Ndew Delhi, May 17 : In Maharashtra, a women's self-help group comprising of ten farming community women successfully supplies the pulp of indigenous Indian fruit jamun to a Nasik-based company named Van Durga which manufactures wine from this pulp. A unique concept as jamun wine is, what is even more unique is the investment it has attracted from a Delhi-based socially-responsible firm at this crucial time for small businesses.

With angel investment set to rise exponentially in the next 12 months, an investment consultancy is tagged as an equalizer when it comes to bridging the gap between capital, and socially responsible business ideas.

This is where Delhi-based Turiya Investments comes into the picture. Devender Patel, a local social activist in Madhya Pradesh, put the investment firm in touch with this group known as Van Durga. The brainchild of Luke Talwar 27, Turiya is the angel investment consultancy that prides itself on being outside the old paradigm of funding not only tech start-ups.

"We're not the typical old-school angel investment firm," quips Luke, who started the firm with like-minded industry professionals from IIM and Harvard after giving up a lucrative business in architecture and art. 'Turiya' is considered an exalted state of being, and is an apt name of a firm making a difference to marginalised communities by leveraging their business ideas into doable, industry-friendly best practices.

"In this case investment to agriculture is also a development worth taking note of as future generations of farmers are choosing not to be in agriculture but in the tertiary sector. Investment in agriculture is, therefore, a great service to the country," points out Luke.

"In the case of Van Durga, the women's self-help group from Madhya Pradesh who we are assisting in selling fruit pulp to various industries, including the wine manufacturer in Nashik, we really went the extra mile," informs Luke. Turiya hand-held this group of farming women to procure de-seeding machines, pulping machines and the cold storage unit while teaching and motivating them to produce farm products for the end-use market.

"We don't typically see our clients through the proof-of-project stage, but we did this for Van Durga because we saw a lot of potential in their business idea," he says. The Van Durga project, which is an agroforestry venture, is a 16-crore rupee investment.

As for the product, jamun wine isn't just a novel for the Indian market, it's also a product with numerous health benefits. "Nasik produces 80 per cent of the country's wine, the temperature being just right for wine production," Luke explains. Next, Van Durga could be selling custard-apple pulp, another fruit grown on their farms, to a leading ice-cream manufacturer. "Just as the wine company in Nasik is a third-party in this venture, we plan to hook Van Durga up with various third-party producers who can use fruit pulp in a variety of ways to create exciting new products for the Indian market," says Luke.

Under Turiya's eye, the Van Durga ladies are managing their time and resources, and the raw materials are all ethically sourced bringing value to the end consumer, and manufacturer.

(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at siddhi.j@ians.in)

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