These women entrepreneurs from UP villages want to develop their small businesses by connecting
Entrepreneurship is more than the realization of an idea. It is also an act of faith – a belief in the idea and overcoming various challenges to find that calling.
In rural towns and villages, women are experiencing the power of the internet and e-commerce to bring their small businesses to bigger platforms. In August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government would develop an e-commerce platform for products made by women’s self-help groups (SHGs) in the villages.
Babi Kumari and Manju Devi
The Her & Now Entrepreneurship Support Program in Uttar Pradesh, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and in partnership with the Ministry for Skills Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) ), of the Indian government, is also empowering women entrepreneurs in different states.
On the occasion of World Entrepreneurship Day, His history presents two intrepid women entrepreneurs from Uttar Pradesh who walk with courage and resilience and hone their skills for a better economic future.
Manju Devi, Dhakoli village, Bulandshahr
The daughter of a construction worker, Manju Devi, dropped out of school after grade 12 due to her family’s dire financial situation. She passed a certified tailoring course and, after her marriage, moved to Delhi, where she worked as a tailor and taught other women.
Upon returning to her hometown, Manju Devi continued to train other women and taught sewing to over 150 women so that they could start their own businesses. This, in a village, where women hardly went out to work until recently.
With the support of her husband and son, Manju Devi decided to take her business to the next level. Now 40, she can’t wait to get going as she takes the next step to improving her skills and changing the course of her life.
“When I returned to my village, I organized several sets of tailoring and dressmaking lessons for women. However, with my husband’s unstable job, I could barely make ends meet, ”she says.
GIZ’s Her & Now Entrepreneurship Support Program in partnership with the Empower Foundation has been both a relief and a blessing.
“As I continue to sew clothes for women in my village, the program has given me the confidence to think differently by becoming an entrepreneur. I learned to imagine, create a business plan from scratch, manage my finances and understand what the customer wants. I can now look beyond my village, ”says Manju Devi.
The 40-day course could be a game-changer for Manju Devi. She received a loan of Rs 2 lakh and registered her business, Kumar Creations, on Flipkart and sells roast flap blankets, costumes for deities like Krishna and Mata Rani, and plans to add Salwar costumes, tops and palaces soon. It also aims to evolve by selling on Meesho and other e-commerce platforms.
Kumar Creations is truly a family unit, with her husband accompanying her to buy raw materials in cities like Delhi and drop off packages at Bulandshahr. Her son uploads product photos to e-commerce sites.
Her dream is to open a boutique in Bulandshahr now to sell her designs. The excitement in his village is also palpable. Women believe, “Agar Manju didi ko kaam milega, humhe bhi fayda hoga” (if Manju gets more work, it will also benefit us!)
Babi Kumari, Buddha Khera village, Saharanpur
The village of Buddha Khera in the Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh may seem unlikely for a woman to dream of having the largest bag factory in the region. Yet Babi Kumari has proven that a woman can dream big.
The 35-year-old woman has always wanted to be financially independent and also support her family. Her mother is a housewife and her father is a farmer. His physically disadvantaged brother runs a general store in the village.
After graduating from CCS University in Meerut, Babi completed a three-month diploma training course in retail under the guidance of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY). After working for a year in a private company in Haridwar and not seeing much career development, she returned to her village.
“I sometimes worked as a beautician, offering door-to-door beauty services. However, I was inclined to the sewing that I had learned from my mother, ”she says.
Soon she began to take orders to sew women’s clothing from the village itself. She also signed up for a course that would teach her how to sew bags, starting her micro-business, Fly Bags.
Babi Kumari sells handbags, purses and wallets, wedding kits, duffel bags, satchels, at prices between Rs 250 and Rs 1,000. She also takes custom orders as needed. and budgets.
“Joining GIZ’s Her & Now project has been a game changer. She said, adding, “It gave me step-by-step advice on how to run and grow the business, as well as advice on various aspects of running a business, from operations to delivery.”
She also received the first installment of a loan she requested, which will enable her to purchase a motorized machine for faster bag making. Babi now employs three other women and is considering group orders.
Its immediate goal is also to partner with social media and e-commerce platforms to make its products available across India.
“I want Fly Bags to be the largest manufacturer of quality bags in the region and to be one of the most sought after brands. I am exploring various options, such as working with various wholesalers and retailers in Saharanpur who can source the bags and regularly place large orders for him), and plan to add more products like shoulder backpacks etc. . Says Babi.