The Himalayan state of Sikkim, situated in north-eastern India, has been one of the fastest-growing economies of India since 2000. Start-ups are highly encouraged by the Government policies in Sikkim. So, anyone planning a start-up business in the state has many advantages to start with.
Entrepreneurial motivation is the key to success for transferring entrepreneurial initiatives into successful ventures. What are the challenges and success stories that have emerged from this state?
Here’s presenting some triumphant women entrepreneurs from Sikkim.
> Sonam Choden Bhutia, Founder, Taste Bud Sikkim
Founder of the ‘Taste Bud Sikkim: Homemade Chocolates, Sonam Choden Bhutia has first joined a chocolate-making training program under the banner of North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd (NEDFi) and then became interested. She started making chocolates within the confines of her home. Today, she has a team of women from her locality who assist her in steering the venture successfully. Currently, she also runs a boutique ‘Noral’ at Metro Point, Gangtok where she has been selling her homemade chocolates. Her product range successfully covers chocolates of 26 flavours which is popular in the state of Sikkim.
Her products have been sold in different events and places viz, Pang Labsol 2014, TNA fundraising for golden jubilee fun fete 2014, Women of India in DilliHaat, New Delhi, Winter Carnival Sikkim, 4th International Trade Fair in Nepal, 20th Anniversary of NEDFi Craft Carnival.
> Priya Dahal, Founder, Beautiful Earth
Priya Dahal is the founder of ‘Beautiful Earth’, which was launched in April 2016. Beautiful Earth involves rural women from different parts of Sikkim in soap-making, with the special technique of using natural ingredients. Having been trained in soap-making in Delhi, she returned to Sikkim and convinced other women to join her team. The main motive behind the project is to empower women through economic upliftment, so that they can become self-reliant.
Beautiful Earth is located at Poklok Denchung GPU. Currently, her natural handmade soaps are selling in many markets in Sikkim. Beautiful Earth aims at highlighting the rural potential in the global market too. She has been selling online and has also been participating in various state level events and exhibitions too. Apart from soap-making, the team also indulges in bamboo craft.
> Devika Gurung, Founder, ‘Fidgety Fingers’
Devika Gurung is a founder of ‘Fidgety Fingers’ which was launched in September Fidgety Fingers is a social entrepreneurship project aiming to help deprived women (mainly school drop outs, young mothers, and victims of physical and social abuse) and to help them become socially and financially empowered. Besides, she has been training many women of her locality to knit, engage in crafts and crochet too.
She has also been involved in various programmes – to train and speak on self-reliant programmes, to enhance women empowerment. Currently, she is also associated with various projects under the Government of Sikkim. She has been successful in creating a market for her handmade products virtually too, as she is selling her handmade products online which is popular. She plans to open up production units in different parts Sikkim and train and employ more women in the project.
> Reena Rai, Founder, Studio MAATO
It was in 2007, that Reena Rai, the owner and founder of ‘Studio MAATO’ started her journey into the world of pottery. She successfully set up Studio MAATO at her residence in Sorok-Kitam about 6 Kms from Namchi. Currently, her team creates a variety of pottery and she also plans to set up another studio at Pakyong, East Sikkim and also wants to hold pottery workshops for children and adults – to help them understand and promote the art of pottery. Through her works, she looks at empowering women and adults to make them self-reliant. She has also participated in various state level and national exhibitions and events.
> Smita Rai, Founder, Namchi Designer Candles
Smita Rai is the founder of ‘Namchi Designer Candles’ which is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of NEDFi. Initially, Smita Rai underwent a training programme on candle-making under the banner of NEDFi at Namchi and after the completion of the training programme, she set up her unit. The main motive of the project is to empower women. She has also been participating in various national and international exhibitions and events.
The unique Namchi Designer Candles are perfumed and of different colours. They have a wide variety – long stick candles, spiral long stick candles, small and big square chips candles, floating candles, wedding candles, Christmas candles, heart candles, lanterns and much more. Currently, her company is also engaged in making customized candles for corporate houses. Additionally, she also runs a resto-bar at Namchi named ‘Flavours Restaurant and Mercury Bar’.