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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Mansukhbhai Prajapati built Rs3cr business with eco-friendly ‘Mitticool’ fridge after selling clay pots on bike

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Mansukhbhai Prajapati’s ‘MittiCool’ fridge keeps things cool and fresh even without electricity. His story is full of passion, determination, and dedication.

Mansukhbhai Prajapati is the innovator of a eco-friendly and affordable refrigerator, called ‘MittiCool,’ which can be used even in places where there is no electricity.

Mansukhbhai, who is 55 years old now was born into a family that manufactured clay pots for a living. He has come a long way from peddling handmade clay pots and pans in villages on an old bicycle to developing a Rs 3 crore revenue company – Mitticool Private Limited.

Mansukhbhai is a Class 10 dropout from the village of Nichimandal in Gujarat’s Morbi region, where his father used to create clay pots for a living as a family tradition.

Mansukhbhai’s brand Mitticool now sells a wide range of clay goods across the country, with a network of 150 dealers, more than 60 distributors, and nine showrooms in regions as diverse as Ernakulam and Thrissur in Kerala and Bengaluru in Karnataka.

Although tawa is the hottest selling item in ‘Mitticool,’ nonstick mitti tawas, pressure cookers, and handis (pots), are just a few of Mansukhbhai’s other creative products.

Mansukhbhai, on the other hand, was sure that introducing modern technologies and innovations into a traditional pottery business would deliver beneficial outcomes.

He was deeply moved when saw his poor potter father acquire wheat in exchange for pots and later working as a mason after his family was relocated from Morbi to Wankaner after the Machhu dam broke in 1979. All this moved Mansukhbhai so much that he wanted to start his own business.

Mansukhbhai is grateful to former IIM Ahmedabad Professor Anil Gupta for his assistance in inventing the Mitticool freezer.

He subsequently set up a tea stall but felt embarrassed when his acquaintances passed by.

From 1983 until 1988, he worked at a ceramics tile manufacturing plant, putting in 12-14 hours every day.

Within a year, he dramatically expanded tile output and contributed to the company’s success.After five years, he came up with the idea of building a machine to create clay tawa (pan), and he borrowed Rs 30,000 from a moneylender connected to the factory owners.

He registered the brand ‘Mitticool’ in 2001, after receiving his first large order for earthen water filters from Kenya in 1995.

Mansukhbhai is grateful to former IIM Ahmedabad Professor Anil Gupta of the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) and the Honeybee Network. He says that Gupta assisted him in his early days.

Mansukhbhai recalls, “I didn’t even have formal documentation of our property that was in bank control, but Gupta Sir quickly sanctioned Rs1.8 lakh to me to work on the Mitticool freezer.”

His two sons, Ravi, a Ceramics engineer, and Raj, a Science graduate, are in charge of Mitticool’s manufacture and marketing.

The Mitticool manufacturing outlet in Wankaner is both a workshop and a museum, with over 150 clay goods on show.

There are clay murals as well as elaborately carved chairs and tables.

Mitticool items are available for purchase on their website, mitticool.com.

Despite his success, Mansukhbhai Prajapati remains grounded, committed to his roots, and always on the lookout for the next ‘Mitti’ (clay) innovation.

Despite the fact that he has created over 150 things ranging from a spoon to a refrigerator, he is always on the search for fresh ideas.

Mansukhbhai Prajapati had never been afraid to take risks as an entrepreneur, was always eager to invent better technology to scale up production, and never compromised on quality.

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