Opportunities Rising for Homemakers in E-commerce!
तत त्वम असि
जो अनंत है, कभी नहीं मीटता, वहीं तुम हो।
(The essence that is eternal. You are that)
Every woman who awakens courage and grit within herself is Durga,
Every woman who awakens transformation within herself is Kali,
Every woman who awakens devotion within herself is Parvati,
Every woman who awakens nurturing within herself is Annapurna,
Every woman is Shakti.
Let’s celebrate the goddess within.
Her presence makes the world look beautiful, her absence disrupts the entire mankind. She is the womb of the Universe. How often do we realise that? Yes. It’s an appalling reality, that which we cannot get away with. We can’t be oblivious to this brutal truth unless we are living in some parallel universe. No matter how educated you are, no matter how capable you are, this society has been mercilessly and brazenly attacking her, slandering her, clogging with its own draconian rules, restraining her growth and freedom by fixing demarcations. This regressive approach towards her is calamitous and infuriating. Do you think it is easy to be a ‘woman’? It ain’t. But having said that, we are fighting back with equal force, navigating through hardships, and proving our worth in all walks of life. We know who we are before the world tells us who we ought to be. We know our worth and we have paid dearly for every ounce of it. We aren’t here to break or challenge any paternalistic contours, nor we are here to usurp any rights or power. We are here to create our own space through your love, respect, and support. Imagine, this world would be such a wonderful place to live in.
What’s the greatest lesson a woman should learn?
That since day one, she’s already had everything she needs within herself. It is the world that convinced her she did not - Rupi Kaur
A woman assumes multiple roles in the course of her life. But the most underrated and underestimated one is that of a ‘homemaker’. She gives up on all her dreams and aspirations to become one. She works Incessantly and tirelessly to ensure that we aren’t deprived of any comforts of life. Unfortunately, her efforts get unnoticed. This is a well-ingrained fact that our significance, our existence is measured in terms of money. If you make money, you have a social standing else not. A homemaker deserves enough respect and love and shouldn’t look down upon. It’s a profession that can neither be compared to anything nor it can be measured in terms of cash or kind. It’s a selfless profession of binding the family with utmost affection and warmth. Hence, a homemaker makes home a better place to live in.
Gradually, things are changing now for the better. The plight of Indian housewives has changed manifolds as they are now coming together to launch and mark their presence digitally and globally. They dare to dream big and different and encourage everyone around them to do so. These homemakers- turned- entrepreneurs are a constant source of inspiration to all those who firmly believe that no leash, no restrain, no societal norms can be that strong to cage them or bog them down. The creativity of a woman flourishes when she is given enough personal space and freedom. Therefore, allow her to take a flight of freedom and then wait for the miracle to happen. Encourage her, empower her, as an empowered woman, empowers women.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said and I quote — “Our Matru Shakti is our pride. Women empowerment is very crucial to our development.”
His vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Vocal for Local’ has led to the emergence of innumerable women entrepreneurs across the nation. This initiative has not just enabled women to launch their business digitally but also facilitated a wider scope for job creation that would further contribute to the nation-building process. Hence, a woman’s ability is not just confined to four walls. Her ability is much more than becoming a good homemaker.
“Housewives turned entrepreneurs across the nation and their inspiring stories”
Veena Manek, Homemaker, Mumbai, India-
For Veena Manek, coronavirus brought an opportunity to follow her passion for baking. One request, in the middle of the lockdown, to bake a birthday cake changed everything for the Mumbai housewife and ‘Blissful Indulgence Mumbai’ was born. From 1–2 orders in a week in the first month of operations to now servicing as high as 7–9 orders a single day, the business is already showing great promise. Veena is now working on upgrading her skills, expanding menus, and increasing her clientele
Abirami | Villivalam, Tamil Nadu-
Organic Farmer, Rice, and Pulses distributor.
The first thing that comes out when we speak to Abirami is that she is a staunch believer of organic farming. The entrepreneur runs her organic farm, Shenbagam Farms along with her husband Veeraraghavan. Together they have been popularising traditional varieties of rice such as kichli, samva, thooyamalli and poongar. Yet another deviation they decided to take was to go directly to the customer. Abirami was one of the first rural women entrepreneurs who took her business online with the revolutionary RISE App. This lockdown seems to have had its share of positives for Abirami too. The farmer couple is making plans of expansion into an oil pressery, as they also harvest sesame seeds. Their small start with diary is also showing promise and Abirami hopes to be supplying milk products and eggs too. Based on customer feedback, Abirami also has plans to foray into ready-to-eat foods that use the base ingredients from their farm- peanut and sesame laddus ( healthy energy balls) and more.
