‘Saksham’ empowers women entrepreneurs in Indian villages

'Saksham' empowers women entrepreneurs in Indian villages

Foundation for Rural Entrepreneurship Development (FREND),will create 3.500 rural women entrepreneurs, in 16 districts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, under a program—‘Saksham’.

The programme aims to facilitate the women in setting up nanoenterprises like bangle shop, kirana store and fast food. The two states, one in the East of India and the other in North respectively, have been chosen by one of the oldest Trusts in India–Tata Trusts and technology leaders the US-based Cisco to develop women entrepreneurs, under Program Saksham.

FREND is an entity set up with the support of Tata Trusts with a vision to create income opportunity for 100,000 women by 2022. It will address two key levers for entrepreneurship, access to opportunity and access to basic entrepreneurial skills. “It is heartening to see that the number of women entrepreneurs is steadily increasing. However, there is still a huge gap that needs to be bridged to boost women entrepreneurship in the country,” said Raman Kalyanakrishnan, Head- Strategy at Tata Trusts.

This is an attempt to take the women closer to their objective of financial self-sufficiency. The Tata Trust statement claimed that the program was started in 23 villages of Bahraich district where 60 women were trained and nano retail. Training is underway simultaneously in five districts of Uttar Pradesh and 10 districts of Bihar.

Many of the potential women entrepreneurs have been imparted digital literacy skills through the Internet Saathi program in these districts.

“Digital skills not only Impact the economic and social development of the villages but also improves the quality of life and contributes to the nation’s economy,” said Harish Krishnan, Managing Director, Public Affairs and Strategic Engagements, Cisco India & SAARC.

The program identifies potential women entrepreneurs and offers training on the basics of setting up and operating small enterprises. It will guide women in identifying business ideas and provide help in setting up the business. The identified women undergo five days of training that includes on-ground market research and consolidation of business ideas through a need gap analysis and building core business skills. The women are then guided through to set-up their enterprises.

Initial capital support is also given to the identified entrepreneurs to meet the initial expenses.

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