Women Entrepreneurs from Chhattisgarh

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Chhattisgarh has been valued as a state of industrial and agricultural business, and it is the only state in the country that produces tin concentrates. Men and women living in Chhattisgarh find agricultural business as a successful undertaking.

Besides that, other key drivers of growth in the state include tourism, real estate, outdoor advertising, and other sub-industrial activities – they collectively form a strong economic platform. Having celebrated the state’s Foundation Day on November 1, the state offers many opportunities for women, who want to start or restart their careers as business owners.

Here are some inpsiring women entrepreneurs from the state of Chhattisgarh, who bravely fought their way to success.

> Madhulika Ramteke, Founder, Maa Bamleshwari Bank

Madhulika Ramteke is an Indian social entrepreneur from Chhattisgarh, who founded a microfinance bank – Maa Bamleshwari Bank, run by women. Significantly, on the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2022, the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind honored Madhulika Ramteke with ‘Nari Shakti Puraskar’ – for her extraordinary work towards women empowerment.

Belonging to Rajnandgaon district in the state of Chhattisgarh, she grew up in an illiterate household. She became a social entrepreneur when she set up a self-help group for women in her village, which founded the Maa Bamleshwari Bank in 2001 – in order to support local projects through microfinance. She also works with female survivors of domestic abuse and teaches villagers skills such as how to grow yam and how to manage vermicompost. She believes that use of chemical fertilisers can lead to bad health and that compost created naturally by worms produces better tasting food. In 2018 she organised better sanitation in 64 villages.

In 2016, she was also honored with the state level award. It is noteworthy that women who have contributed outstanding work towards the empowerment of weak and marginalized women are honoured with Nari Shakti Puraskar every year.

> Raziya Sheikh, Founder, Bastar Foods & Social Entrepreneur

Razia Sheikh, founded Bastar Foods which is by and large, a food consultancy service. This is mainly for product development and to help micro-entrepreneurs set up their business and become self-reliant. Another distinguishing factor is that after discovering the health benefits of mahua flower, Razia started Bastar Foods, a business venture which engaged local tribal women to produce ladoos and other healthy snacks from Mahua flowers. Among many products that that have been manufactured, Mahua Ladoo is a total hit. Mahua Ladoo has been a part of the tribal culture for a very long time but when food technology prolonged its shelf life, the addition of flavor-enhancing spices and nuts, it was made commercial.

Consequently, she also established proper market linkages to sell the products. Currently Bastar Foods has 8 manufacturing units and provides gainful employment to tribal women.

> Tulika Pandey, agro-entrepreneur

Experiencing the need to promote use of agricultural machine, which can be affordable to the farmers, Tulika Pandey transformed herself to an agro-entrepreneur. Her quest finally ended in designing and providing modified and improvised modern agriculture machines and making it available to the farmers.

They are involved in farming across around 20 acres of land in a village in Durg district. Working on the idea of trading of improvised agriculture machinery, she had also worked in coordination with the scientists of Punjab Agriculture University to bring about innovation in existing machinery products. After working on post-harvest machines too, she started the process of setting up an agricultural machinery manufacturing unit with the support of Chhattisgarh State Industrial Development Corporation (CSIDC).

> Satrupa Anant, Founder, iGarage

With the help of iLEAD, Satrupa Anant, from Chhattisgarh, became a mechanic to support her family. Later, she opened a garage of her own and is now a successful woman entrepreneur.

Her story is very inspiring. A resident of Bhaandi village in Bilaspur district, she first decided to become a two-wheeler mechanic with the objective of supporting her family. Then she went on to become an entrepreneur and opened a garage. She successfully runs Satrupa’s iGarage and also provides training to youth from villages in the neighbourhood. Lucky to receive support from her family and well-wishers, she expanded her venture to new locations too.

> Taran Bai Kumar

The entrepreneurial journey of Taran Bai Kumar, residing at Seepat village of Bilaspur, a small town in Chhattisgarh, is an inspiring story highlighting the importance of family support in tough times. Due to lack of education and opportunities for labour work, Taran Bai Kumar and her husband were unemployed. In order to survive, the couple made mud pots and selling in the local village market, but the income was not sufficient. That’s when she decided to convert her artistry skill into a business opportunity and wanted to expand. Her husband supported her idea of restarting their ancestral family business. However, lack of capital was a hindrance for the couple.

While the couple were looking for avenues for a sustainable income, she came across a loan officer from Centrum Microcredit – a NBFC-MFI who offered collateral free loans. She availed of the loan and soon the monthly income of the family improved drastically. The beautifully handmade painted mud pots & matkas were not only loved by villagers, but by handicraft enthusiasts within the vicinity of the village. Further, with the increasing demand of the pots, they were able to purchase additional inventory and accept bulk orders. Supported by rounds of additional finance, she has also managed to expand her product range.

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