Lijjat Papad's Co-Founder, Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat: Journey From Rs 80 To Worth Of Rs 1600 Crores

Meet Padma Shri Awardee, Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat, who co-founded Lijjat Papad. Know how she and her team of six women made Lijjat one of India's most successful brands ever.


By Rishabh Naudiyal Last Updated:


Lijjat Papad's Co-Founder, Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat: Journey From Rs 80 To Worth Of Rs 1600 Crores

Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad, commonly known as Lijjat is one of India's oldest and most popular companies. The company manufactures many consumer goods, but its iconic papad became the sole reason behind its success. Papad is one of the most common food items which can be found in an Indian household.

Whenever someone speaks about papad, the first name that probably comes into everyone’s mind is ‘Lijjat Papad’. The way Lijjat has made its way in Indian households is quite remarkable, and even after almost 64 years, Lijjat Papad continues to be almost every Indian’s first choice.

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Well, we all are in love with Lijjat Papad’s crunchiness and taste. Only a few know the remarkable success behind the birth of this brand. If you’re unaware of Lijjat Papad’s journey, don’t worry; we have you covered. So without further ado, let’s dive deep into the story of seven women who are behind the success of Lijjat Papad in India.

How was Lijjat Papad started by a group of seven Gujarati women with an investment of just Rs. 80?

It was back in 1959 when a group of seven Gujarati women, who were living in Bombay (Now Mumbai) started a business venture with their sharpest skill, cooking. The seven Gujarati women were Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat, Banuben. N. Tanna, Laguben Amritlal Gokani, Jayaben V. Vithalani, Diwaliben Lukka, Parvatiben Ramdas Thodani, and Ujamben Narandas Kundalia.

The company's sole purpose back then was to create a sustainable livelihood for themselves. At that time, they weren’t targeting to become one of India’s biggest companies, with an initial investment of just Rs. 80, which they had borrowed from a renowned social worker, Chhaganlal Karamsi Parekh. With the money, they bought the ingredients they needed to prepare papad, and at the beginning, they manufactured just four packets and sold them before attempting more.

The rise of Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad

The product’s quality and taste were absolutely top-notch, credit to the experiences of seven women. As a result, they started getting wholesale orders from local vendors. Although there’s no doubt that they were inexperienced in terms of growing and handling a business, with the constant support of Chhaganlal Karamsi Parekh and under the leadership of Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat, they continued climbing ladders.

The women-led venture started getting a lot of attention, and it was when the seven women decided to name their company Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad. Soon they had 300 women working under them to meet the growing demand for their products. From setting 18 years as the minimum entry age to working with them to run it like a proper business enterprise, Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad became a major source of jobs for women.

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When Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad stopped producing papads for four months

The rainy season is a blessing for many, but it is the most disastrous time of the year for some. Well, in the case of Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad, the rain was the first roadblock in their entrepreneurial success. In the rainy season, they were unable to dry the papads, and due to their tight profit margin at the beginning and shortage of investment, they were unable to find a solution.

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However, after a wait of four months and some arrangements, they opted for the traditional method of drying with the help of a cot and stove. The seven women used to keep the papads in the cots and put them above the stove so that they could dry papads even in the rainy season. Luckily, the traditional method worked without disrupting the quality of papads.

Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat led the Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad

There’s no denying the fact that Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad’s success was a result of the collaborated effort of the seven women. However, it is also known that out of all the women, who founded this venture, it was Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat, who deserves a little more appreciation. Well, the reason behind it is that she is reportedly the one, who shared the idea of starting a business venture and convinced the other six members of their group to be a part of their business idea.

Although Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat always credited her co-founders and all the women working in her company, she is the one, who led the company on her shoulders as she was a natural leader. On January 26, 2021, she was honoured with the prestigious Padma Shri award for her incredible food venture that went on to provide jobs to so many women in different parts of the country.

Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat’s Lijjat Papad is worth Rs. 1,600 crores

Despite being a homemaker before becoming an entrepreneur and having no formal training in handling a business this big, Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat is a symbol of dedication nationwide. The way she teamed up with her six co-founders is exceptional, and even at 93, she is still quite active.

As per multiple reports, Lijjat Papad has 82 branches in 17 different states of India. Apart from this, it also exports its products to more than 25 countries. Some of them are the likes of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and more. Talking about the company’s value, if the reports are to be believed, Lijjat Papad is worth Rs. 1,600 crores.

We are in love with how Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat encouraged six women to form a team to build one of India’s oldest and most successful brands, Lijjat Papad. What are your thoughts on the same? Let us know.

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