Today women entrepreneurs contribute for up to a third of all businesses operating in the formal economy worldwide. Women across the world with strong entrepreneurial ambitions are setting up a women – centric model business. This provides income opportunities especially for women from marginalized communities. Yet, access to finance and networks are a major hindrance to their growth. And in developing countries, generally, the societal attitudes and norms inhibit women from starting up a new business, and where they are confined to their own lives and their families.
Keeping up the concept of the gender and equality, the city Technical Support Unit (TSU) TNUSSP has come out with a systematic plan of enterprise development to encourage the interests of women personally as well as economically to become a potential contributor in terms of income to their families.
The community women at Vivekanandhapuram have potentially come forward to take up a business on stitching cloth bags with screen printing which could possibly cater to the high demand for cloth bags since the ban of one-use plastics all around in Tamil Nadu has been imposed. The City TSU initially supported around 15 women in the community with a basic tailoring course, with support from Equitas Development Initiative Trust (EDITS).
This initiated their interests towards taking up tailoring as a skill to earn them income. Later, this led to forming a women’s group of 8 members to initiate a tailoring unit within their community to start up small scale business. The Town Panchayath equally contributed and supported the process by providing a space to set a community resource centre and a unit as well within the community, rightly located in the centre of the area (Vivekanadapuram). The women and the city TSU joining hands with the town Panchayath are ambitiously looking forward to a successful enterprise to be set up and will be up and running in a couple of weeks with a formal inauguration ceremony.
Similarly the women at Balavinayaganagar, Narasimanaickenpalayam being a small group consisting of 6 Members. They too have come forward to learn the skill of making soaps at the household level. This is supported by the city TSU and the Town Panchayath in order to encourage the women’s interests and efforts towards supporting their livelihoods. With help from Last Forest Enterprises Pvt. Ltd – a training on soap making took place.
The women here too, like most women from marginalized communities are caught up with their family chores. As in most cases – an semi-illiterate educational qualification, coupled with poor conveyance facilities for mobility to the main city or town (Narasimanaykenpalayam), from their residence cuts down working opportunities. With this in mind, the City TSU is continuously supporting to provide hands-on training to women in the community itself, by setting up a small community resource center through renting a house – that will be their work space.
They have also started with their trial and error methods of making soaps and ambitiously looking forward to branding it as “Vannam soaps”. Post this, they would require another round of training which is due to take place within a couple of weeks. The women in the community are looking forward to producing soaps with a motive of not only earning money but also to promote the habit of clean & healthy hands by regular hand washing practices and making sure that there is soap available for every household at a nominal cost which is affordable.
At Vivekanadapuram, Periyanaickenpalayam & Bavinayaganagar in Narasimanaickenplayam