Divya Munot, Co-Founder and Director, Machau Bamboo Product Pvt Ltd
Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey (personal & professional) and when you got started on it?
Hi, my name is Divya. I was born and raised in a business family in Nasik. Unlike some Indian families, my sister and I didn’t face any type of prejudice based on our gender; rather our upbringing was received with full care
and support to help us explore and reach our full potential. From a very early age, I had the opportunity to visit the factories owned by my family and was keen on learning the ropes of the business. On completing my 12th board, I took up multiple courses to learn the various aspects of the business.
Having the exposure early on in my childhood, certainly made my MBA course all the more enjoyable. Fast forward to the end of my engineering and Post grad, I joined my family business as the third generation and
worked there for 3-4 years in various roles. Despite working in a family business, I had to earn my way to the top, from an executive (entry-level position) to a managerial position in the organization. In 2016, I tied the knot with Siddharth Munot, a co-founder at Bewakoof.com, a 5-year-old company at the time and steadily growing. I soon joined Bewakoof a month into my marriage and it was a whole new ball game, to say the least. There was definitely a sharp distinction between working in a 30-year-old organization to being a part of the zero-to-one journey of a company. However, the move opened my eyes to newer and more exciting opportunities as I learned more about myself, my talents, and my growing interest in entrepreneurship. Working with my husband gave me a view of what it is like to be the founder. That insight alone was enough to start me on my journey.
After putting three years into Bewakoof, I left in Jan 2020 and started my own venture called ‘Machau Bamboo Products’ with my husband, Siddharth.
As a woman, have you faced any challenges starting or running a business?
Yes, there are a number of challenges when starting a business but many obstacles are irrespective of gender. However, one specific gender-biased challenge which I faced was that some men don’t feel too comfortable doing business with a woman. I’ve noticed, the same task or deal takes longer to finalize. Regardless, I feel nothing should stop any woman from attaining their goals; All entrepreneurs should be go-getters.
Can you elaborate on what is it that you offer your customers?
The name of my business is called ‘BAMBOOSTAN’, meaning land of everything Bamboo. Bamboostan aims to become an ecosystem builder in the bamboo sector in India. In other words, individually or collectively as an organization, we work to create and develop a supportive environment for the Bamboo industry. The role of an ecosystem builder is to bring together all the key stakeholders in the industry, this includes producers, buyers, investors, government agencies, and others, as well as provide them with the resources and support they need to succeed. The goal is to create a sustainable and thriving sector that benefits all.
Bamboostan caters to the needs of all participants in the bamboo value chain, namely, farmers who work tirelessly in bamboo plantations, processors who carry out manufacturing operations, and sellers who make bamboo products available in the market for end users. Additionally, we work towards spreading awareness about the benefits of using bamboo products. The offerings of customer segments are mentioned in the image below. That being said, if you are interested in the bamboo sector and wish to be a part of it, come to
Bamboostan and we will show you the way.
What is the future plan of your business?
The bamboo sector has a promising future as ‘green practices and sustainability’ is reaching new heights. Our vision is for Bamboostan to bring a positive impact by lowering carbon in the atmosphere and helping in solving the climate change problem (bamboo is an excellent carbon sink) while increasing the standard of living among farmers and reducing village manpower displacement by generating lakhs of employment opportunities in all parts of the country.
What according to you is the advancement in this industry in terms of technology? Do you think adapting to advanced technologies has brought you to this elite position?
In this day and age, it is impossible for any industry to shy away from technology. You either adapt to it or get left behind. My Industry is no exception to this. With the Bamboo sector being relatively new in India, we first had to start by adopting base-level technology and with time, eventually switched to state-of-the-art technology. The availability of advanced technology such as drones, machine automation, AI, ML, robotics, and
others will definitely give anyone a head start.
Let’s not be satisfied by being great “Women entrepreneurs”, let’s work in a way where there is no classification called “Women entrepreneurs”. “All entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs”. I want to be in a business world where men and women are equal.
In India, there is a wave of startups. The percentage of women startups in India is low. What is your
viewpoint on this?
For many women their career clock and biological clock gets clashed. Meaning the time of reaching the peak in their profession is often the same time when they have to get married or have children. This additional responsibility falls on her which increases the chances of slowing her down as compared to their male counterparts in the professional world. However, I strongly feel that even though this may be the case, the newer generation of men is far more understanding and supportive of their partner’s career.