Close
Igniting Ideas For impact

Embarking on a transformative journey through six chapters, we traverse India's landscape, exploring pioneering startups and their revolutionary...

9 months

Once Deemed a ‘Failure’, Bihar Man Refused Jobs to Design Bamboo Products; Earns Rs 25 Lakh/Year

Bihar-resident Satyam Sundaram transformed his life by establishing 'Manipuri Bamboo Artifacts' after exploring the bamboo industry during his MBA. Starting small with roadside sales, he's now earning an annual revenue of Rs 25 lakh.

Once Deemed a ‘Failure’, Bihar Man Refused Jobs to Design Bamboo Products; Earns Rs 25 Lakh/Year

Being an excellent plastic alternative, bamboo is being widely accepted by citizens today in the forms of disposable cutlery, straws, cups, plates, durable household goods, and items of furniture.

Over the years, the people in the Northeastern region of the country have eked out a livelihood from this abundant forest resource. Beyond the borders, it has proved to transform the life of Bihar’s Satyam Sundaram, who was once thrown out of the school and was termed jungali (uncivilised).

In 2022, Satyam started his business ‘Manipuri Bamboo Artifacts’ where he sells eco-friendly products. Starting with selling 15 bamboo bottles on the roadside, today he sells at least 150 varieties of bamboo products — including tongue cleaners, toothbrushes, pen stands, neckpieces, engraved art pieces, lamp shades, dandiya sticks, and flasks with temperature display.

Within two years, the 27-year-old has established a customer base across the country in states like Telangana, Kerala, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Delhi. Today, he clocks an annual revenue of Rs 25 lakh.

Satyam sells at least 150 varieties of bamboo products like neckpieces, engraved art pieces, lamp shades, etc.
Satyam sells at least 150 varieties of bamboo products like neckpieces, engraved art pieces, lampshades, etc.

Overcoming namecalling like ‘jungali’ and ‘failure’

Born in Munger district’s Lakhanpur village, Satyam studied in a Government school. Every day, he would go to the school carrying books in a bora (jute rag). Later, his family moved to Purnia after his father’s transfer.

“By that time, I was seven. But, I could only get enrolled in Upper KG. My basics were not clear so I would fail a few subjects. When I reached Class 2, again I failed in 3 to 4 subjects like Maths and English. I would be termed as a failure,” he tells The Better India.

“Later, my parents enrolled me in a convent school but I was thrown out from there as I came from a village. They would call me jungali. My mother went to them to take me back to the school but she was further embarrassed by the authorities. Finally, I enrolled in a nearby school and somehow managed to clear my board examinations,” he shares.

Satyam moved to Kolkata for higher education and completed his graduation with a BCA degree. Like most youth from Bihar, he was also forced to get a Government job.

Satyam was once thrown out of the school and was termed jungali (uncivilised).
Satyam was once thrown out of the school and was termed jungali (uncivilised).

“My father works with the Bihar Police. So, I was also pressurised to get a Government job, so much so that I shed 10 kg of weight within a month. Anyway, I appeared for the state PCS examination but I failed to clear it with a low margin,” he adds.

Instead of appearing for a second attempt, he decided to pursue higher education in business administration.

Establishing a multi-lakh company

In 2020, Satyam enrolled himself for an MBA, and this was the first time, he felt he had made the right decision. “Before this, I never took a subject of my interest, be it in Class 10, 12, or graduation. Here, I became attentive in class and started raising doubts on topics. I was counted in the list of good students. MBA helped me build good communication, presentation, and marketing skills,” he says.

During this period, he also interned with companies like Britania and ITC Limited. “Only very few in our college got to work with them. I was in fact given a pre-placement offer from ITC and Berger Paints,” he adds.

Along with his mother Asha Anuragini, he launched his company in mid-May, a month after his last semester examination.
Along with his mother Asha Anuragini, Satyam launched his company in mid-May, a month after his last semester examination.

But instead of accepting the offer, Satyam wanted to utilise his skills in a company of his own. “During college, I was introduced to the bamboo industry in the Northeast. That’s when I researched the kinds of products one could make using bamboo. In hindsight, I knew that I could land a job but I wanted to run a business and be the first person to set up a bamboo manufacturing unit in Bihar,” he claims.

He also observed rising demand for eco-friendly bamboo products amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “It was a perfect opportunity for me to start the business,” he says.

To kick off the business, he took Rs 15,000 from his younger brother and set up a small table on the roadside with 10 pieces of bamboo bottles. “I wanted to understand the willingness of people to buy these products. Besides, I also wanted to encourage people to adopt eco-friendly products over plastic. I would stand in crowds with posters on minimising plastic use and adopting alternate bamboo products. People would stop their vehicles to interact with me,” he says.

In early 2022, he got financial assistance of Rs 8 lakh under the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP). Along with his mother Asha Anuragini, he launched his company in mid-May, a month after his last semester examination.

Priced between Rs 10 and Rs 40,000, he currently sells his products across the country. So far, he has sold at least 25,000 units of diversified products.

Looking back to his school days, Satyam says, “The school that threw me out calling me jungali, now requests me to be their guest speaker. However, I prefer meeting rural children in Government schools and sharing my story with them. They feel connected to me and get inspired that a person like them can rise and become successful.”

Edited by Pranita Bhat. All photos: Satyam Sundaram.

This story made me

  • feel inspired icon
    97
  • more aware icon
    121
  • better informative icon
    89
  • do something icon
    167

Tell Us More


We bring stories straight from the heart of India, to inspire millions and create a wave of impact. Our positive movement is growing bigger everyday, and we would love for you to join it.

Please contribute whatever you can, every little penny helps our team in bringing you more stories that support dreams and spread hope.

Support the biggest positivity movement section image Support the biggest positivity movement section image
Shorts

Shorts

See All
 
X
 
Sign in to get free benefits
  • Get positive stories daily on email
  • Join our community of positive ambassadors
  • Become a part of the positive movement