Abirami’s biggest lockdown learning is keeping one’s spirit up and always looking at the positive’. She adds a valuable afterthought — ‘ always keep technology as your best friend!’
The powerful voices of such women entrepreneurs, who with an indomitable spirit and undeterred resolve is making big, need to be heard and tapped by social ventures. This will strengthen their spirits and inspire more voices to join them. Today, a social venture like Mitti Ke Rang (MKR) has become a medium to smear those unheard yet powerful voices across the nation.
Mitti Ke Rang is dedicated to empowering women, widows, and single women to overcome poverty and dependency, through skill-based training that provides employment. The venture helps women entrepreneurs to launch new businesses and compete in the marketplace. Hence, bringing you, some inspiring stories of these homemakers who have toppled barriers and challenges with their creativity, passion, grit, and determination. They dared to dream big and how!
Anita’s Kitchen: Anita Agarwal from Raipur, Chattisgarh
From just a home-maker to a passionate entrepreneur- that’s what is our Anita Agarwal. She says and I quote- “Being traditional doesn’t stop you from having modern dreams. Also, it’s never too late to follow your heart.”
After watching her children follow their dream path, she learned that “it’s never enough” and started her own Anita’s kitchen. Converting her daily job to passion, making handmade tasty sweets and chocolates with love. What is better than a handmade recipe, right!
Anita’s Kitchen is a passionate effort of Anita Agarwal, started back in 2020, motivated to do what she is good at- Making handmade chocolate and sweets.
With every order, she is motivated to work more and show what she is good at. She joined Mitti Ke Rang to explore the opportunities as a women entrepreneur because she believes “it’s never late and never enough”.
Smriti Shreshta Pradhan from Darjeeling
Smriti decided to start something of her own, show the world her special culinary talent. After being a teacher in a private school for over a decade it was not easy for her to suddenly adjust to the pandemic. She started making chicken pickles and took the help of Facebook for orders. She has delivered 60 bottles on her own. She joined MKR with the hope to take her business to another level as she hopes to spread the taste of her chicken pickle. The idea of a chicken pickle is new and people are not aware of it, thus she picked that idea for starting a business. She was nervous because of issues like delivery constraints, late delivery, damaging of product, and customer review. But once she delivered her first bottle then there was no looking back.
What she says: -
I have been a teacher in a private school for a decade, teaching has always been a part of my life but no one expected that this type of pandemic situation would come into our life. This pandemic led to a total cut off my income.
I have always been in cooking special dishes and this was always appreciated by people so thought of starting my own pickle business. People usually don’t know about chicken pickles so this was a unique idea for starting a business. People should do those things in which they are best at.
In this male-dominated society women are always looked down on and have been given the job of housewives all the time so it is high time for us to stand on our own feet and be dependent on ourselves.
All though it was a small business, I faced a lot of problems because of delivery constraints and fear of late delivery, damaging of products, and customer reviews especially during this pandemic situation it was difficult to maintain but I overcame this situation and had been successful to deliver almost 60 bottles of my Homemade pickle and I have been receiving good reviews from my customers.
Bhavna Nagrani from Pune, Maharashtra
She is leading the manufacturing of very popular and tempting Granola bars, at “Awesome Oatsome”.
Being a wife of a health freak and also a responsible mother, Bhavna is perfectly working to provide the most scrumptious yet healthy snack meals made of oats, ready to be consumed with milk or simply.
Awesome Oatsome:- Tasty + Healthy
Not limited to just one variety of energy bar, rather a lot of varieties which every age group is sure to enjoy. Bhavna manages to prepare everything very creatively at her own pace, ensuring the best taste with the ultimate health benefits.
Bhavna has been pursuing cooking as a hobby, for as long as she has been only 13 years of age.
Hence, there are many inspiring stories in the making.
Having said that we cannot get away with the reality that women entrepreneurs are not doing good. The figures are abysmally low and discouraging.
Global status of female adult population engaged in entrepreneurial activity-
According to the Sixth Economic Census released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, women constitute around 14℅ of the total entrepreneurs based in India, that is 8.05 million out of the total 58. 5 million entrepreneurs.
Let’s look into some obstacles faced by women entrepreneurs while starting their own businesses:-
- Finance is the lifeblood of any business be it big or small. Women do not have property on their names to use as collateral for obtaining funds from external sources. There is limited access to an external sources of funds. Secondly, the banks also consider women less credit-worthy. Given such a situation, women entrepreneurs are bound to rely on their own savings, if any loans from friends and relatives which are expectedly meager and negligible. Thus, women enterprises fail due to the shortage of finance.
- There is a scarcity of raw materials and necessary inputs. Added to this are the high prices of raw material at the minimum of discount, on the other.
