27 Dec 2017, 13:15 — 6 min read
Sanitation and hygiene is one of India’s greatest challenges. The impact of poor practices affects the health and development of the entire population. The government is making a significant effort to embark upon change, but a lot still needs to be done. Private sector solutions like ISHTA Creation toilet covers are possible game-changers in this important fight.
ISHTA, which stands for ‘Initiative for Sanitation and Hygiene Towards All’, solves for the problem that people face as they often must sit on unclean vestibules, running the risk of infection. Neena Narayan, the founder of ISHTA Creation is of the firm belief that the best gift a person can give themselves and their loved ones is good health. Her vision is to enable all people to achieve good health as they go about their busy lives. The idea for the company was conceived in 2015 at a doctor’s waiting room in New Delhi.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL) Neena Narayan (NN) shares the journey of her company.
GL: Tell us about your business.
NN: With today's on-the-go lifestyle, how can people, especially women and the elderly, pee comfortably and safely in a public toilet that may not be maintained well. That question struck me as I waited for a routine health check on a Diwali morning at my doctor’s clinic in 2015. At 50, your good health is the best gift you give yourself and your loved ones. I was inspired, the thought consumed me, and I then spent the next year and a half in pursuit of a product that felt like silk and protected like steel. It would:
The universe was conspiring; help and guidance came from the right people at the right time and thorough research and numerous design changes followed. We finally arrived at a convenient, hygienic and waterproof toilet seat cover which fits all seats and gives complete coverage and protection. The final cover comes with a unique fold to hold and fit on the lid so there is no hand contact with the seat. The fold also ensures the cover stays in place during use. In a pocket size pack of 5 covers you can now easily ‘carry your care’ and ensure your personal hygiene anytime anywhere. That’s how ISHTA came into being as a small step to a better world.
GL: What are the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?
NN: Looking back, the challenges were like pointers to the destination:
GL: Do you feel the present environment has become more conducive to business?
NN: The present environment is resonating with energy, with increased online connectivity improving business linkages and also making it easier to reach the ultimate user. These are both aspects of networking of which are made better with a platform like GlobalLinker.
GL: What is the USP of your business?
NN: Our approach is to innovate, stay simple and have an impact: We have developed a unique, easy to carry, no touch, comfortable, waterproof cover for toilet seat - “ISHTA” - for use in public toilets. It provides a clean experience and helps prevent UTIs and other infections unknowingly contracted at times while using public toilet seats.
We contribute a part of ISHTA sale proceeds to organisations constructing and maintaining public toilets. We try and engage women (otherwise working as domestic staff) in our processes, helping them to earn extra money and be ambassadors of change when it comes to hygiene habits. Clean is also green. ISHTA is minimalistic and follows 3 R’s- ‘Reduce’ the use of paper, ‘Redeploy’ proceeds for sanitation, and use ‘Recyclable’ material for safe disposal. At ISHTA we strive for synergy — some make ISHTA, some add a brick for a toilet, some earn and learn, and sanitation becomes a reality in many ways for all. Everyone engaged contributes and achieves for oneself and each other.
GL: What are some of the milestones of your business?
NN: The real milestones are the smiles on faces of safe and happy users, the women who learn and earn as part of our organisation and the satisfaction of taking a step together.
GL: What role do you feel GlobalLinker plays in connecting & assisting SMEs?
NN: GlobalLinker is creating a great platform and support for connecting like-minded entrepreneurs across the globe to take their dreams forward together.
GL: What is your big business dream?
NN: We would like ISHTA to reach out across the world to help ensure that sanitation and hygiene become a reality for all.
GL: What is your advice to young entrepreneurs?
NN: Align with your dream. Take a leap and your wings will grow.
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Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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