8 Rural Businesses You Never Knew Existed | Milaap

8 Rural Businesses You Never Knew Existed

Supporting rural businesses is the "in thing" these days. So we have people flocking to farmers markets and artisan fairs, sampling gourmet wines and cheeses. But what if we told you there's more to rural enterprise than farming and being crafty? We've seen some inspiring rural folk overcome all kinds of challenges to uplift themselves and their communities. Here are 8 of their quirkiest, most innovative rural businesses you never knew existed!

1. Sewing Machines Assembled by Hand

[caption id="attachment_4439" align="aligncenter" width="660"]High-school educated Rajniben, a mother of 2 from rural Gujarat, assembles sewing machines with her bare hands. Rajniben assembling sewing machines by hand at her home in Chandkheda, Gujarat[/caption]At 27, Rajniben from rural Gujarat crowdfunds her capital, uses it to buy wholesale spare parts, and builds sewing machines with her bare hands. Her unusual business sustains her family by feeding the high demand for cheap sewing machines, created by Gujarat's garment industry.

[stag_button url="http://m-lp.co/1rkqtqk" style="red" size="small" type="normal" target="_self" icon="" icon_order="before"]Provide Dignity To These Women, Not Dependence![/stag_button]

2. Manufacturing the Village Water Supply

[caption id="attachment_4455" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Fakirappa manufactures his village's drinking water supply Fakirappa manufactures his village's drinking water[/caption]Fakirappa's village of Kushtagi, Karnataka, had no potable water supply. He took a water loan, purchased an Aquasafi filtration system, and used it to transform ground water into delicious drinking water, which he supplies to 450 families in his village at Rs. 4 or 7 cents per liter.

[stag_button url="http://m-lp.co/1oGPTsX" style="red" size="small" type="normal" target="_self" icon="tint" icon_order="before"]Fund Water Connections. Provide Them A New Lease Of Life![/stag_button]

3. The Village Lice Exterminator

[caption id="attachment_4459" align="aligncenter" width="2500"]Pandiammal makes this deep purple all natural lice medicine for her village Pandiammal makes this deep purple all natural lice medicine for her village[/caption]Pandiammal's friends in Devadhanam, Trichy, were plagued by lice. So she bought ayurvedic lice medication in bulk from Madurai, mixed it with coconut oil, and sold it as a ready cure. Lice are resilient critters; new generations always turn up. So business is always good.

[stag_button url="http://m-lp.co/1rkqtqk" size="small" type="normal" target="_self" icon="" icon_order="before"]Provide Dignity To These Women, Not Dependence![/stag_button]

4. Bridal Makeup for Mass Weddings

[caption id="attachment_4466" align="aligncenter" width="3500"]Sunita decks up brides for mass weddings in Gujarat (Photo Credit: Picture of Ahmedabadi Muslim brides taken from the Garvi Gujarat website gallery at www.gg2.net) Sunita decks up brides for mass weddings in Gujarat (Photo Credit: Picture of Ahmedabadi Muslim brides taken from the Garvi Gujarat website gallery at www.gg2.net)[/caption]A former model and actor, Sunitaben from Chandkheda, Gujarat, runs a makeshift beauty parlor, taking contracts for 'Samuh Lagan' (mass community weddings). She decks up brides whose families cannot afford the cost of a wedding, and makes their day extra special.

[stag_button url="http://m-lp.co/1rkqtqk" size="small" type="normal" target="_self" icon="" icon_order="before"]Provide Dignity To These Women, Not Dependence![/stag_button]

5. The Stylish Mosquito Net Maker

[caption id="attachment_4471" align="aligncenter" width="908"]Zatluangi uses her tailoring skills to sew stylish mosquito nets. Zatluangi uses her tailoring skills to sew stylish mosquito nets[/caption]Most tailors in Mizoram capitalize on the local women's love of dressing fashionably. Zatluangi decided to use her skill and finesse to tailor stylish mosquito nets that she sells for a premium. In tropical India, mosquitoes are an eternal menace; business is excellent.

[stag_button url="http://m-lp.co/1rkqtqk" size="small" type="normal" target="_self" icon="" icon_order="before"]Provide Dignity To These Women, Not Dependence![/stag_button]

6. Affordable Bridal Wear for the Locals

[caption id="attachment_4475" align="aligncenter" width="730"]Lalnuntluangi creates affordable bridal wear for Mizo women Lalnuntluangi creates affordable bridal wear for Mizo women[/caption]This former Electronics engineer left her urban job, returned home, and set up a business designing and making affordable bridal wear. While bridal gowns in India retail at a minimum of Rs. 30,000-50,000, Lalnuntluangi's bridal gowns start at Rs. 10,000.

[stag_button url="http://m-lp.co/1rkqtqk" size="small" type="normal" target="_self" icon="" icon_order="before"]Provide Dignity To These Women, Not Dependence![/stag_button]

7. The Eco-Friendly Mosquito Destroyer

As a child, Mathew K. Mathews loved to build traps and explosive devices to scare pests. He designed 'Hawker', a patented solar mosquito destroyer, won a NIF award, and started KINE Technologies to make and sell his Hawker to urban and rural markets at Rs. 1500 apiece.

[stag_button url="http://m-lp.co/1rkqtqk" size="small" type="normal" target="_self" icon="" icon_order="before"]Provide Dignity, Not Dependence![/stag_button]

8. The Monkey Wallahs of Delhi

This list would be incomplete without Mahesh Nath* who hails from a small village near the Taj Mahal. This father raises his three daughters by working for the Indian Government. His business: to imitate langurs and scare monkeys away from posh central Delhi neighborhoods.For these unique folks, it all started with an idea and an opportunity. Imagine the untapped potential of thousands who seek an opportunity!*Credit for #8, the 'Monkey Wallah' business and video: Sourced and embedded from the article in The Wall Street Journal.