We all get inspiration from what we read, experience and see. When I decided to make journalism as my pursuit, I took inspiration from MJ Akbar and Mark Twain. Similarly Rohit Nayak, co-founder of Ecoad inspired to take up entrepreneurship after reading a book – ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki. “While travelling from Bhopal to Pune, I saw a lot of plastic bags at Nashik station. It wasn’t the first time I had seen such a scene. But the combination of the feeling to change something around myself (which came from the book), and this scene, triggered something in me, and I decided to start EcoAd.”
EcoAd is an eco-friendly advertising concept. It enables local business to reach out to their customers in their locality in an affordable and unique way, while being responsible for their society.The startup works to make cities of India free from polythene carry bags, while aiming to reclaim and rejoice the local business ecosystem, using recycled paper-bags as the medium.
The Pune based company provides recycled paper-bags as an alternative to plastic bags at half the price of plastic bags. “While doing so, We also help small scale local businesses like Bakery, Boutique etc., to increase their visibility geographically in an efficient manner, and reach their customers at a very affordable price,” said YY. Importantly, EcoAd provides employment to poor women, so they can work from home and earn up to Rs. 2-3,000/month.
The startup takes advertisements from local businesses and print them on paper bags, made by these women, and distribute it to retailers. EcoAd also got selected in Eureka 2009, ecell (IIT-B), the selection gave a real boost to startup morale and added a lot of fuel, which kept EcoAd’s team working harder.
EcoAd generates revenue through selling advertising spaces on paper bags, revenue from advertising covers the price of paper bag and also the venture’s profit. Besides this, it recovers a nominal charge from retailers – 25-30 Paise per bag, just to make sure they do not misuse it. EcoAd is supported by UnLtd, a launchpad for social entrepreneurs in India.
Launched by VIT, Pune alumni Rohit Nayak, Sudhir and Satprakash Arora- EcoAd has so far helped 6 businesses in Pune to reach out to their customers. Over 35 pharmacy retailers are buying bags from them regularly, out of which four of them have stopped using plastic bags completely. As of now, the company had distributed over 45,000 bags and reached to thousands of customers in the process.
In future, the startup plans to expand in other cities and add more offering with various variants of bags. “We have already have a plan in place and soon we’ll be present in all the types of retail stores in all the areas of Pune, post which we are planning to expand to Mumbai and then other metro cities of India,” concluded Nayak.