From Rs 80 to Rs 1,600 Crores: The Lijjat Papad Success Story
Lijjat Papad: A tale of determination and women's empowerment. From Rs 80 to Rs 1,600 crores, transforming lives through unity and hard work
In the heart of India's entrepreneurial journey lies a tale of determination, unity, and women's empowerment that transcends generations. Lijjat Papad, a beloved household snack, isn't just a culinary delight; it's a symbol of resilience and opportunity.
The journey of Lijjat Papad began with seven remarkable women: Jaswantiben Popat, Parvatiben Thodani, Ujamben Kundalia, Banuben Tanna, Laguben Gokani, Jayaben Vithalani, and Diwaliben Lukka. They faced life's challenges head-on and decided to seize control of their destiny. Armed with a modest loan of Rs 80 from a kind-hearted social worker, Chhaganlal Parekh, they embarked on a mission to revive a struggling papad-making business.
Their early days were far from easy. Starting with just four packets of papads, they managed to sell a little over Rs 6,000 worth of products in their first year. However, their unwavering determination and tireless effort began to yield results. By 1962, they adopted the brand name "Lijjat," chosen through a cash prize contest. Sales soared to nearly Rs 2 lakh, marking the beginning of their journey to becoming a household name.
Lijjat Papad operates as the Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad, a women's worker cooperative. This unique cooperative model empowers women by providing them with employment and ownership opportunities, a pivotal step towards financial independence.
As news of Lijjat's delicious, high-quality papads spread, demand skyrocketed. From a handful of women in the early years, the organisation now boasts over 45,000 women involved in papad-making. Today, Lijjat Papad has expanded its reach to 82 branches across India and has even ventured into international markets, exporting to countries like the US and Singapore.
In a significant recognition of their contribution, Jaswantiben Popat, one of the co-founders, was honored with the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2021, one of India's highest civilian honors. This recognition underscores the profound impact Lijjat Papad has had on women's empowerment and the manufacturing sector.
The success story of Lijjat Papad serves as a powerful testament to the potential of determination, unity, and women's empowerment. Seven women with a dream transformed their humble beginnings into a Rs 1,600 crore empire, providing employment and financial independence to thousands of women across India.
In a world where challenges often seem insurmountable, Lijjat Papad reminds us that with vision, hard work, and unwavering commitment, we can achieve greatness and change lives for the better. It's not just a snack; it's an embodiment of hope, opportunity, and the indomitable spirit of women.