Entrepreneurship is the buzz word today with innumerable opportunities opening up across the globe. But according to IIE (Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship) reports, in Assam, the impact of this new breed of businesses is yet to be felt and only a handful of entrepreneurs are competing in the start-up segment.
One such entrepreneurial spirit of the region can be seen in Brahmaputra Fables. It is an online shopping portal which brings authentic traditional items from Assam and Northeastern region to your doorstep. ‘Brahmaputra Fables is an online market place where local artisans with traditional handicrafts could register with zero charges. They could then sell their products online until they start their own online web/app platform,’ said Dhruba Jyoti Deka founder of the start-up.
A 25 year old young post graduate in Chemistry from Pondicherry University, Dhruba Jyoti Deka devised the platform for the sellers and serves as a catalyst for local artisans. handicrafts, handloom textiles, Assamese folk instruments, gamocha, ethnic food, tea and jewellery, and their accessibility are some of their focus areas. They claim that their mission is to simplify traditional needs of the people and promoting indigenous culture at the same time.
When in Pondicherry University, Deka came up with the idea of Brahmaputra Fables when his batchmates from other states were awestruck with the traditional products and attires of the Northeast students. Initial funding was managed from friends as a loan and later they bootstrapped their start up. ‘Initially, customers didn’t trust a new online shop, so we had to earn the trust of customers by giving them superior quality products’ he clarifies.
Overwhelmed with the response, Deka said that within 10 months of their operations, they were generating around 10 lakhs of revenue both online and offline, with around 500 returning customers. ‘We have shipped our products across each state of India, he mentions.
They are planning to expand their services and products to each and every Northeastern state with the aim of featuring the traditions of every NE state and beyond. ‘It is my dream to make Brahmaputra Fables not only be a regional entity but a national torchbearer in the online shopping of traditional products and handicrafts,’ says the passionate founder.
Brahmaputra Fables was certified as one of the Top 3000 Start-up/smart ideas across the country by IIM Calcutta Innovation Park in a Smart Fifty Contest organized in association with the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India in New Delhi.
About the start-up scenario in Assam he said, ‘With the Assam policy being recently drafted and summits like Advantage Assam, it is picking up pace here. Still a long way to go as investors and venture capital doesn’t want to invest in the Northeast.’ ‘Brahmaputra fables initially faced problems in logistics, which we solved by their doorstep delivery policy. So there are lots of challenges which we didn’t anticipate, and lots of them will continue in the future. I guess we are prepared for it,’ said a confident Dhruba Jyoti Deka.
By Manjum Mahanta