Transforming Housewives into Successful Women Entrepreneurs: MyVillageMyBusiness
In Indian villages, women entrepreneurship is unimaginable even after 70 years of independence. Mostly, Women are dependent on their father, Husband, Brother or uncle for their any financial & non-financial requirements and women in villages hardly keep their own money or maintain their own bank balance even if they earn money by working somewhere as a labor in farms, construction site or in a nearby business unit. Money earned by women is collected by male member of the family and largely they only decide how to use that money.
Earning money or deciding how to earn money is generally a male member’s decision and they also decide how to spend that money. Women are not exposed to various great job opportunities in private or Govt sectors and they cannot even think of starting their own small business. We can easily say that women participation in family decision making is also minimal in economically weak community.
In India, female child are not given equal opportunity to get education or professional skills compared to a male child of same family and this situation is worse in the villages. Women are also not exposed to various skill development programs available in cities.
Hence we strongly believe that privileged individuals, Corporate, NGOs and Govt must put in their honest efforts to help the 50% population of our country by empowering them so that the goal of gender equality is achieved.
Solution: My Village My Business
Under this program, we recommend to support “Women Entrepreneurship” development across rural and semi urban communities. We encourage women (preferably housewives) to start businesses of their own choice at their own villages to earn their livelihood in villages only. Under this initiative, we provide funding, mentoring, trainings, Branding, Market research, technical and other handholding support to run their business successfully. This program ensures 50+ women to become successful entrepreneur in the cluster of 30-40 villages with 20 KM radium. We further do capability development of our women to double their income by providing them online / offline platform to earn more money in their own villages. The digital platform connects the women with each other to buy and sell products across all other villages.
Following are the steps under this program:
A. Mobilization: We launch the program by finalizing the list of villages where we need to start the “My village My Business” initiative and we initiate mobilization in the villages to identify the women who are poorest of poor and have basic skills to run a business. This gives women an opportunity to fulfill their dream and earning for their family. Below are few examples of businesses can be started by women in their own villages:
- Tailoring Business
- Beauty Parlor Shops
- Computer training center
- Cosmetic & Grocery Shop
- Tuition center
- Stationary Shop
- Mobile repair shop
- Vegetable Shop
- Tiffin Center etc
- Bakery shop
- Bags Manufacturing
- Pickle production
B. Selection process: After mobilization the women undergo a selection process of personal interviews, group meetings, family background check, domicile status, physical verification, market accessibility, ability to maintain books of account, nominal investment capability and most important family support to understand success in her business
C. Skill Training: Typically we select a women who already have skills to run a business however if required we encourage women to get skill training at a nearby skill center. After the skill training we help the women to launch her business in her own villages.
D. Financial Support: The amounts we provide to every woman vary from INR 10,000 to 15,000 per women based on type of business and her current capability to invest for her own business. Under this program we do not transfer the money to women’s personal account but we pay to the product suppliers from where women buy the items. The business items are typically fix assets, machines, rack, chair, counter etc. and not consumable items.
E. Business Launch support: The launch of the business is done with the support of NGO team and corporate volunteers. Our volunteer team makes sure there is enough buzz in the village to make local people aware and increase her client base as soon as business is launched.
F. Business promotional activities: Promotion is very important for any business hence we use all relevant techniques to attract the customers and generate more repeat business. Below are some of the activities we have been organizing in different villages to increase footfall at women’s shop and the respective women get chance to build relationship with customers and lead the activities in her village so that she get respect in the village as a change leader.
· Medical Camp with free medicines
· Eye Camp with free Eye Surgery or Eye Glasses
· Govt Policy awareness workshops for village people
· Women Hygiene awareness workshop
· Seminar on Financial Literacy in each village
· Self Help Group Awareness Workshop
· Student painting competition in different villages
· Student Career Guidance Awareness Program
· Job Opportunities for youth
· Scholarship for students for higher education
G. Local Skill Development: Under this initiative, we also encourage our women entrepreneurs to provide vocational skill (Tailoring, Beauty Parlor, Computer, Cooking etc.) training as per this business to local youth in their villages and become a village level skill centers. To encourage local women & youth to get skill trainings at our women’s shops we provide scholarships by paying portion of monthly fee charged by the women entrepreneurs.
