By Aashish Vermaa on Jan 13,2018 - 17:47
Nissan Shrestha, Bivek Adhikari, Subash Shrestha, and Sacheet Pandit are the aspiring TU MBA graduates who have come up not with just a product but an answer to everyone who needs a more reliable solution for constructing their houses.
Ever since the Earthquake of April 2015 that shook the entire country, people are looking for more reliable and trustworthy materials to construct a home which will help them prepare for any similar future events. The scarcity of bricks post-earthquake made the situation even grimmer.
So to meet these rising concerns and demands Nissan Shrestha, Bivek Adhikari, Subash Shrestha, and Sacheet Pandit decided to come up with a solution. They had participated in many relief programs and saw a need for more reliable and strong bricks. They saw this as a new business opportunity and headed out to the market to solve a problem much needed.
Coming from management background they did not have many ideas about how they could solve this problem and after much research and surfing online they finally found something that seemed to be the right answer to all the questions they had been seeking.
The group of friends found the right product for their business but were facing problems due to the lack of technology available in the country. So they decided to import the machinery to Nepal and manufacture themselves here. Which made them really excited as they thought their hard work will pay off now and they too can contribute to the society in their own ways.
The group of friends pooled in a total of 20 lakhs in capital to purchase the machinery and lease a land in Banepa, to start off the production. Thus Eco-Cell Industries came into the establishment in October 2015. The plant has a daily production capacity of 2000 bricks.
Running out of working capital they decided to themselves produce the bricks, but the first batch of production went horribly as the brick's quality was way below usable. Realizing that they won't be able to produce a quality product without formal training they decided to take a training program available.
They found two training programs one in India, and another in the USA. So they decided to opt for the one in India and went to Chennai for a 15-days-long bricks production training.
The initial days of production were difficult as the bricks produced were getting piled up since there were no clients at that time. It was a difficult phase for them and Nissan shared his experience saying “That phase was quite hard, and almost none wanted to take a risk. But, as their settlements were completely flattened in the quake, they had made a mentality to accept new technologies construct quake-resistant homes. After showing our training certificates, we were able to persuade a nearby villager in Banepa to use our bricks in the construction of his house. After the construction of the house was completed, other people too showed interest to use our bricks. Thus, the business took off.”
And since then they haven't looked back.
The company not only produces bricks but also gives training on how to setup and operate brick machinery, to help develop local entrepreneurs. Along with construction and consultation service of houses.
Unique Selling Point
Eco-Cell Industries main USP is the bricks that they produce are interlocking ones that bind the horizontal and vertical reinforcement of masonry with concrete, thus offering the walls more resistant to shear, reports Glocalkhabar. This technology helps save construction cost by 30% while being eco-friendly. Also one of the most impressive features of these bricks is it can be made ready to use with a single day.
This technology has been designed by engineers from Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand.
In the beginning, being short on cash flow they couldn't do many advertisements but instead, they approached people in their personal network and neighborhood. Their product eventually got promoted via word-of-mouth and since then have reached various parts of the country from Bouddha, Bhaisepati, Banepa, Bhaktapur to Dolakha and Sindhapalchowk.
Subash says “After we set-up a stall in the Property Expo in Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu, recently, we got a wider visibility. More and more people are approaching us and placing orders for the bricks. The demand is increasing day by day.”
Achievements and Future Plans
The team shares their experience of their first client, who was overly positive about their work and even asked to remember him if they need any further investment. This was the turning point in their life and everything slowly started falling into place since then.
1. Their company recently made it to top 9 in the GBG Stories Challenge 2017.
2. As many as 38 houses have been constructed using their bricks, also many NGOs have started buying their bricks.
“We brought something new in Nepali market. We consider this as our achievement, None of our clients have complained us so far, and, all seem satisfied. Instead, they also refer to others to use our bricks,” says Nissan.
The company now plans to get involved in low-cost housing construction business.
“The current houses by the realty companies are too costly, and it’s almost impossible to buy a house below the cost of 1 crore rupees. Houses constructed by our technology are not only strong, earthquake-resistant and environment-friendly but are also far more economical,” Nissan shares. “We have reached such a state that it takes almost a lifetime for one to build a house in Kathmandu. We want to solve this problem,” Nissan adds.
"You need be ready to do struggles, as there are no shortcuts for instant success. You need to be able to walk the path less traveled. You need to pursue your work relentlessly till you succeed. You also need to have a good team before starting anything." – Eco-Cell Industries
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