Small businesses play a big role in rural areas. It is not only a form of expression but also one of financial stability, independence, and rights for people. Especially for women, it gives them a sense of security and a status quo in their family. Earlier women in rural areas were treated like doormats because they had no power and did not contribute to the family's financial stability. But now the tables have turned.
Small businesses have given rural women the power to stand up for themselves. many women have now realized their potential and turned their soft skills into a full-fledged small businesses.
Many big companies have realized their talents and hired them or do their production in rural areas. Several industries like pickle, masala, traditional clothing, embroidery, bangle making, pottery, handicraft, etc. are blooming in rural areas.
Government support to small businesses in rural areas
The government tries to support these businesses because it helps the nation to develop. The standard of living improves and it creates a good image of the government in the eyes of the people.
Tax concession, promotion on social media, and providing loans at low-interest rates are some of the ways the government supports. It also supports the Khadi industry and the handicraft industry to great extent.
Big businesses see potential in it
Many big designer houses have seen that most of the embroidery and handwork is done best by men and women in rural areas. there the skills have passed on through generations. They respect and love the art of embroidery and do not do it only for money. They do it because they are passionate.
Fab India is one of the leading sustainable fashion brands in India. It empowers rural weavers and traditional artisans in India. Many celebrity designers employ artisans, especially for traditional work in the wedding collection.
Stationary chain Itsy Bitsy also has a wide range of products that are made in rural India.
Hence, day by day the rural industry is booming.
Home led businesses
Women in many villages have joined hands to start their own businesses. Pickles, homemade food, and clothing are popular choices. But starting and managing a home business in a rural area is different than in a city.
Sourcing raw materials, space to work, advertising it, and finding the right market is a task. Education level is very low so people do not know how to sell their products. So they need the guidance of others to do so. Especially in the e-commerce business, they have no clue how to sell.
Asha Scaria, the founder of the brand VOW (Voice of Women) is one such brand that solves these problems. VOW is an online portal for garments stitched by tribal communities of Dungarpur. The rural women were skeptical as they were not accustomed to buying and selling via a website and to people outside Dungarpur. It's been over 2 years and the brand has provided sustained employment and a sense of empowerment to women.
Many big brands such as the sewing machine company USHA have done a lot to promote rural women and their talents. In 2018 the USHA Social Services did something that rural women could never imagine. Over 30 rural women from four states - Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, and Puducherry - were shortlisted from the USHA sewing schools and they made a mark during the country's most reputable fashion event - the Lakme Fashion Week 2018 in Mumbai.
Their clothing like 'Silai' was presented alongside big designers like Manish Malhotra. They received immense appreciation and love from the audience. This shows how the Indian customer base has matured and is appreciating talent.
There have been many talks about protecting the intellectual rights of these craftsmen as well. Let us see whether they convert into laws or not.
For small businesses to grow in rural India they need to be digitized. This can spread the word about it in neighboring cities. This way only can they get the right audience to purchase it. rural industries do not have big budgets to create fancy websites or shops and stalls in famous exhibitions.
But that does not mean they cannot make a website of their own. Shimbi Labs presents BUDO and NINJIN that help you create a website and an e-commerce site respectively.
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