Ruchi Jain is the founder of Taru Naturals, an endeavour to empower small-scale farmers across India by connecting them to fair trade markets and to help them increase their productivity with technological practices. She is one of the fellows who will talk about her business at UnLtd's 'The Huddle' for which SheThePeople.TV is a partner. The programme will be held in Mumbai on April 6.
Helping local communities:
The company operates under two verticals. The first sources products from local communities and sells them to customers via its website and online presence. It also supplies ingredients to restaurants and other food businesses.
Jain’s community has over 3,000 farmers.
The Mumbai-based Jain tells SheThePeople.TV that she works directly with the community to popularise their resources. For example, she sells honey that comes from the Sunderbans, black rice from the North-east, turmeric from Kolhapur, and mustard from Thane.
"TARU Naturals resounds with the principles of health, growth, love, care through local food, direct fair trade marketing and exotic value addition superfoods which are high in nutrition for the body."
They also connect farmers with small-scale technology. For example, they are helping some farmers grow cherry tomatoes using a small-scale solar dryer. Cherry tomatoes sell for much more than regular tomatoes, says Jain, and in this way we can bring people out of the poverty line.
One of the most profound influences for starting Taru Naturals is my mother, says Jain. She is a Naturopath Doctor and we have grown up in with alternative lifestyle. The food in her house is always localised and the family believes in holistic natural healthcare.
"Taru Naturals resounds with the principles of health, growth, love, care through local food, direct fair trade marketing and exotic value addition superfoods which are high in nutrition for the body," says Jain.
Her mother helps her with the R&D for products and also helps come up with recipes.
Jain has been working in the development sector since the age of 18. She has an MSc from Oxford University and has even worked for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
She explains that she has access to so many local communities through the networks she has made while working on the field.
"I have done a lot of grassroots work, and TARU is an amalgam of all my networks."
Advice for entrepreneurs:
"You need to be determined and stick to your passion. Go out there and talk to people."
She also says that mentorship is extremely important. "Get help when you think you need help."
She says that a lot of entrepreneurs don't ask for help, but it is a very important thing to do. "It is important to share, learn and upgrade your skill set."