From a village potter to Forbes’ top rural entrepreneur - Mansukhbhai Prajapati's story

18th Mar 2016
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Mansukhbhai Prajapati from Gujarat began as a simple potter. In 2005, this potter was credited for a ground-breaking green innovation-Mitticool, a refrigerator that runs without electricity. It took him four years to get the combination right. In 2010, he found himself on the Forbes’ list of Top 7 Rural Entrepreneurs.

Image: (L)- Getty Images; (R)- EDI
Image: (L)- Getty Images; (R)- EDI

One incredible journey leads to another. According to Acchi Khabre, Mansukhbhai joined Jagdamba Potteries as a trainee in 1985. As he picked up the tricks of the trade, a business idea sparked in his mind. He decided to start an earthen plate manufacturing factory by deploying a tile press rather than the traditional potter’s wheel.

Mansukhbhai quit his job, borrowed 30,000 from a moneylender and bought a small piece of land to set up a workshop at Wankaner. When a businessman came looking for a vendor who could supply clay water filters, Mansukhbhai impressed him with an innovative terracotta filter with a ceramic candle and bagged an order worth Rs 1 lakh.

Then, in 2001 Gujarat was hit by a massive earthquake. This was the inspiration that finally lead him to the refrigerator made out of clay. Mansukhbhai hit the jackpot with an unusual addition of sawdust and sand, which makes the soil porous and the interiors cold.

Image: (L) I4C ; MittiCool
Image: (L) I4C ; MittiCool

”Journalists came and photographed our broken matkas. They referred to them as the poor man’s fridge. I thought why can’t we make a real fridge with the same cooling principle?” Mansukhbhai told NDTV. From manufacturing to packaging to R&D, Mitticool is a one-man initiative.

”It keeps the water cool. Vegetables kept inside it can last up to a week,” stated Mansukhbhai. He also produces water filters, pressure cookers, and non-stick tawas made out of clay. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam named Mansukhbhai as a ‘true scientist’, for his amazing inventions.

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