- Male chauvinism is still the order of the day in India. In a nutshell, in a male-dominated society, women are not treated equally to men. Thus, in turn, serves as a barrier to women's entry into the business.
- Illiteracy is the root cause of socio-economic problems. Due to lack of education and that too qualitative education, women are not aware of the business, technology, and market knowledge.
- Women entrepreneurs do not have organizational setup to pump in a lot of money for canvassing and advertisement. Thus, they have to face stiff competition for marketing their products with both organized sector and their male counterparts resulting in the liquidation of women enterprises.
- In the case of married woman, she has to strike a fine balance between her business and family. Her total involvement in the family leaves little or no energy and time to devote to business.
- Unlike men, women's mobility in India is highly limited due to various reasons. The cumbersome exercise involved in starting an enterprise coupled with the official's humiliating attitude towards women compels them to give up the idea of starting an enterprise.
In addition to the above problems, inadequate infrastructural facilities, shortage of power, high cost of production, social attitude, low need for achievement, and socio-economic constraints also hold the women back from entering into business.
The Indian government has realized this necessity, and has come up with a variety of schemes across multiple industrial sectors to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of women entrepreneurs in India.
Here are the different schemes and initiatives through which the government of India is giving funding and support to women entrepreneurs: -
1)The Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP)
The Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) was launched by NITI AYOG with the motive of providing an ecosystem for upcoming young women entrepreneurs across the country. NITI AYOG has partnered with SIDBI to promote and implement this initiative. Apart from providing services such as free credit, mentorship, funding support to women entrepreneurs, and corporate partnerships, WEP also provides entrepreneurs a platform to share their entrepreneurial journey, stories and experiences. Entrepreneurs who are at the ideation stage of their startups can register under the scheme to avail themselves of its benefits.
2) Bharatiya Mahila Bank
The Bharatiya Mahila Bank was founded with the motive of providing financial assistance to underprivileged women who want to start their own businesses. In 2017 it was merged with the SBI. In the manufacturing sector, the bank is offering loans as high as 20 lakhs to women entrepreneurs. The Bharatiya Mahila Bank has the authorization to issue a loan of up to 1 Crore without any collateral to be paid. Apart from the manufacturing sector, this bank has permission to give loans to Small scale enterprises and in the retail sector.
3) Dena Shakti Scheme
This loan scheme is a solution for all women entrepreneurs who want to make a business out in the manufacturing and food processing sectors. Under the scheme women, entrepreneurs have sanctioned loans up to 20 lakhs under the category of housing, retail, and education. The scheme also provides concessions of 0.25 percent on the interest rates.
4) Mudra Yojana Scheme
This is one of the top schemes launched by the government of India to enthusiastic women entrepreneurs who are looking to start a small business with minimum efforts such as beauty parlours, retail shops, or tuition centres. The scheme does not require any collaterals but it is divided into several schemes that target different stages of businesses. For businesses in the initial stage the maximum loan granted is INR 50,000. For well-established businesses, the scheme offers a loan amount which varies from INR 50,000 to 5 Lakhs. And, lastly for well-established businesses looking to expand their operations and geographical presence the scheme offers loans up to 10 lakhs.
5) Annapurna Scheme
This is one of the first schemes introduced by the government of India to uplift the condition of women entrepreneurship in India way back in the year 2000. At present, the scheme is offered by the Bharatiya Mahila Bank. Under this scheme, the government of India provides women entrepreneurs in the food, beverage, and catering industry, loans up to INR 50,000. The best part is that the Interest rate of this loan varies according to the market rates.
6) Shree Shakti loan for women entrepreneurs
This is a unique scheme run under SBI to support women's entrepreneurship by providing certain concessions. To avail this scheme women entrepreneur has to first enroll themselves in the Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP) — a training program initiated to develop entrepreneurial skills and skills that are required to run a business successfully. This scheme enables women to avail loans at a concession of 0.005 percent on loans exceeding 2 lakhs.
All these initiatives have one thing in common; they were designed keeping in mind the objective of strengthening the position of women entrepreneurs in this country.
Numerous schemes that are being proposed are directed towards uplifting the deplorable condition of women and encouraging women entrepreneurship in India. Effective implementation will shape the destiny of many women who strongly desire to step into the business world yet are incapacitated to pursue their dreams due to several factors. A new revolution has begun. This has led to a surge of powerful women voices ricocheting across the nation. This is the new age’ entrepreneurship. The message is loud and clear. She cannot be cowered. She cannot be gagged or muzzled. She will rise above all the venomous and vicious shackles. Come what may. Let’s salute her unwavering and unbreakable spirit.
‘There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish’- Michelle Obama
Contributed By- Payal Mazumdar, Content Writer at Mitti Ke Rang
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