H. Monthly Business Mentoring support: This is a unique feature of this project as many of the people can provide business equipments e.g. Tailoring machine, Beauty Parlor set up etc. but rarely anyone partner with the women to make sure they are successful in the respective business. For the same our business mentor visits all the women’s shop every month to assess the progress and give them advice to further improve their ventures. We also provide different types of required skill trainings:
· Soft skills, Communication & Customer handling Skill
· Formation of self help group
• Business promotion training using social media as per need
• Digital, Basic computer training for enabling them for digital transactions
• Grah Udyog – Chips, Mangodi, Pickles, Masale
• Govt policies awareness to benefit women e.g. Stand up, Mudra loan, Sakhi etc.
Online / offline Market place to buy and sell products
As the business grows some of women would start production of some products e.g. Clothes, Bags, School uniform, Women wear, Dairy products, Pickle, Papad etc. and they would need a market place to sell these products. Hence we have built an online & offline market place for women to buy and sell the products within the women network and we provide supply chain support to the women so that women are able to increase their income. Women can place their order using the whatsapp group and we are supplying the products in other shops as per demand.
Collaboration with FMCG companies & NGOs:
We are now looking to collaborate with FMCG companies & other corporate e.g. Shoes, Stationary, cosmetic, cloths, Undergarment manufacturer etc., which are looking to increase their market share in the rural areas and we can give access of these women’s shops in different villages to such corporate. This will be a win-win situation for all three parties: Corporate, Women & NGO. Additionally we are also working to partner with NGO & corporate which are also working to promote women entrepreneurship and they would need a bigger market place so we can onboard all their women in our network and can provide access of online & offline market place in 1000+ villages within 2 years of time.
Village Change Leader
As mentioned earlier we organize various camps, seminars, workshops etc. in the villages to promote their businesses and we encourage women to play a role of local Mobilizer and organize of all these activities (medical camps, govt policy awareness workshops etc.) for the benefits of local people and same time promote her own business, take required permission from school, village Sarpanch and also invite local people to take advantages of camps & workshops organize in the villages. These program help women to earn respect as a change leader in the village and also she get change to develop her leadership skills.
Key steps to implement the program
· Finalize cluster of 30-40 villages within 20 KM radium
· Initiate mobilization in the villages to identify women who wants start a businesses
· Conduct interview and select 1-2 women from each village
· NGO team do physical, Domicile & family verification in the villages
· Provide basic business & customer handling trainings to selected women
· Conduct survey (if needed) before launching businesses to ensure demand of business
· Procure required machine and material for the business
· Create a buzz in the village before launch so that people know about it
· Visits to women’s businesses periodically and review the progress
· Provide access of each other’s shops to all the women to buy and sell their products
· Encourage women start providing skill trainings to local women as per their businesses
· Monitor the performance
· Organize business promotional activities in the villages
· Recognize best performing entrepreneurs and other stakeholders of the project
Following are some of the expected outcome of the program if we launch it for 30-40 women:
- 30-40 house wives would become successful women entrepreneurs in own villages and their earnings would improve quality of life of more than 300 family members
- Every women would earn 4000-20000 monthly from their own businesses in 1st year
- Net income earned by our 61 women in 8-10 months was INR 1.5 million (till 15-Feb’2020). Savita alone has earned Rs. 1,49,000/- from her parlor business and 10 women have earned 50,000+ through their businesses in their own villages
- 3500+ village people get benefits from various businesses promotional & public welfare activities organized in villages: medical, Eye camps, Women health, financial literacy workshops etc.
- 50% women would work as a local skill development center and provide skill trainings to other 500+ women locally e.g. Tailoring, Parlor, Computer center, Bakery, Pickle etc.
- Minimum 30% women would become manufacturer and supply products manufactured at their businesses and sell at other women’s shop
- More than 150 volunteers will be engaged in various activities under this program
- Online platform should do business of 5 million in first year and help women to increase the profit
For Women Entrepreneurship, we identify poorest of poor Women (preferably housewives) from a villages or semi urban areas, who are interested to start their own businesses in their own villages and preferably they do not need any skill trainings to start a business. Women’s must be capable of running businesses successfully.
This is a replicable model and can be implement it easily anywhere in India hence we are looking forward for your CSR support to sponsor this program wherever you have your office and jointly we can benefits thousands of poor people in communities.