Namita Banka

Laureate 2013

Namita Banka

Banka Bioloo
Banka Bioloo produces environmentally friendly bio-toilets.

Namita Banka’s path is not an obvious one. She started her first business in 1999, working as a diamond jewellery designer for 10 years in her home city of Surat. After her husband transferred to Hyderabad in 2008, Namita made a clean sweep. She enrolled in a course on social entrepreneurship and tried her hand at selling ink cartridges and green office supplies, tendering to Indian Railways, amongst others. Through her contacts there, she learned about one of their big problems: sanitation.

‘An estimated 100 million households do not have access to toilets and 60% of people are forced to defecate in the open, posing health hazards, environmental concerns and leading to water contamination.’ With an average 18 million people travelling by train every day, Indian Railways is ‘our lifeline’, says Namita, but its toilets were ‘in a pitiful state.’