Anupriya Goswami (Class of 2017)
The Journey of Young Entrepreneur
We’re delighted to welcome Anupriya Goswami, HKU MBA Class of 2017, to tell us how and why she recently founded her company, NeerSol, to help save the planet from single-use plastic pollution by supporting the circular economy with products such as non-toxic cleaning refills. Anupriya’s journey to becoming an entrepreneur is inspiring and illustrates the various paths people take in their careers and education. Each experience was a building block on the way to her latest venture, blending her background in architecture and design, with the entrepreneurial mindset she developed during her MBA degree, and applying skills acquired from her post-MBA career in global sourcing strategy at Gap Inc.
1. HKU MBA: Thank you for taking your time for this interview! After your career at Gap as a Global Sourcing Manager, what made you want to start your own company?
Anu: It was my personal motivation to find a solution to the problem I had been facing for a few years. I was always struggling with massive plastic waste from our home plus I wanted to keep the home tidy for my newborn and finding non-toxic cleaning solutions at an affordable price was hard. Did you know every year we produce 300 million tonnes of annual plastic waste every year? That’s equivalent to the weight of the entire population on earth!! It’s core shaking to realise the kind of planet we are leaving behind for our kids- riddled with plastic pollution and carbon-intensive activities.
After I became a parent, I started cloth diapering my baby and realised that a single swap, adopted by a single household, with its immense reusability can reduce our plastic waste drastically. I tried DIY cleaners, but I didn’t have time for it. With my family’s relocation to London, I resigned from my job and took a short break. Steady income from a good job was not going to stop me from exploring my capabilities further. During COVID-19 lockdowns, I discussed my passion with my family to find my own brand and product line which is safer to use and is eco-friendly. With my family’s manufacturing background and support, we started the NeerSol project. https://www.neersol.com/It took unlimited enthusiasm, the right circumstances and the support from friends and family to bring this project to life.
2. HKU MBA: Can you please introduce your company and products for our readers?
Anu: NeerSol is a UK-based company that brings sustainable household and personal care products in new forms that perform well, are convenient and are good for the environment. Neersol is working towards a waste-free future to reduce the 8 million tons of plastic from entering our oceans.
When it comes to keeping surfaces clean, the ready-to-use cleaners contain 95% water and shipping water around the world is carbon-intensive. We don’t ship water. We just ship the ingredients in tablet form that helps lower carbon footprint. Additionally, common cleaning sprays generate excessive single-use plastic pollution, whereas Neersol cleaning tablets in their plastic-free packaging reduce plastic waste with each refill and reuse of your existing spray bottle. And lastly, most cleaners expose us to harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances, and we try to reduce this exposure by making a safer cleaning solution that is mildly scented with 100% natural essential oils.
3. HKU MBA: Congratulations on acquiring the subsidy from the UK Government. Can you share more details about the scheme and procedures?
Anu: Thank you! We recently got selected for the Kickstarter Scheme by the UK government that provides funding to employers to create jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit. The Kickstart Scheme supports high-quality 6-month job placements. It helps improve the employability of young people as we invest our time in their skill development, as well as it helps startups create an additional line of work for their own growth. We submitted our application directly to the grant office and received a positive response in 8-10 weeks.
4. HKU MBA: What are the main challenges and difficulties you’ve experienced as a founder and an entrepreneur so far?
Anu: As a sole founder, the journey can get lonely sometimes and I had to work around that by reaching out to the women’s network, my friends from HKU and the LBS community to discuss and test ideas and strategy. I am really grateful to all the people who responded to my request to mentor me or act as a thought partner on this journey.
5. HKU MBA: What are your short-term and long-term plans as an entrepreneur?
Anu: Building awareness around the need–climate crisis and the plastic pollution, and the solution– our sustainable products, and our brand will always be a part of our journey. Our short term goal is to build our customer and follower base further and launch our first line of products in 3 markets- UK, HK, and India. Long term goal is to address each unsustainable item from our daily lives and find a convenient, sustainable, and affordable alternative to it and become a household brand.
6. HKU MBA: Are there any tips or advice you want to share with aspiring entrepreneurs?
Anu: Start with personal motivation. Money alone cannot be a motivation for starting on an entrepreneurial journey because that’s the last thing you will get after a couple of months or years of investing in your business. Trust your gut and I’ll use the line that one of my friends said– get out of your own way!
“Please note that NeerSol is hiring in the UK for the intern position. For anyone to apply for a Kickstart vacancy they have to go through their Work Coach within the Job Centre. The vacancy reference number they can quote is V0000318352, alternatively they can give NeerSol’s KS number of KSDB9CE2AA.”