From Rs 80 to Rs 800 Cr, how Lijjat Papad became a successful cooperative employing 43k women
One of India’s oldest co-operatives supporting women, Lijjat Papad is an organisation manufacturing various products, from papads, masalas, wheat flour, chapatis, to detergent powder, detergent cake and liquid detergent.
After starting with just seven women employees it now employees over 43,000 women throughout India and has 81 branches and a turnover of Rs 800 crore. The organisation is spread across India, with its central office at Mumbai and its 81 branches and 27 divisions in different states all over India. The membership at the organisation has also expanded from an initial number of seven sisters from one building to over 43,000 sisters throughout India.
What started with a group of seven women, under the leadership of one Chhaganlal Karamsi Parekh with a modest loan of Rs 80, became a household name for papads with its overwhelming quality. Chhanganlal recommended these women turn around the small business into a cooperative after its initial success, which led to expansion and recruitment. Initially, these women had to stop the production for almost four months due to rains, as they relied on the sunlight to dry the freshly made papads but, eventually, they solved this problem with improvised cooking methods.
Apart from its papad-making centre, the organisation also owns a flour division and a masala division at Vashi (Mumbai), a Lijjat division at Bandra (Mumbai) and a polypropylene setup at Kashi-Mira Road, and a detergent powder and cakes manufacturing unit at Pune (Sanaswadi).
According to a 2015 report released by BNP Paribas, countries like the US, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and India have made way for women entrepreneurs. Women make up almost half the number of entrepreneurs in these countries.