From a tailor to a trainer. From being an employee to claiming ownership on business. From informal sector to the formal sector. From temporary placement to a secure livelihood.Kamrunnisa’s career track is a source of inspiration for hundreds of women who live in and around her village. Yet, just two years ago she was trapped in an unrewarding, decidedly uninspiring job in a local garment factory.
Kamrunnisa was introduced to the Industree Foundation by a friend and was offered a post in one of its producer companies. Thus she became a part of the Mission Collective Million (MIM), a campaign anchored by Industree in collaboration with a select group of like-minded organisations, foremost among them being the National Skill Development Corporation(NSDC), and life as she knew it changed forever. She got a promotion within three months. She was provided training opportunities galore, given lessons on management skills and was soon promoted to the Supervisor level.
MIM aims to empower the grass root level crafts men and women, by harnessing their entrepreneurial skills. Using the power of technology and the smart phone, it aspires to startup 30,000 small inclusive enterprises impacting one million artisans who would be linked to a single platform, in the next 10 years. It strives to provide an enabling ecosystem for its network members that would facilitate smooth access to skilling, capital, design and market aggregation.
“Today, three years into my association with this group, I work as a trainer, teaching other women how to be efficient supervisors. I have also been given training in computer applications and assist with administrative tasks, including data entry work,”says a beaming
Industree in partnership with UNDP, is building a self-owned ecosystem of women’s entrepreneurship in the Value Added Apparel, Handloom, Natural Fiber Sectors of Karnataka. This is the pilot for Mission Creative Million (MIM), designed to skill women micro entrepreneurs in collectivized production.
“Across the country, most artisans and small entrepreneurs work in isolation, having to depend on middlemen for access to raw material, capital or even getting their product into the market. What is also lacking is a steady flow of orders which renders artisans helpless, not knowing from where or when their next source of income will come in. And women, who comprise a majority of the workforce, are at the bottom of the value chain, sometimes earning less than half what their male counterparts do’,”says Neelam Chibber, Co-founder and Managing Trustee,Industree Foundation.
MIM’s strategy is to collectivise the workers on the basis of self ownership. It helps com munities to assess their traditional skill base, organise them into production units, develop products that appeal to modern markets, and generate demand to for sustainable businesses at the lowest possible costs. This approach has tripled the income of artisans in non-farm occupations by leveraging their artisanal skills and integrating them into the creative industries sector. The two partners, Industree Foundation and NSDC, are convinced that if the poor have access to sustained and consistent demand for the products and services and are provided with an enabling ecosystem, they can become a part of the formal economy, and ‘lift themselves out of poverty’.
The case of Kamrunnisa provides ample evidence to strengthen their stand. “My transformation from a tailor to a trainer has given me a lot of confidence in my abilities. Today, I can take care of my family on my own. My parents now encourage me to work and are assured that I am working in a healthy and safe space,”she chimes in.