In the state of Arunachal Pradesh, it is seen that women exercise more freedom in comparison to some other parts of India. Here, women have always ventured into different businesses, evidently displaying their expertise. With the advent of urbanization, women of the state have realized the importance of economic independence and have started to enter the competitive world of business. Backed by the rich traditional and cultural heritage, women entrepreneurs of the state have turned traditional skills into their source of income.
As the doors opened up to the digital world, it gave a boost to women entrepreneurship in the state (despite the pandemic). With wider choices available now, women entrepreneurs have started experimenting in non-traditional areas too and have gone ahead to set up their own start-ups.
Here are some prominent women entrepreneurs, who made the news.
> Tage Rita Takhe, First Organic Wine Brewer – Naara Aaba
Presenting Arunachal Pradesh’s woman entrepreneur making India’s first organic kiwi wine – Naara Aaba. Tage Rita Takhe is an agricultural engineer who evolved into brewing wine. After working for 17 years in Arunachal Pradesh’s Rural Works Department as an engineer, she decided to try her hands at what she had learned during her college days – making wine.
In 2017, she turned entrepreneur with the launch of India’s first organic kiwi wine produced in her winery at village Hong in the valley of Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh. The product’s brand name is ‘Naara Aaba’, and this variety of kiwi wine is one of India’s best alcoholic beverages made from organic fruit, while retaining all its vitamins and minerals.
Lambu-Subu Food, the company which owns the Naara Aaba brand, started with kiwi but now also makes plum, pear, peach and wild apple wines. She and her husband discussed the idea and finally inaugurated the winery on January 1, 2016.
> Techi Anna, Founder, Poma Bamboo Processing Industry
Having got married at an early age, Techi Anna moved into Poma village in Sangdupota Tehsil of Papum Pare district in Arunachal Pradesh. She started by selling clothes for a living and then to scale up her income, she also began selling imitation jewellery. It was a struggle, but her life changed after she participated in the Panchayat elections in 2009 and won. Her love for bamboo, turned her attention to varieties of bamboo, which are found in the state. In fact, Arunachal Pradesh is home to 57 bamboo species, according to the State Forest Research Institute.
Techi began to make some basic products that are always in demand – bamboo hats, bamboo baskets, storage boxes and bins. Today, her venture, Poma Bamboo Processing Industry employs full-time artisans, besides working with small entrepreneurs who operate from homes to make bamboo handicrafts, furniture and jewellery. Her product range includes sofa sets, chandeliers, cutlery, artefacts, home décor items, lamps, baskets, storage containers, wall pieces and other items.
> Kesang Lhamu Khrimey, Chair, Arunachal Pradesh Art and CultureEcotourism Society & Nyabom Bagra Lomi – Unitribe Multipurpose Cooperative
Two women from Arunachal Pradesh – Kesang Lhamu Khrimey and Nyabom Bagra Lomi were conferred the ‘Inspiring Woman Award’ by the All India Achievers’ Conference (AIAC) for their work in the social sector which was attended among the several women from across the country.
Lomi is the founder and director of Unitribe Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd, a non-governmental organisation based in Aalo, West Siang district.
Khrimey currently serves as the chair of the Arunachal Pradesh Art and Culture Ecotourism Society. She is also a member of the West Kameng District Consumer Forum and the Juvenile Justice Board. In collaboration with the Tulpen Village Council of Rupa village, she also runs an eco-tourism camp at Bonpu village’s Eaglenest Wild Life Sanctuary. Her organization has been repairing the road leading to the sanctuary and she has been personally involved in the documentation of the district’s art and culture too.
> Komna Moidam, Founder Chairperson at H.O.P.E. FOUNDATION & Founder-M/S Komna Moidan Enterprise
Social entrepreneur Komna Moidam works for the upliftment of women; and she extends help to anyone who needs it – like housewives, student drop-outs, and women belonging to the weaker sections; and she also provides a platform by giving an opportunity for a sustainable livelihood. Through her enterprise – M/S Komna Moidan Enterprise, Komna works with the local tribal products (which are produced with the raw materials available in the nearby jungles and crafted using rich cultural skills like bead-making, etc). She is focused on the economic growth of women by helping them harness existing traditional skills.
The artisans at her enterprise make ethnic fusion beaded jewellery, which is very exotic to customers; and they are also in line to launch a variety of new product lines including a range of pickles, designer costumes for young girls, and fabric products. Komna also runs the H.O.P.E.
Foundation, an NGO that works towards social growth by conducting skill training for housewives, school dropouts, and the lesser-educated in and around Deomali, Tirap. She has also won the 1st North East Unsung Heroes Award in 2019, while the H.O.P.E. Foundation was awarded the State Silver Award 2019 (34th Statehood Day, Arunachal Pradesh) in the NGO category.
> Siyang Eko, Commercial Mushroom Cultivator &i Aitok iDoley, Founder,
Community Skill Development & Training Centre
Two women entrepreneurs from Arunachal Pradesh – Siyang Eko and Aitoki Doley – of East Siang district were awarded by ‘Anuprerona’, an Assam based NGO on International Women’s Day in Guwahati. Siayng Eko, a resident of Pasighat town, achieved success in commercial mushroom cultivation. She has developed a mushroom garden at Pasighat, which produces oyster mushrooms that are supplied to the local markets.
Aitoki Doley of Oyan village bordering to Assam is running a community skill development & training centre at her residence. The training centre has been recognized by the Silk Mark Organization of India sponsored by Central Silk Board (CSB) run under Ministry of Textiles, Government of India for production of quality silk cloths. The training centre since its inception in July 2014, has been conducting skill development training for creating self-employment avenues in rural areas. As such, it is implementing central-sponsored projects for economic enhancement of the rural entrepreneurs.
> Yade Dujom, Owner, Arunachal Pickle House
After overcoming many obstacles in her life, Yade Dujom, a woman entrepreneur is now helping a group of housewives to become self-reliant in Arunachal Pradesh.
Yade Dujom is very enterprising: the launch of her humble pickle enterprise in Arunachal Pradesh’s capital Itanagar and she is determined to make it a success.
Known as “The Pickle Queen;” Yade managed to beat all odds by being always positive. In a state that has only few woman entrepreneurs, she is today the proud owner of the Arunachal Pickle House. The venture has helped her, as well as a group of housewives (disturbed by poverty), to be self-reliant.
She worked as a social worker, before starting her enterprise. She launched the Arunachal Pickle House on February 14, 2021. She has plans to upgrade her business, but due to the pandemic, is awaiting the support of investors.
What’s unique is that she is an expert in making both vegetarian and non-vegetarian pickles. The non-vegetarian varieties are made from fish, pork, chicken, beef and mithun (bovine species) meat and the vegetarian pickles are made from ginger, eggplant, capsicum, potato, raddish and jackfruit. Yade has proved her mettle in cooking too after having won the second runner-up title at a state-level culinary competition.