Panchamirtham Elumalai’s story is one worth telling to every little girl wondering about their future in this world marked with so many gender discrepancies. It is one that speaks of fighting the odds, standing on one’s own feet, and chasing the dream till it becomes a reality. She comes from an agricultural family residing in rural Madhurandhagam in Chengalpattu district. As a young girl, Panchamirtham’s only aim was to be able to complete her education. For her, this meant undertaking a long and risky 7 km journey on foot to attend school every day.
Through sheer grit and determination, she managed to complete her secondary education, but soon after was married off to a relative, Mr. Elumalai. Post marriage, the couple moved to Chennai where the husband was working in a company that designed tools & dies. The newly married Panchamirtham did not want marriage to stop her from realizing her true potential. For 16 years, she had been nurturing the dream of becoming an entrepreneur. When she learnt that Mr. Elumalai had 16 years of experience in the field of tools and dies, she jumped at the idea and immediately set out to make her dream come true with the help of his experience.
In 2005, Panchamirtham started her business with an investment of Rs. 50,000. Her first unit “Indo Tools & Dies” was established in Kolathur. She took up a 100 sq ft space on rent. In 2007, she expanded her business unit by taking up a 300 sq ft space for rent in the same area. She now had 12 women employees. In 2012, the company was established as a private limited entity under the name of M/s Indo Tools & Dies Pvt. Ltd. They manufacture the tools and dies required by the industrial sector for electrical & electronic components. A well-known manufacturer and supplier of die moulds etc., they ensure delivering best quality products and service.
While building her business, Panchamirtham felt the need to expand her unit and took out a loan from a local finance company at 5% of interest. The high interest hindered the growth of her business. But this amazing and talented young entrepreneur was already dealing with the Indo Japan Company, supplying high quality tools and dies. When Indo Japan company demanded more goods, Panchamirtham felt an immediate need to rectify the situation at hand. But she did not which direction to take and needed able guidance.
This is when BYST intervened and helped her stabilize her company, while helping it grow as well. The support came not just in form of funds, but also a mentorship that solidified the foundation for her business to flourish. Panchamirtham’s mentor Mr Kunjidhapatham, was a former electrical engineer, and one of the senior mentors of BYST Chennai cluster. He mentored Panchamirtham from the initial stages of her business and continues to stay by her side to witness the growth of the unit into a Private Limited company and beyond. He has been guiding her with regard to sales & marketing tactics, as well as helping her with references in the field of Panchamirtham’s tools & dies. He is also a great source of motivation to Panchamirtham, who is not only a leading women entrepreneur in the field of tools & dies but also envisions to diversify into commercial laundry business in the near future, to keep the funds flowing.
Today, they have dedicated personnel and specified processes for each activity from the quality control department, accounts division, stocks management and production in-charge. For Panchamirtham, her business success is dependent on quality control, and is given utmost importance.
A confident Panchamirtham now plans to expand the range of products, look for worldwide import-export opportunities, and to have a turnover of Rs. 7 crores in 2021-2022.
All her employees are local people residing within 5 km of radius of the business unit. As a woman entrepreneur herself, Ms. Elumalai focuses on hiring women employees. They form majority of her workforce. Emphatic about the employees’ needs, the company motivates them by offering incentives on target achievement.
An unfortunate accident at the business unit that caused her husband to injure nine fingers, drove Panchamirtham to ensure maximum workplace safety. She continues to motivate her team to work better by make sure that they are safe and protected. This also increases their productivity.
Though many businesses suffered from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Elumalai continued to be productive. She kept delivering her usual orders, albeit in a slower pace. But work did not stop.
Right before the lockdown induced by COVID-19 was announced, Panchamirtham had moved her business unit to Tiruvallur from Kolathur. After working out of a rented unit from 2005 to 2020, this newly constructed unit was established in a space purchased and owned by her.
Panchamirtham firmly believes that one’s dreams to flourish cannot be hindered by marriage. She also wanted to prove that married women can achieve whatever they want and become financially independent. Through her journey with BYST, she has not just proven herself as an unstoppable force of nature, but also the fact that any obstacle can be overcome with faith in oneself.