Subscribe for 50% off

How This Pediatrician-Turned-Entrepreneur Transformed a Health Policy into a Consumer Product for Kids

The founder and CEO of Ahimsa shares her journey to entrepreneurship and her advice for other physicians who have a business idea.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When a new policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics came out, focusing on the harmful chemicals found in plastics, Dr. Manasa Mantravadi's cell phone started buzzing. What started as a text-message chain between pediatrician moms discussing this new policy soon became a colorful stainless steel line of tableware for kids. The policy statement said, "Avoid plastic because it harms your child's health and instead use glass or stainless steel."

"So, while everyone was frantically trying to figure out what their next move as a mom was going to be, I kind of quietly sent a picture of my own stainless steel dishes from India that my own mother made me use for my children, because she had, years ago when my children were first born, had this gut feeling that the chemicals inside that plastic were leaching into the food her grandkids were eating," Dr. Mantravadi told Jessica Abo.

So the pediatrician and mom of three got to work. "One day I saw in the operating room these little implants and these medical instruments in various colors. And I thought, 'Well, I know that that metal rod is going inside that patient, but it's colorful. How in the world are they getting color onto that metal?' And so I thought to myself, "If it's safe enough to go into the human body, certainly it must be safe enough to eat off of."

She made calls around the country looking for a company that would create some of that coloring for medical instruments onto some dishes. After a long search, she found the partner she was looking for and Ahimsa was born.

Today, Dr. Mantravadi's line of products can be found online at and select retailers. She's just introduced a new cafeteria line for schools in her mission to replace plastic - wherever children dine.

When asked about her advice for other entrepreneurs looking to take their business idea to market, Dr. Mantravaid said, "Take the leap. I think what drives us as physicians is truly our patients and not profits. And I think a lot of times when we think about entrepreneurship, as physicians we think, "I don't really know anything about business.' But if you take out the word business and just say, "I am able to help improve the life of people in some way, shape or form,' that could be with a safe, sustainable, stainless steel dish for a child, or it could be helping them through pneumonia while they're in the hospital. It doesn't have to be either-or. So that's what I would say is, "You have what it takes, the ideas that you will come up with can be really impactful for the world, and you can still really do good for the world and be profitable while doing it.'"


The Top 5 All-Time Best Productivity Hacks You've Never Heard Of

Want to combat chronic procrastination? Use these top five productivity hacks to put an end to this debilitating nuisance.

How to Identify Your X Factor So You Can Monetize Your Gifts

The founder and CEO of Rock Your Gift shares what to ask yourself to find your X factor, and explains how he's helping coaches and speakers define their unique message to grow their platform and visibility to attract consistent clients.

Here's How Investors Can Tell If You Are as Passionate as You Say You Are

On this bank-breaking episode of 'Elevator Pitch,' see who gets funding and who gets called out.

This Woman Launched a Multi-Million Dollar Company Out of Her Dorm Room in College. Now She's Helping Kids Launch Big Ideas of Their Own.

Founder of Headbands of Hope and Mic Drop Workshop, Jess Ekstrom, talks about her new interactive book Create Your Bright Ideas.

Bam! Emeril Lagasse on Kicking Your Business Up A Notch

Interview with celebrity chef and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse about his new Roku TV series, putting relationships first, and creating media with a purpose.

5-Minute Mentor: Is My Idea Ready to Be a Business?

Here's how to test your idea and bring it to market in an impactful way.

Do You Have Toxic Office PTSD?

A dark cloud of doom seems to have followed you all the way from that cruddy job to your new desk.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf CEO Sanjiv Razdan on Mentoring New Business Leaders

Interview with Sanjiv Razdan about making the most of nontraditional opportunities, brewing customer curiosity, capitalizing on user-generated content, and inspiring industry leaders with the nonprofit GLEAM Network.

Is Staying Remote the Best Thing for Your Business?

Here's how to unlock the unbeatable benefits of a remote setup.

3 New Ways to Develop Laser-Like Focus

To boost focus in the face of distractions, you need a new approach to success.

Watch the Pitch That Results in Life-Changing Investment and a Lot of Tears

Emotions and investment dollars run hot on the new episode of 'Elevator Pitch.'

10 Years Later: The Skimm Co-Founders are Transforming the Way Millennial Women are Taking Charge of their Futures

Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg of theSkimm sit down with Jessica Abo to look back at the past decade and talk about the future.

Knead Hospitality + Design Co-Founder Jason Berry on Innovative Leadership and Employee Retention

Interview with the cofounder of Knead Hospitality + Design about loving what you do, a revamped restaurant work week, and leading by committee.

How to Prepare for a Performance Review (And Not Lose Your Mind)

Annual performance reviews are a time to shine — and a time to freak out.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.