Enhancing income status of women through Social Enterprise
Explain your project in details:
Addressing to the modern day economic and social essentials, Village Level Service Centers (VLSCs) has been one of the model that not only stimulates the economic progress but also creates social value among different members of a community. VLSCs follow a two way supply chain model wherein, locally produced goods/ produce are aggregated at the producers door step and sold in the market, while on the other hand make goods/ services available to the community for which otherwise they had to travel long distances for procurement of the same. Poor access to organised markets and no/less control over cash availability of women are the two important reasons for inception of the VLSC model. The women entrepreneurs act as a link between economic empowerment and social equity, contributing to the sustainable economic development of the region. They are the catalysts behind the economic progress of the community enhancing their purchasing power and expanding to their needs. Since these women entrepreneurs are adding to the income of family and contributing in meeting the needs of community, VLSCs have also increased their decision making power within household, the community and also in market; increasing her confidence. The model also responds to the existing gender gaps within the society through the Gender Justice Module developed after experiences of violence against women in the field. Availability of special products such as low cost sanitary napkins, water purifying tablets, solar lanterns, menstrual cups and entitlement services such as information about government schemes, insurance facility etc are the USP of VLSCs which separates them from normal grocery shop. This has increased their income as well as their ability to command fair market price through the creation of a market platform in the form of a village level aggregator run by tribal women themselves.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
This intervention has shown multifaceted impact in promoting sustainable livelihood services for rural people. In addition to 50 VLSCs in 2013, another 30 VLSCs were added in Jharkhand in 2016, altogether there are 80 village level service centers catering to the needs of approximately 8000 families of their respective areas. Solar Products sold through VLSCs have now reached the sum of Rs. 1, 01,650 in Jharkhand increasing the average income of 28 entrepreneurs by Rs. 300 per month. The chain can be used to promote schemes of public interest, spread social innovations, bridge information barrier with respect to good agriculture practices, current market prices etc. Under Intel-Udyogini School of Entrepreneurship (I-USE) Udyogini has trained 110 women entrepreneurs.
Sustainability and future plans
Institutionalize VLSC with viable Business plan VLSCs through their retail/aggregation/special products services are catering to more than 8000 families. The concept has been internalize by the rural population as now they are getting door step market for their produce/ collection and getting their daily needs from VLSC. Udyogini being a facilitating agency has envisioned creating an institution (Cooperative or private limited company) which will act as a link in between rural population and outer market by using the same structure. Streamline upstream and downstream market for the VLSC who have reached progress and growth stage To strengthen the value chain model Udyogini has established multiple cadres of trained Vahinis (product based service providers). Vahinis can be considered as the most important link for the program sustainability as they act as drivers when the organization exits. Vahinis provides expert support, training and handholding to the producers who are linked with the agriculture or MFP value chain. As mentioned above, to Streamline upstream and downstream market for the VLSC and achieve the economies of scale for Entrepreneurs cooperative or private limited respective vahinis will be linked with the VLSC entrepreneur who would provide aggregation support to the entrepreneur. This will help the entrepreneur to reach to the desired scale and vahinis will be commissioned against the aggregated scale. Up gradation in terms of products and services In the due course of implementation and strategy formulation it has been seen that by catering only 100-125 households at a time individual VLSC may reach to a point where there will be stagnation in terms of income. Udyogini has decided to constantly add products and services in the array of VLSC entrepreneur. This has helped VLSCs to grow in terms of income and also enabled entrepreneurs to retain their clients.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
Udyogini has been working in microenterprise management and entrepreneurship training since its inception in 1992 impacting the lives of more than 150,000 women in 5 backward states i.e. Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand. The interventions are a combination of enterprise management training and other business development services (BDS) such as business counseling, market research and development, innovative and scalable enterprise promotion (through partnerships with local grassroots NGOs and existing informal entrepreneurs already creating value in rural areas), and creation of for-profit social enterprises. Many, especially disadvantaged groups include sex workers, as well as the differently-abled, who increased their sale turnover 6 times in one year after receiving enterprise training from Udyogini and changed their thinking from welfare recipients to drivers of enterprise. Our flagship, Grassroots Management Training (GMT) and its modules, has been scaled to many countries in Africa, Latin America and E. Europe.