When Sridhar Lakshmanan started a social enterprise ecoLogin, the company was offering tourism experience in remote locations in and around Tamil Nadu. During the field trips, Sridhar got acquainted with the tribals and closely observed their activities. He decided to start something mutually beneficial and launched a venture called Thaen. “The tribals were finding it hard to market and sell the raw, unfiltered honey they collected. I wanted to improve the livelihood of these communities and one of the best ways was to find a market for their products. Thaen is an e-commerce platform that sells raw organic honey harvested from forests of Western Ghats. The products are thoroughly quality tested by us to ensure it is 100 per cent pure, organic, unheated, unfiltered and fresh from healthy beehives. Unlike other honey varieties, raw forest honey is loaded with a high level of enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, healing agents and functions as a super-food. We did a trial run and received great feedback for raw forest honey,” Sridhar tells DT Next.
EcoLogin was incubated as a social enterprise in the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Thaen sells 10 varieties of honey collected from various parts of the country now. “We collect raw forest honey from Jawadhu hills, Nilgiris, Sirumalai, Thalli (hills surrounding Krishnagiri), Kodaikanal, Pothigai Hills, and Coorg. We have siru thaen, pondhu thaen and a few more varieties. Siru thaen is collected from dammer bee (Indian stingless bee) and pondhu thaen is rare honey from burrows. There are many medicinal qualities for raw forest honey. It is an effective antioxidant as it comprises significant antioxidant compounds. Because of its anti-oxidant properties, it is proven to be beneficial in reducing the risk of heart diseases, stroke and a few types of cancer. Bee pollen that is only found in wild forest honey can boost the immune system and lower inflammation naturally. Bee Pollen’s presence makes wild honey an exceptionally nutritious superfood,” explains the social entrepreneur. Sridhar also has another initiative called Basecamp, a non-governmental organisation that does developmental, educational and social research projects in rural villages in Tamil Nadu.