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5 Rural Women Entrepreneurs In India

Women entrepreneurs are constantly rewriting the economy with their skill and confidence, and providing a new lease of life to the rural population with their innovative ventures.

Here is a look at five women entrepreneurs on India who have made invaluable contributions to rural development.

  • Ela Bhatt

Ela BhattThe Founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Bhatt is a renowned leader in the fields of microfinance and labour. She founded SEWA in 1972 along with the late Arvind Buch who was then the president of the Textile Labour Association (TLA).

Thanks to an initiative by SEWA, villages in Bihar have become a base for rural women to earn their living by renting solar bulbs to other families. These women buy solar bulbs at subsidized rates with the help of loans from SEWA and then not only use some in their own homes but also rent them out to other families, thereby earning their living.

Ela Bhatt has been awarded the Padmashri, the Padmabhushan as well as the Ramon Magsaysay Award.

  • Thinlas Chorol

Thinlas ChorolShe is the only Ladakhi woman to be trained to work in the field of mountaineering.

Having grown up in the mountains, Chorol went on trekking expeditions as a guide with “Around Ladakh with Students” (ALS), the travel agency owned by SECMOL, the Institute where she studied.

She founded the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company in 2009 to bring more women into the field of travel and mountaineering, and also to promote ecotourism in Ladakh.

  • Annie George

She is the founder of BEDROC, an organization that “helps build disaster-resilient, sustainable coastal communities.” Some of the fields that BEDROC works in are disaster management, Participatory Water Resource Management, and Coastal Vulnerability Mapping.

One of the main objectives of BEDROC is to “Leverage experiences of the 2004 Asian tsunami to create community-based, community-owned mechanisms for enhanced disaster response, mitigation and preparedness for coastal communities.”

  • Chetna Gala Sinha

Chetna Gala SinhaSinha is the founder of  Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank (Mann Deshi Bank), a regulated cooperative bank run by women for women.

Udyogini Business School was founded in 2007 by the bank in collaboration with HSBC’s Indian arm.

There are thousands of girls who drop out of school in Maharashtra every year, and Mann Deshi Udyogini aims at providing vocational training and financial training to these young women to enable them to become entrepreneurs.

The bank also offers loans to these women to start businesses after graduating.

  • Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad

Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat PapadAlso known as Lijjat, this is a women’s cooperative which manufactures a number of consumer goods. Lijjat was founded by seven Gujarati housewives from Mumbai in order to make a living with the skill they had – cooking.

“The seven women were Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat, Parvatiben Ramdas Thodani, Ujamben Narandas Kundalia, Banuben. N. Tanna, Laguben Amritlar Gokani, Jayaben V. Vithalani, and one more lady whose name is not known.” (Source).

Today there are several members who work in a number of branches. Lijjat’s main motive is to generate self-employment for women and it provides employment to more than 40000 women.


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