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Bringing Financial Freedom To Women Entrepreneurs In Rural India

At, we want to create and empower the “new” Indian woman: one who is free of limitations, and believes she is capable of being a caregiver as well as developing herself professionally.

One of the best ways to do this remains encouraging woman entrepreneurship, because it not only creates self-dependent women, but also creates jobs for other women alike.

Eshwari Green Land SHG

This is why we are excited about Milaap’s Independence Day campaign, which is focused on entrepreneurship, and in which several rural women are involved.

Starting this week, they are kicking off the “Adopt an Entrepreneur” campaign, in which you can select an artisan and raise funds for her.

They believe strongly that one of the ways in which we can change India for the better is through entrepreneurship, since one rural entrepreneur can not only take her family but also her community out of poverty, and we couldn’t agree more.

Milaap believes in giving a hand-up, not a handout, so the funds are disbursed as loans, which means 100% of your contributions come back to you.

The loans will go towards enabling them to set up or expand small businesses, and the loan amounts required are Rs 35,000 (US$625) per entrepreneur. By lending to them, not only are you taking care of their livelihood, you’re enabling them to provide employment to many more!

The goal is to have at least 30 entrepreneurs fully funded by August 15th! How will this work?

  1. Click here and choose an entrepreneur you wish to ‘adopt’
  2. Fill in the form that follows with your details.
  3. They will set up your fundraiser page and send you the link.
  4. Rally your friends, family and networks to lend to your cause!
  5. Change an entrepreneur’s life forever!

Head over to Milaap’s campaign page and adopt an entrepreneur today!

And the reward, you may ask? In three months’ time, you get to meet the entrepreneur face to face and spend a day (or more) with them in a trip sponsored by Milaap.

Are you up for the challenge? We certainly hope so! Give a woman entrepreneur the wings to fly with Milaap!

Milaap is a social enterprise that enables people around the world to give a loan to the working poor in India. Founded by a team of young social entrepreneurs from IIT,IIM, National University of Singapore in June 2010, it has impacted over 7000 lives across 8 states in India.

Milaap’s loans are aimed towards providing people with access to basic essentials like clean drinking water, sanitation, renewable energy, vocational training and enterprise development.

• 100% of your money goes to the end borrower
• You will know exactly who your money goes to and get regular repayment updates

To learn more about Milaap and how it works, read our FAQs.

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.


Image sources, and The Elders