Green Flags: These Women-led Startups are Making a Sustainable Impact

A TechnoServe program in India is equipping women-led startups with the knowledge and tools they need to make a sustainable impact.

Collage of women-led startups in India making a sustainable impact.

In an era when the clarion call for environmental preservation resonates louder than ever, the words of Rachel Carson, a pioneering American biologist whose seminal work, ‘Silent Spring,’ awakened the world to the dangers of environmental pollution, echo profoundly. Carson’s assertion that “man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself” has never been more relevant.

It underscores the intricate bond between humanity and the natural world. This perspective resonates in the words of Barack Obama, who poignantly remarked, “We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.” These reflections are not just reminders of our responsibility toward the environment but also a call to action for innovative solutions to combat the challenges posed by climate change.

Sustainable Impact in India

In India, a remarkable transformation is underway, spearheaded by women entrepreneurs leading the charge with green startups.

The Greenr Sustainability Accelerator program by TechnoServe is proud to collaborate and work with some of these phenomenal entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of the sustainability movement, leveraging technology, innovation, and sustainable practices to address critical environmental issues.

Let’s delve into the stories of these trailblazing women, their startups, and their impact. Their inspiring journeys serve as an example for future generations of how to effectively blend business acumen with ecological consciousness.

Meet the Entrepreneurs


Dr. Suchita Bhandari

Founder & Director, Urvara Krsi

A dynamic persona with a Ph.D. in agriculture science and a post-doctorate from Cambridge University, Dr. Suchita Bhandari has over 30 years of experience across multiple agroforestry projects, both in India and abroad. 

Reimagining agriculture at Urvara Krsifrom seed to harvest and beyond—the company promotes sustainable and environmentally-friendly agricultural practices by helping agro-based industries and communities achieve their maximum potential and build highly successful partnerships.

Dr. Bhandari co-authored ‘Agroforestry With Commercial Clonal Plantations in India,’ which was published by TERI—The Energy and Resources Institute.

Photo of a woman-led startup in India making a sustainable impact.

Blissfully Yours!

Niveda Ravikumar

Founder & CEO, BlissPads

What started as a final-year college project in 2021 is now a thriving and sustainable business. While pursuing a Bachelor of Technology (Fashion Tech), Niveda and Goutham (co-founders of Bliss Pads) created a biodegradable sanitary napkin from kenaf fibers for their final-year college project.

The idea came from a self-help group in Andhra Pradesh, which introduced the duo to kenaf—a plant whose leaves were used for pickles and chutneys. The unused fibers were initially intended to make upholstery and furnishing products. When the fibers were blended with cotton, they could be used to make garments. During testing, they discovered that the fiber was also anti-bacterial and resistant to mildew. Realizing the amount of plastic waste generated from sanitary pads, they were inspired to conduct surveys in schools, colleges, and work settings on sanitary napkins. This led to the start of Bliss Pads.

After forgoing internships, winning awards, and several hiccups later, the business boomed. From personally delivering products to their clients in Coimbatore, the chemical-free, odor-free, devoid of deodorant, highly absorbent, easily biodegradable product is now certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

The company has diversified and expanded its product line to become a complete feminine hygiene brand across India.

The Heroic Harvester

Archana Stalin

Founder, myHarvest Farms

Meet Archana Stalin—an engineer turned natural farmer on a mission to provide chemical-free food to everyone. Together with her husband, Stalin Kalidoss, she founded myHarvest Farms, a farm-to-home platform that helps Indian farmers grow and sell organic produce while improving their livelihoods.

Their love for organic farming was born when they decided to eat healthier and started gardening in their first-floor and backyard space. As their efforts gained attention on social media and local newspapers, Archana recognized the growing interest in farming among her friends and acquaintances. Using their knowledge and connections, Archana and Stalin leased two acres of farmland and launched myHarvest in January 2017. Archana even quit her job as a marketing head to devote herself entirely to the initiative.

Her role goes beyond traditional farming activities. While focusing on educational initiatives for younger generations, she noticed a gap in children’s practical knowledge of plants. This inspired her to organize gardening workshops in schools and introduce “gift boxes” containing pots, soil, and spinach seeds, encouraging children’s involvement in gardening. Additionally, she initiated “Reconnect with Nature” programs in several schools to foster eco-sensitivity and promote plant cultivation among students.

myHarvest also supports rural women by providing skills training to help them succeed in the corporate world. Her employees are like family, and her intention with this business is to support young farmers moving from farms to cities.

Photo of a woman-led startup in India making a sustainable impact.

Passion Meets Purpose

Sonal Shukla

Co-Founder & CEO, econscious ™

Passionate about the planet, Sonal Shukla leads the charge in transforming post-consumer plastic waste into functional products. In two years, her relentless dedication has steered the company to recycle over 200,000 kg of plastic waste while empowering a workforce of over 20 individuals.

econscious® offers unique, conscious, and innovative products for gifting, decor, and public utility through its recycled plastic range. Each product at econscious is an innovative recycled plastic product.

