Every year, tonnes of flower waste from religious places is dumped into India’s holiest river Ganges, polluting it to virtual death. Pesticides and insecticides used in growing these flowers mix with the water, affecting millions of lives through water-borne diseases. Most others may just lament these facts, Ankit Agarwal and Karan Rastogi, childhood friends from Kanpur, used them as inspiration to innovate. Two years of relentless experimentation led to a brilliant idea; that of recycling the flower waste. They founded HelpUsGreen® in 2014 to convert the waste into bio-fertilisers and lifestyle products. Widely appreciated and heavily awarded now, success has not come easy for this well-educated duo. HelpUsGreen® processes hundreds of kilos of flower waste, creating employment for hundreds of underprivileged women. An entirely bootstrapped project with no carbon foot print, the venture hopes to revive the Ganges through Flowercycling®. Currently at 8.5 tonnes per day and at the tipping point of scaling, HelpUsGreen® hopes to process over 50 tonnes of flower waste per day by 2020. Apart from the environmental impact, HelpUsGreen® has achieved huge societal impact, employing over a thousand women who did not previously have formal employment. What also makes the social entrepreneurs stand apart is their entrepreneurial market savviness. They have positioned their products not at the sympathy market but at the high-end premium market. Their products sell under the name ‘Phool’. HelpUsGreen® has set its eyes firmly on spreading operations across 2,000 kilometres along the Ganges and creating over 25,000 jobs for women.
Shastri, V. (2019), "Restless to Relentless: Flowercycling® Success", Ramesh, M.A., Grover, P. and Dasgupta, S. (Ed.) Start-up Marketing Strategies in India, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 161-181. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78756-755-920191010
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