Born in Dayal Nagar (Wardha, Maharashtra), to a family with limited means, Vaishali’s life was quite difficult from the word go. She had to give up on her studies as soon as she completed her secondary education and was married off early. Though a kind and supportive person, Vaishali’s husband fell so ill in the initial years of their marriage that he lost his job. Suddenly, the young woman now had the role of the breadwinner of the family.  

Vaishali successfully applied for the position of team leader in a firm called Ideal Washing Co. in Bhandara. Her role taught her how to deal with retailers, how to keep up with market trends, and how to keep customers happy. She also learnt a lot about the economics of demand and supply. However, the company used to keep a large chunk of employees’ salaries, promising to invest the money back into the business and share profits with all employees. To make up for the missing part of her income, Vaishali had started making papads and pickles at home and sold them door-to-door, barely making any money. It was all going well until, suddenly she was left without a job when the company simply vanished from town.     

But Vaishali now was a different woman. The exposure she got from working with a company and her own side hustle of selling papads and pickles gave her the confidence to take the plunge and launch her own venture. Thus, was born Vaishali Gruh Udyog. She started her business with a lot of confidence in 2007, armed with her family’s support, and an initial investment of Rs. 1 lakh from her savings. However, she still needed basic infrastructure and guidance to apply for a business loan. She had no idea about these things. Neither did she have any bank transactions to show for her work experience, and no paperwork required to apply for the loan, or rope in a guarantor.    

Around this time, Vaishali got to know about the Bajaj Auto-BYST YEDP and immediately got in touch. The BYST team helped her refine her project idea and helped with the paperwork for a bank loan. Bank officials visited her place to see the kind of work she was doing and sanctioned Rs. 4 lakhs within five days of her application. With this money Vaishali was able to buy machinery to make sewai (vermicelli), chips, pasta and expanded her product line to include 36 food items.  

Vaishali’s first mentor, late Vidya Khare, inspired her to increase her product range and to keep improving the product quality. Her current mentor is Dr. Som Pandya who runs Khadi Gramudyog and a training centre, guides Vaishali with overall business and workforce management. He also supports Vaishali in improving customer management. With this guidance, Vaishali aims to add 5 new customers every day.      

When COVID-19 struck, Vaishali Gruh Udyog also took a hit. However, they were quick to regroup and handle the fallout. Vaishali maintained her relationships with customers by providing order services both online and offline, and adding new products as per customer requests. She also engaged SHG women online. What’s more, she stood by her employees, paying their full salaries and extending moral support. Additionally, she took care of the health provisions of her employees and donated a water purifier/cooler to a local hospital.   

Now producing 40 kinds of packaged food items, Vaishali Gruh Udyog achieved sales of Rs. 40 lakhs in FY23, with a profit of Rs. 14 lakhs. The product lineup includes items like chivda, chakli, all types of tortillas, pickles, noodles and other homemade eatables. Today the firm employs an all-women’s team of forty (direct plus indirect).  

Vaishali Patil’s outstanding leadership skills won her the Vijaylakshmidas Award for 2020 in the ‘Medium’ Enterprise category.