Lucknow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi might have given the ‘vocal for local’ call now, but Ahmedabad-based Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) has been training thousands of women entrepreneurs in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to make them self-reliant much before Covid-19 pandemic struck the country.
When most of the micro entrepreneurs have suffered a jolt due to the impact of pandemic on economic activities, Rubina Begum of Mirzapur, who runs a general store, is banking on her entrepreneurship training to sail through testing times.
After the imposition of lockdown, her income reduced from Rs 15,000 to Rs 6,000 per month, making it tough for her to make both ends meet. Understanding the need of the hour, she roped in 20 other women and started stitching face masks. The women are making around 3,000-4,000 masks in a month.
“With limited resources, I was looking for a cost-effective way to start a new business. Procurement of raw material and sale of product were big hurdles. I contacted the block team of SVEP (Startup Village Entrepreneurship Programme) in Mirzapur which connected me with SRLM (State Rural Livelihood Mission). This helped me tide over the crisis,” Rubina says.
As many as 100 such entrepreneurs in Tappal, Duddhi and Chanve blocks of Uttar Pradesh are supplying 4,000 low-cost masks per day to frontline warriors.
These local heroes have been trained under SVEP which is supported by the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), ministry of rural development. Facilitated by local business counsellors, these women are making the best use of their skills and resources.
In Uttar Pradesh, SVEP is being implemented in partnership with SRLM.
From cloth masks, cover-all gowns for PPE kits to sanitizers and honey-based beverages to boost immunity, micro entrepreneurs at grass roots have donned the hats of frontline warriors in fight against Covid-19 in MP.
In UP too, EDII is planning to expand the programme beyond masks. In UP, the programme is spread across 11 blocks in Mirzapur, Aligarh, Sonbhadra, Varanasi, Kheri, Bahraich, Prayagraj, Sultanpur, Chandauli, Jalaun and Hamirpur.
EDII faculty and SVEP in charge Rajesh Gupta said, “These entrepreneurs are part of the training programme where they are given inputs on business opportunity identification and how to handle crisis. These inputs have probably helped them deal with the crisis.”
“These entrepreneurs are learning to spot opportunities locally, harness resources and produce for the market. Proper market tie-ups and counselling are generating encouraging results. Many enterprises that were created earlier are now entering the growth phase,” he said.