Bhubaneswar:About two decades ago, Nibedita Das, a woman entrepreneur from the state, was just your next-door noodle loving young girl who was crazy about the Chinese food, completely unaware that it would one day shape her career.
Today, Nibedita is credited with being the first entrepreneur from the state to start an automatic noodle manufacturing unit.
She didn’t have it easy though; it was a struggle all the way.
By 2011, I had run up a debt of Rs 30 lakh for which I had to sell off my house, but never did the idea of quitting occur to me:- Nibedita
“I thought of experimenting with my idea of creating an automatic drier chamber. In the process, I failed multiple times. It was trial-and-error method. By 2011, I had run up a debt of Rs30 lakh for which I had to sell off my house, but never did the idea of quitting occur to me,” Das toldOrissa POST.
Das said that the idea struck her when she was living in Chennai with her husband in 1998 when many in Odisha were not even aware about what noodles were. Flabbergasted by the product and its potential to grab mass attention, she soon jumped onto the bandwagon and started her production unit under the name Shanghai noodles.
She started with two workers in a single room with manual operation which involved boiling, steaming and heating the wheat flour. She was, however, soon hit by losses and failures but took it all on the chin and went on undeterred.
“Making a lot of money was never my intention. I am just a 10th pass but I always wanted to experiment with the production process. I wanted to build Odisha’s first automatic noodles manufacturing unit which I thought of in 1999. Our business ran in losses for about seven years,” she said.
Finally in 2015, Nibedita, after repeated failures, tasted success. “I succeeded in designing and making Odisha’s first automatic heat chamber for noodles in 2015. We then introduced automatic mixing machine and automatic boiling plant. The dream I saw in 1999 finally came true in 2015,” she said.
SD Foods, based in Gangapada near Jatni, has now been certified by the MSME department and also by the food regulator FSSAI and they have bar code licenses for more than 200 food products. Now they have business relations with Mayfair, Tangerine, Food Plaza and other top restaurants and hotels across Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri. Husband Ranjan Kumar Das and brother Naren Dhal are her biggest strength and pillars of support.
Buoyed by the success, Das has now planned expansion of her business and in the next five years wants that her products should be going to public directly through malls and grocery stores.
“In my career of 19 years, it was addiction, persistence and optimism that kept my dreams alive,” she said.
Dipti Ranjan Das, OP