Best Projects 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category click HERE
KA'ARIN ( means purity and to achieve )
Explain your project in details:
My social entrepreneurship idea is to launch a sustainable Leather Product Brand that aims to employ and help victims of different forms of violence, particularly female acid attack survivors, the differently abled, jail inmates and individuals from low-income communities, by providing skill training and employment opportunities that empower them to be financially independent. In June 2015, I picked up a Toiletry Bag from my father's Leather Export House that he was making for a European brand. At boarding school everyone kept asking where they could buy it and I told them it was not available in India. Thus, the seed for an entrepreneurial idea was sown. This year I visited the factory to pick up a laptop sleeve and spent a few hours there designing and producing one for myself. During production period I interacted with the labour and realised that most of them were school dropouts who, despite their lack of formal education, were able to earn a living simply because they were skilled. Merging this observation with my business idea has inspired the idea for my venture, which I plan to launch this summer. Already launched pilot training programme employing four women and two men from nearby slum. Expanded resource base to include underprivileged from different arenas - Acid attack NGO confirming 5 survivors 2 of whom have no sight from one eye , Deaf Society providing 7 workers , Tihar Prison confirmed 10 inmates. After researching more I realised that while many foreign brands sell pure leather accessories in India, barely one or two Indian brands creating high-end products catered to the domestic market. Further, these brands have no definitive sustainability objective. Thus my product, with its unique sustainability focus will be able to carve out a niche in the Indian market
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
I believe that social entrepreneurship is the best path to making a difference in the community, and working towards a more sustainable world. Through its sustainable approach and skill-building component, my idea would support the following sustainable development goals (SDGs): 1. No Poverty – By providing skill-training and employment opportunities to victims of violence and individuals from low-income backgrounds, who may not be able to obtain conventional jobs otherwise 2. Zero Hunger - By enabling more individuals, especially women, to earn livelihoods and support their households 3. Good Health and Well-Being – By following ethical work practices for labour, and environmentally-friendly practices for sourcing, treating, and producing the leather products 4. Gender Equality – By providing education, skill-building, and work opportunities for women from socially marginalised groups 5. Employment opportunity and Economic Growth – By generating jobs and products in line with the Indian government’s “Make in India” policy 6. Reduced Inequalities – By providing opportunities to those who have been victims of immediate and structural violence and injustice. In terms of evaluation, the impact and success of the initiative will be measured by assessing how many individuals were positively influenced, how many jobs were created, financial reports regarding the expenditure of resources, and feedback from the community.
Sustainability and future plans
In line with Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Make in India’ policy, the brand would make in India, and sell in India and later also abroad. I conducted an online survey to ascertain if products with a sustainable objective would sell more and if people would be willing to pay more for such products. The response was an overwhelming yes at 95%. The business model will be Online sale through own website and partner portals like Flipkart and Amazon that already have considerable traffic. Source of Finance will initially be Loan from Family (interest free) & Bank. The Company is being registered as an 80C Company that will get some government funding and subsidies. I believe there will also be a high demand for the products, and that the revenue earned will enable this to be a self-sustaining initiative . Sustainability would be core value of the business plan and be present at every level of the Company's process, from acquiring raw materials to selling the finished product. Specific examples within the process include: • Employing labour only from slums, acid attack victims, and jail inmates to create greater economic stability and job opportunities for these individuals • Using Chrome-free leather, which is better for the environment • Using Vegetable Tanned Leather again better for the environment • Debunking the myth of Faux Leather being more environmentally friendly than actual leather • Adhering to all worker’s rights and social compliance policies My grandmother always says, “Educate a boy you educate a human. Educate a girl you educate a generation.” I therefore believe that by empowering a woman you empower a family and the next generation. With time and more skills, I hope to empower the female employees to carve out a niche for themselves, and work towards achieving the maximum number of Sustainable Development Goals.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
I am a boarding student of standard 11 at The Doon School and am aged 16+. My Father is an Exporter of Leather Bags and from his Firm I got the business exposure and idea to launch a brand and make world class products available in India and abroad. Since he produces merchandise for brands across Europe I see no reason why we should not have our own brand ! Additionally being a part of the Social Service Team at School for the last 4 years I always wanted to do something to empower the under privileged . The positive response I got from across various areas has only emboldened me to involve more and more such people and I am extremely enthusiastic and geared to kick start the project.