Introduction by David Wagstaff
After starting a successful microbrewery in Kolkata India he moved on to work in the hemp industry and currently his company is making paper from hemp. He stated that Hemp can be a solution to our environmental-related problems and is been a front-runner for the cause of environment protection.
Entrepreneur’s Network seeks to actively encourage Social Entrepreneur’s. I saw that he has an innovative approach through Hemp Products and as part of our series of articles providing stories and insights to entrepreneurs, I wanted him to answer some of our questions and introduce himself to our community at the Entrepreneur’s Network (EntrepreneursNet.Net).
Shailesh thoroughly answered all of our questions, and I particularly liked his opening response. He quoted Gandhi in inviting all of us to be the change we want to see in the world.
1) What led you to become an entrepreneur?
“Be the change you wish to see in the world ”. That has been the mantra that laid the foundation of OG Hemp Company.
I was truly inspired by the amazing potential of Hemp. We initiated research on Hemp, its processes and building a vibrant team in early 2018. OG Hemp Company came into existence in May 2019 after thorough research on the benefits and the array of lifestyle changes Hemp can make.
2) A brief description of your business and what are your aspirations for it?
OG Hemp Company is manufacturing Hemp Paper from processed bast fiber. We aspire to replace wood with hemp for paper & paper-based products.
We want to be a trustworthy and innovative global leader in producing Hemp Paper for conscious future generations. We aim to lead the way in making a positive impact on climate change through natural living and development of agro-economy.
3) What have you done with your business that you are proud of or that has worked really well?
- We constantly strive to make a positive impact by manufacturing hemp products.
- Our endeavour is to deliver best quality and consistent value to our consumers.
- We aim to introduce a unique and successful business model that is committed to service and integrity, and that benefits all.
- We respect Nature and engage sustainable and eco-friendly practices to conserve it.
- We are dedicated to the cause of ‘handmade’ products and keeping artisan tradition alive. We thus support the livelihood and well-being of Indian craftsman and generate local level employment.
4) What were some of your biggest challenges along the way?
Our biggest challenge was to make people believe that hemp is such a beneficial crop. Hemp is being touted as the miracle plant as it shows promising prospects of a Green future. The versatile crop is gaining the much-needed attention for being sustainable and environment-friendly alternative to a vast number of products.
Industrial Hemp are varieties of Cannabis plant that are harvested for their fibre, seed and other products, and are naturally low in mind-altering THC. Cannabis is the name given to a family of plants with two species: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. The controversial and notorious Marijuana is a plant that can be a member of both classifications while hemp is only a member of the Cannabis Sativa family.
The widespread misconception of confusing Hemp with Marijuana is a result of the fact that both belong to the same family – but they’re in fact quite different genetically and in application. Hemp is made from a certain strain of Cannabis sativa that contains minimal to no amount of psychoactive and intoxicating THC, usually no more than 0.3 percent. Scientifically speaking, humans cannot get “high” or “stoned” from ingesting hemp and thus it cannot be abused.
5) Have you overcome the challenges? If so how?
I will not say that we have completely overcome the challenge but YES, the change has started and it will not take long before we see a revolution in this field. After the United States legalized hemp through passing a bill last year, several countries in the world are understanding the vast applications of this magical crop and taking a positive step towards creating a viable sustainable alternative.
In India, Uttarakhand (state in northern India) has given out licenses to grow hemp which is a big step towards changing the agro-economy in a positive way. We are also following up with many other government authorities and creating awareness about the hemp plant.
6) What have you learned and what would you like to share with other entrepreneurs?
The Hemp trend is picking up a lot of momentum worldwide and is being termed as “the sustainable and environment-friendly wonder crop”. Hemp has the power to revolutionize the paper industry and steer it towards a sustainable and eco-friendly future!
By doing good to the society and environment, we are doing good to ourselves. If I, along with my team, can create a holistic, futuristic and sustainable tree-free alternative that inspires, promotes eco-friendliness and kindness towards nature, then I will consider my entrepreneurial journey a successful one. This is the only message I want to send out to each one of you to follow your dreams and do something good for the future generation.
7) Is there anyone you would like to meet or connect with?For example, investors in the electrical industry, mentors in the publishing industry. A knowledgeable SEO person. Specific is helpful.
We are all in this together, and we are all responsible for creating the environmental crisis. Now is the time to bring on the change and minimize the environmental impact. With Handmade Hemp paper, we have the opportunity to create a responsible and sustainable value-chain that ensures socio-economic growth for all. Anyone who has the same mindset and who is responsible towards nature is free to collaborate. We will be happy to learn from paper industry experts, which can help us to make our paper more efficient and cost-friendly.