But that’s not how her story began. Armed with a Master of Technology degree in Electronics and Communication from the prestigious National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra, she honed her skills during an internship at STMicroelectronics.

In 2022, Sonal was recognized as one of India’s 75 ‘womenpreneurs’ by the Atal Innovation Mission Official, NITI Aayog. Her visionary leadership earned her a year-long incubation. Not stopping there, she seized victory at the United Nations Development Program’s Youth Co:Lab in 2023, and the National Startup Awards crowned econscious® as a top contender the same year.

Woman of Steel

Nikeeta N Jaiin

CEO, Vardhman Recycling LLP

Defying conventions in a male-dominated industry, Nikeeta N Jaiin leads the charge against the tide of waste.

As the CEO of Vardhman Recycling, Nikeeta’s presence disrupts the status quo. She embodies the third generation of recyclers in her family lineage. Yet, unlike the predictable path set before her, Nikeeta chooses to carve her legacy in sustainability.

Against the backdrop of her education, for Nikeeta, it’s not just about reclaiming metal; it’s about breathing life back into the Earth, one discarded object at a time. In her eyes, recycling isn’t merely a practice—it’s a sacred duty, a testament to our commitment to preserving India’s resources and honoring the environment.

With determination, Nikeeta strides forward, believing that recycling is the ultimate act of giving back.

Photo of a woman-led startup in India making a sustainable impact.

The Artisanal Avenger

Anam Husain


Meet Anam Husain, the young, rooted, and visionary apparel designer. With a passion for infusing subtle textures and surfaces into fabrics, she has earned the moniker “Artisanal” from her professors—a title that encapsulates her dedication to the artistry of her craft.

For Anam, design is more than just a profession; it’s a profound expression of her values and beliefs. With an unwavering commitment to sustainability, she champions ethically produced craftsmanship where beauty and consciousness intertwine seamlessly. Each stitch is imbued with meaning, and each garment is a testament to her reverence for the environment.

Drawing inspiration from life, her design is inspired by deep-rooted memories, nostalgic moments, and treasures of past eras. Yet, nature ignites her imagination with its earthy, metallic, raw allure. Take, for instance, her latest masterpiece, “Patina,” which evokes the scent of petroleum—liquid gold—an ode to the transformative power of nature’s elements.


Natasha D’Costa

Founder, Start Upcycling Now

Natasha D’Costa’s passion for environmental stewardship is infectious. The visionary founder of Start Upcycling Now (SUN) has ignited a movement to reshape the way we perceive waste. With a degree in interior design and fueled by nearly a decade of relentless research, she has dedicated herself to unlocking the potential of plastic bottles as a valuable resource at the household level. This journey birthed the transformative idea of Start Upcycling Now—an initiative to revolutionize our relationship with waste.

The premise is simple yet profound: empower individuals to upcycle plastic bottles into five utility items, laying the foundation for a future where our children and grandchildren can tread a “trash-free” path. But Natasha’s vision extends far beyond the horizon. A tireless advocate for over 15 years, she imparts wisdom on composting, recycling, and sustainability through corporate seminars and community engagements.

Natasha’s journey is as diverse as it is inspiring. Lover of the outdoors, she finds solace in trekking, traveling, and the simple joys of farming. With her husband Ajay, a retired Navy officer, she runs a family business rooted in sustainability, proving that passion and purpose can thrive in tandem with familial bonds.

The accolades that adorn her journey highlight her unwavering dedication. Most recently, SUN made headlines by erecting a towering Christmas tree crafted from used cardboard, securing them a coveted spot in the India Book of Records and Asia Book of Records.

Photo of a woman-led startup in India making a sustainable impact.

Keeping It Cool!

Sharayu Kulkarni

Co-founder, RuKart

An epitome of innovation and empowerment, Sharayu Kulkarni is one of the co-founders of RuKart Technologies. The genesis of RuKart was a collaborative effort borne out of the collective ingenuity of Sharayu Kulkarni and Vikash Jha. Together, they embarked on a mission to make small-scale farming economically viable and environmentally sustainable.

Their innovation, the Subjee Cooler, helps farmers store unsold farm produce for four to six days, sell at higher prices, and make a profit. Founded in 2019, the agritech startup aims to make small-sized farming economically and environmentally sustainable. RuKart designs, develops, and disseminates affordable, recurring, robust, and scalable products to reduce input costs and mitigate risks during cultivation.

The focus on leveraging technology helps empower women as entrepreneurs and change agents for the last-mile delivery of their technology. RuKart’s mission is to empower women entrepreneurs in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra. Sharayu envisions an agricultural ecosystem that is not only economically viable but also environmentally sustainable, aiming to reduce post-harvest losses from 30% to less than 5% by 2030.

Learn more about the Greenr program’s sustainable impact

Garvita Sharma is a manager of marketing and communications at TechnoServe India.