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FWWB: Friends of Women Entrepreneurial Efforts in Local Environments

By auther pic. Shilpa Tiwari

February 16, 2021

FWWB: Friends of Women Entrepreneurial Efforts in Local Environments

FWWB

When the woman of the household feels empowered, her children grow up with a basic sense of dignity, her family is proud of her, her community is connected to her and looks out for her achievements. This and much more is in store for women who are related to Friends of Women World Banking [FWWB] in India that provides basic support so as to contribute to the development of such women. Importantly, these are no ordinary women, they are women entrepreneurs who are primarily in need of funds for their families and also certain means of self-independence and sustainability. 

 

FWWB makes available certain collaterals in the journey of empowering these small-scale women entrepreneurs that simply unlocks their hidden potential. A combination of Master Trainers and Technical Experts is made available to the women groups. This team proactively works on providing the required support to make the enterprises sustainable in the local environment. The whole team effort focuses on achieving financial inclusion for the women members in the community and empowering them towards the success of their micro-business activities at larger scale.

 

Gracemi K Shimray, age 33, is a resident of Ukhrul in the state of Manipur. She reached out to the FWWB support and its skill development trainers in order to be independent and self-sufficient. Gracemi engaged herself in a professional training in baking from FWWB. She took six months in setting her bakery business in motion. During this phase, she spent a lot of time to research and learnt about the bakery business nuances like basic requirements, supply of raw materials, competitors’ products, market demand, various baking options, product range and pricing. With a thorough base, she made herself strong enough to understand the demand, supply, value addition to the product range and business establishment - along with the way forward towards greater profits. 

Gracemi is a happy owner of multiple businesses

 

At onset, Gracemi had also taken a financial assistance of Rs. 1 lac from FWWB and is using it in developing a baking infrastructure to support the expanding business. With a thriving bakery business, Gracemi is gradually paying back the loan amount and saving Rs. 250 every day in the form of Maroop chit fund, with an additional saving of Rs. 1,000 per month. The transition from a small-scale shop to a full-fledged baking enterprise has also given her an insight into customer satisfaction and sustaining the business with improved profits. As compared to her earlier monthly income of Rs. 30,000 per month, Gracemi now earns Rs. 1 lac from her bakery, out of which Rs. 40,000 is a clear profit during peak season.

 

Multiple businesses flourish, just like Gracemi’s bakery, in conjunction with FWWB. The organisation brings in education that is business-specific with entrepreneurial orientation. The women are trained to acquire a skill that brings in strategic entrepreneurship and innovation. An important part of the provision includes training the workforce on financial literacy and entrepreneurial finance. Building in entrepreneurial parameters towards sustainability of the enterprise, marks vital support to these women entrepreneurs. Capacity-building support for livelihood enhancement remains in focus throughout the interaction with the workforce. 

 

The Food Processing Support Program of FWWB brought in a ray of delight to the 38-year-old L.C.Won Horam, who is proactively taking forward her innovations in food processing. Growing herself with the entrepreneurial journey, Horam has turned to an expert in financial planning and the quality helps in saving for her children’s future. FWWB has fostered her ability of having enhanced her communication and time management skills, giving her business, an edge over others. She is also building the business by showing mutual trust, respect and sense of community to the buyers. Her biggest asset in the business is the sense to share her knowledge and empower more women towards the entrepreneurial journey. 

Horam sells pickles and other home-made products at her store

 

Combining the store and the food processing enterprise, Horam is able to earn a considerable amount of Rs 1, 60, 000 a month, with a profit ranging anywhere from Rs 30, 000 to Rs 40, 000. The pickles and other home-made products are sold with ease, specially to a large base of customers in Delhi where she supplies approximately 200 pickle orders per month. The growth of the business helps Horam to support the family without a hassle and in repaying the loan of Rs. 1 lac that she has received from FWWB.

 

Yet another victorious journey comes from the alleys of Imphal. “What I learnt in childhood came to rescue when I needed it the most. The trainings have helped immensely and have made me a better craftsperson. I strive to pass this craft to the coming generation,” says the 51-year-old Thokcham Bala from Imphal village. Bala undertook kauna weaving as her diminishing eyesight due to age did not support the use of finer threads and intricate weaving patterns of Phanek. Also, Kauna weaving had higher chances of revenue generation in comparison to Phanek weaving. Kauna is a perennial grass which is harvested thrice a year and is the core aspect of Kauna weaving. This wild water reed needs to be processed, smoked and preserved for high durability.

 

Bala confidently shares that the association, support and trainings from FWWB have given a new meaning to her life, both in the business and standard of living. It is an achievement for her to calculate the financial market risks and manage the business accounting herself - without any formal higher education to back her up. With the kauna trend catching up at national and international lifestyle trends, Bala already has achieved a lot in terms of entrepreneurship and economic independence. In the current scenario, Bala is able to support the household and her son’s education with an average income of Rs. 20, 000 per month. 

Bala has earned economic independence through her unique basket-selling

 

The economic stability through her business has also knitted Bala’s family closer to each other. She has gained freedom from subordination in the domestic sphere, has a chance to apply her creativity and earn additional income with flexible working hours. Bala renders her success to the unconditional support from her husband. To support the family, she has also saved a considerable amount of money through bank systems and chit-fund ‘Marup’ culture in Manipur.

 

 

The special women-centric projects in Manipur have so far empowered the women in successfully leading their entrepreneurial ideas in the sectors like animal husbandry, traditional art, food processing and many more. The beneficiaries of the project in the region are in the age group of 30 to 50, marking that the entrepreneurial spirit has no age bar. The emerging women entrepreneurs in the remote regions of Manipur have are successfully riding towards self-independence by kauna weaving, baking confectioneries, ethical poultry rearing and agricultural cultivations like mushrooms. They have also largely benefitted with enhanced standard of living, improved financial support to the family, better community engagement and considerable personal growth. The overall outcome of the project in Manipur has resulted in encouraging more participation from women in enterprise building and better profit from entrepreneurial activities.

 

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Impact-Story is a series on development and CSR interventions leading to some impacts on the ground. If you have a project, innovation or intervention that has changed the lives of a few people or a community, please share a brief note at shilpi@csrbox.org. Our Team will get back to you after validating the information for a detailed coverage.

Also Read: Manjari Foundation: Sowing Seeds of Strength to Empower Rural Women

Author

Shilpa Tiwari is a New Delhi based Content Specialist with three decades of experience. She has worked extensively on a variety of researches and curricula across K12, Higher Education, Corporate and Social Development sectors. A Master’s degree in English Literature and a degree in French from Delhi University, alongwith International Business Programme from IIFT, most certainly provides Shilpa an added expertise to work as a Consultant on various research and consulting projects with Corporates, Educational Institutions, Publications, CSR Foundations and NGOs.

 

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