About us

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Udyogini - means Woman Entrepreneur

Udyogini, the organization, is registered as a Society under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860. It is also registered under the Foreign Contribution Registration Act and received income tax exemption under 80G, 35AC and 12A of the Income Tax Act. It works with poor, mainly illiterate, women to improve their skills as producers and their knowledge of the markets they operate in, so as to ensure long-term returns.

Udyogini came into existence in 1992, entered the micro enterprise domain through the ‘Women’s Enterprise Management Training Outreach Program’ (WEMTOP), which was initiated and funded by the World Bank Institute. Through this support Udyogini developed the concept of and manual for Grassroots Management Training (GMT), which is now a core activity in Udyogini’s work in India and in many NGO and government programs around the world such as in Peru, other Andean and African countries and Romania. Ela Bhatt, the founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) is a founding member of Udyogini and was its first Chairperson. Since then Udyogini has evolved as a service provider and resource agency and the various phases of its journey are explained below.

Udyogini set up in 1992 as a World Bank initiative to co-ordinate and facilitate enterprise management training for grass root women’s groups under the Women’s Enterprise Management Training Outreach Program (WEMTOP). It aimed to strengthen the capacity of intermediary NGOs (in Bihar, Rajasthan and Odisha) to deliver management training to poor women micro entrepreneurs. The training program made their mark beyond India’s borders and became part of World Bank-supported micro enterprise programs in Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe by adapting curriculum and materials that were developed by Udyogini in India. Till date, Udyogini has trained more than 250,000 women from rural areas in India.

After the project ended and Partner NGOs were phased out, Udyogini took the lead in conducting training and market linkage services. It organized marketing events in Delhi. It opened a retail outlet `Jeevika’ in Delhi and ran it for two years. It became a resource agency for RashtriyaMahilaKosh (RMK), an apex organisation set up to provide bridge grants to women’s Self Help Groups.

In 2001, a Strategic Planning and Organisation Development exercise induced major changes in the strategy to implement field projects directly to help producers and micro-entrepreneurs to establish their micro-enterprises in Pugal (Bikaner-Rajasthan), Saharanpur (UP), Mandla (MP). In Pugal, new genre of craft was developed to serve a medium segment market for highly socially excluded 2000+ women with low to medium skills by building local entrepreneurs and UJAS. In MP business services were designed and delivered to promote forest and farm based products to enhance the income of 2000+ tribal women. In Saharanpur city around 1000+ women were organized and involved in incense sticks rolling and hand crafted “Chunari” making.

Currently, Udyogini is working with about 50k producers and aims to increase its outreach to 100k producers by 2020 in 5 states – Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. Udyogini has directly impacted value chains (such as lac, vegetables, Sal, herbs and incense-stick) that show potential for scale in difficult market conditions in remote districts that are affected by poverty, conflict or climate challenges and broken enterprise ecosystems. Udyogini also provided business services to NGOs, CBOs and Government projects to build their capacity in designing and delivery of business services.

Udyogini’s vision and perspective on micro enterprises for women has always been to empower women to understand and participate in critical enterprise processes. As the market gains prominence, the need for women to become knowledgeable, confident and lead enterprises just as they have led micro credit initiatives becomes critical. The Theory of Change supported by Udyogini to achieve this is explained as

If poor, marginalized and vulnerable women are provided customized business services (skill, entrepreneurship training, financial and market linkages) then their income significantly increases due to increase in production and quality of product and services. The increase in economic status enables women to participate in decision making in domestic and public sphere

Udyogini’s Business Model is to create enabling environment through customized business services to engage rural women in products and service based enterprises that have high market potential, require low skill level for adoption as well as investment. Business services identified from value chain analysis of selected enterprises are provided to women to engage and scale up the enterprises. In later stages producers are enabled to form and strengthen producer institutions to efficiently manage backend and forward operations for the enterprises.

Udyogini’s innovative efforts to establish theory and practice for women’s micro enterprise knowledge, promotion and service provision for outreach are in this site. We hope you enjoy browsing through it.