to transport large quantities of goods over long distances. However, many problems have been caused by the fact that most of these farmers are using bullock carts without a proper braking system. Instead, the bullock carts are usually stopped manually, which is putting strain on the laborers, the oxen and the bullock cart. I innovated a bullock cart brake system that is simple, effective, and affordable. Farmers using this brake system for their bullock carts are receiving many benefits. Bullock cart accidents are being reduced, and farmers can now carry more weight on their carts. In addition, less manual labor is required to manage the cart. Moreover, no pollution is being created from the cart as the brake system requires no fuel source.
I was presented the “Best LEADer” by Ratan Tata during Yuva Summit 2013 for the entrepreneurial and innovative nature of his Carrot Cleaning Machine, and I won the “Best LEADer” award again during Yuva Summit 2014 . Because of LEAD, I have developed myself. I now feel that I have something inside worth showing to others. I know that the confidence I have gained from my successful initiatives will continue to drive me to work on bigger, bolder ideas in the future.