Low-cost sanitary napkin missionary seeks pan-India presence | SupportBiz

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Low-cost sanitary napkin missionary seeks pan-India presence

Jayaashree Industries, a Coimbatore-based manufacturer of sanitary napkin making machines, is looking for a strategic investor, said founder Arunachalam Muruganantham. A corporate house, an NGO, hedge fund or provident fund looking to invest in a social entrepreneurial venture could be an ideal investor, said Muruganantha, the chief proponent of the ‘low-cost sanitary napkin making movement’.

Jayaashree Industries aims to take sanitary napkins to poor women across India.

Muruganantham estimates that an INR2 crore investment is sufficient to produce enough napkins for potential customers residing in any one district in the country, alongside providing employment to about 1,000 rural women in each district.

The company’s sanitary napkin making machines, costing INR75,000 to INR2.5 lakh, target micro units commonly run by women’s self-help groups. A large-scale production variant of the same, in use at facilities owned by FMCG giants Unilever or Proctor and Gamble costs some INR3.5 crore, Muruganantham said.

As on date, Jayaashree has sold over 600 sanitary napkin making machines in India and abroad. Buyers include NGOs, self-help groups and top research institutions such as the Boston-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The machines can be configured to produce up to 3,000 napkins a day and require single-phase electrical power. The basic variant can be operated by one person.

Jayaashree sells directly to customers. “Our machines empower rural communities. Sanitary napkins will always be in demand. This is a sustainable women-to-women model,” said Muruganantham, who is referred to as the ‘first man to wear a sanitary napkin’ because he tested the product on himself.

Muruganantham traveled to London last week, to meet with Unilever. He was invited to share his success story and findings with top officials.