Scaling up working models of women’s collective enterprises

3ie’s Swashakt program is funding nine projects to enhance viability, scalability and returns of collective enterprises and generate evidence to promote women’s economic empowerment. The three projects (below) span sectors including agro-processing, crafts and handloom sectors. Other Swashakt projects are pilot testing innovative collective enterprise models and testing new interventions with existing collectives.

Swashakt is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and LEAD at Krea University is our grant management partner.

Scaling up working models of women’s collective enterprises

Transforming women-run handloom enterprises in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

Implementing partner: Chitrika
Other partners: Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh
Sector: Non-farm
State: Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

The Godavari Women Weavers’ Service Producer Company (GWWSPC) is a collective of handloom weavers and artisans in East Godavari district. Under Swashakt, the Chitrika project is scaling up the GWWSPC model from 600 to 1,700 women and supporting collectives of women weavers and artisans to become decision-makers. The project will offer customized micro-MBA training and credentials so that the artists can transform from wage-earners to entrepreneur-leaders.

The training will enhance technology, marketing and quality assurance knowhow. The project will also set up an integrated handloom enterprise hub, which will support the weaver collectives to reduce drudgery; add value; use environment-friendly technology; introduce labels and innovation; leverage multi-pronged integrated marketing strategies.

Empowering women’s craft collectives in Rajasthan

Implementing partners: Urmul Rural Health Research & Development Trust
Sector: Non-farm
State: Rajasthan
Living in remote villages in the desert, women artisans work in marginalized spaces and face systemic discrimination. This project will support the implementation and evaluation of Urmul Trust’s Crafts Incubation Hub. The hub shall support and promote six craft collectives, including SHGs, federations or social enterprises—reaching out to 4,000 women artisans in five districts. The project seeks to empower women artisans to make informed decisions about their craft and trade, have social and financial autonomy and agency, and to expand their businesses through resilient and sustainable crafts collectives. The hub will incubate, consolidate and scale collective craft enterprises through inclusive, multi-disciplinary and cross-sectional support services in the Alwar, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Sriganganagar districts of Rajasthan. Services will include training and support to enhance capabilities, improve technology, knowledge and design and improve access to finance and markets.

Scaling up RUDI, a SEWA women’s collective enterprise model from Gujarat through NRLM SHGs

Implementing partners: IMAGO Global Grassroots, IDInsight (Evaluation)
Other partners: State rural livelihood missions (SRLMs), SEWA
Sector: Agro-processing and retail
State: Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh

This project is supporting the scaling up of RUDI, an innovative agro-processing and rural distribution social enterprise model, through self-help groups (SHGs) promoted by state rural livelihood missions. RUDI, a business model that integrates the whole value chain, has been successfully implemented in Gujarat by the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and IMAGO. The RUDI model has been successfully implemented in Gujarat and is being adapted to the two new states as part of the Swashakt project. The model involves bulk purchases from small and marginal farmers, investment in processing centers, quality-control processes and women selling in villages.