In Conversation with Ms. Neelam Chhiber- Co-founder and Managing Trustee at Industree Foundation, and Co-founder, Director at Mother Earth

By auther pic. CSRBOX

November 3, 2020

Neelam Chhiber is Co-founder and Managing Trustee at Industree Foundation, and Co-founder, Director at Mother Earth. Neelam has for the past three decades been working on regenerative economies, with parts of India's 200 million strong artisanal work force, by providing design, technical, marketing and management solutions to bridge the urban-rural divide.


Over the years, Neelam and her team have built a holistic ecosystem that works with the most vulnerable rural and peri urban women in India to equip them with the necessary skills and tools to set up self-owned enterprises close to their homes, having already impacted 60,000 producers. Their work ensures that communities become part of mainstream value chains with customers such as IKEA and H&M Home, giving them greater control over their economic security and resources to significantly improve social gains such as social security, better health care, improved resilience to crisis and overall resilience.


Her work is now transforming into building a Platform for Inclusive Entrepreneurship for women, with very strong technology enablers, so that in the years to come, solutions being built out could use the power of networks and scale faster(PIE.foundation). Neelam is one of the founding members of the collaborative initiative, Catalyst 2030, which is a movement of NGOs, enterprises, intermediaries, and funders to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 (https://catalyst2030.net). She is also a founding member of #Creative Dignity, a movement initiated by India’s leading artisan skill-based development organisations and experts in the field designed to respond to the needs of the Indian artisan community, which is estimated to include 200 million people.


In the interview with Deepak Nanda from CSRBOX she shares her views on the following:


1. What are the Key impact areas, flagship initiatives and focus programs for Industree Foundation and why did you decide upon them?


2. The Foundation had been working extensively to make rural communities a part of the mainstream value chain. What are the various models adopted for the same?


3. Can you elaborate on the Mission Creative Million which aims to strengthen the resources of a million producers in the next 10 years?


4. You’ve recently partnered with USAID for POWER (Producer Owned Women Enterprises) program. What is it about and how do you intend to use it to empower women-centric enterprises?


5. How are you leveraging industry partnerships to amplify your work and provide better avenues for the communities to sell their products?


6. Another interesting project that you have is the Bamboo Resource Center in Channapatna. How is the same helping the locals create sustainable earning models?


7. Lastly, with COVID19 having disrupted physical production for most industries, how are you solving this challenge for rural communities along with planning ahead for the future?




Impact-Talk is a series of views and interviews of CSR heads, impact leaders and change-makers, addressing development challenges in India. If you have an impact-maker in your network, please suggest/share details at shilpi@csrbox




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