Ritu, a young entrepreneur hailing from Bihar, heart of India, has become a beacon of hope in the AgriTech sector with her startup, UPJAO. Her journey is a remarkable tale of passion, resilience, and unwavering commitment to uplifting farmers and society at large.
Growing up in a bureaucrat family in Bihar, Ritu imbibed the values of humility, compassion, and moral responsibility from her father. He inspired her to seek power and influence to make a meaningful impact in society. Moving around India with her father’s transferable job, Ritu spent most of her school and college days in Punjab, where she learnt to be outspoken and enjoy life to the fullest.
Despite facing discrimination due to her roots, Ritu challenged herself to prove her worth and stayed in top ranks during her college days. During her final session of B.Tech, Ritu landed into a solar research project at IIT Kanpur, which fuelled her technical expertise. She continued as a researcher and then pursued Research work under Prof. Monika Katiyar, where she met her second influence, Shridhar Mehta, an ace businessman with a heart for farmers.
His passion for connecting innovation with farmers inspired Ritu to think bigger. So, she started competing with herself. Despite facing challenges as a young woman entrepreneur, Ritu remained committed to her goal of helping farmers. She drew on her technical expertise to provide accurate quality assessments of agricultural produce using AI-powered technology, and thus, UPJAO was born.
UPJAO, a name that symbolizes growth and fertility, is Ritu’s way of working closer to the Indian farmer. This became the soul of her mission. Her passion for analyzing and measuring the quality of agricultural produce led her to create two revolutionary AI-based grain quality assessment products. These products detect and provide a comprehensive analysis of grain quality in just 30 seconds, eliminating human subjectivity and manual analysis.
However, Ritu’s passion does not stop at innovation and agriculture. Her passion for social responsibility and preserving traditional Indian art forms is deeply rooted in her upbringing. Her mother, who has an MA in singing, played a significant role in inspiring Ritu’s love for Indian art and culture. She pushed Ritu to learn Kathak for seven years, which grounded her with appreciation and complexity of the classical Indian dance and art forms.
Her passion for preserving traditional Indian art forms led her to explore different forms of drawing and painting. She developed a particular interest in blue pottery, a traditional form of pottery that originated in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Ritu’s interest in blue pottery inspired her to learn and preserve many other dying Indian art forms, including Madhubani painting, and Pattachitra painting.
Ritu’s father also played a significant role in instilling a deep appreciation for traditional Indian art forms in her. Even during vacations, he would take her to nearby handloom centres and explain the regional handicraft products and different kinds of looms. This exposure to traditional Indian art forms at a young age instilled in Ritu a sense of pride and appreciation for her culture and heritage.
Today, Ritu uses her passion for traditional Indian art forms to promote and preserve these art forms through her Instagram handle, ‘paint_out_your_dream.’ During covid, she shared her artwork with her followers, showcasing and using the beauty and richness of Indian art forms in contemporary ways inspiring others to appreciate and preserve these traditions.
Ritu believes that she is fortunate to have found her passion and mentors who have guided her along the way. Her childhood instilled in her a deep appreciation for the beauty of India and its rich traditions. She loves India from the bottom of her heart and feels fulfilled with whatever she has. For Ritu, sustenance is not about material possessions, but rather her passion that drives her to make a positive impact. A rooted Indian soul.
Ritu’s journey is a story of passion, resilience, and unwavering commitment to making a meaningful impact on the society. Her story inspires all to pursue our dreams, push our limits, and make a positive change in the society. UPJAO’s success is not just a reflection of Ritu’s personal journey, but also an example of the potential for Indian startups to create sustainable, innovative solutions that address pressing social issues