Women entrepreneurs extending a helping hand – to survive the COVID-19 lockdown challenges

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World Economic Forum May 5, 2020

Rural India has been badly impacted by The COVID-19 lockdown. It has struck earning power and it looks like it will disrupt the food security of India’s rural population. To add more salt to the wound, the aid promised by the government has yet to reach many rural families. Most importantly, for most women income had dried up.  So, some seriously thought about the possibility of making masks as a means of livelihood.

Take the case of Roopali Pavnikar a female entrepreneur, whose T-shirt making business had been suspended; so, she offered her machines to cut large reels of cloth. Another woman entrepreneur – Ranjana Kulshetty, whose business revolves around making jute bags, has offered 10 sewing machines which can be used for making masks. The news of these women spread, and it set an example. Soon, others stepped forward – offering to procure, produce, distribute, train, and monitor quality. This is exemplary. In these difficult times, when most were desperately trying to make ends meet, these women entrepreneurs, across geographies, offered to help out, and even started outsourcing work and hiring employees. It produced quick results – for in a few weeks, 286 women had produced over 300,000 high quality masks.

Such stories of courage in the current stressful times point to the fact that the attention of both government and private institutions should be focused to deal with the current crisis. This will also strengthen women’s entrepreneurship and their networks too, which will be significant factor.

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