Bhubaneswar, September 16 (Odisha.in) The Rural Managers’ Association of Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (RMAX) and the biggest FMCG company in India, Hindustan Unilever Limited joined hand for empowering women in Orissa by promoting women entrepreneurs under its HUL-Shakti project.
The promotion campaign was aimed at identifying 20-50 year old women in the villages for promoting its customized products for rural areas.
“The campaign started with the identification of areas and villages by the rural management students of XIMB, followed by extensive research for finding out the right women for this project.
HUL-Shakti project provides an excellent opportunity for women of rural India to contribute to the family income after completing their household chores,” said Sumit Gupta, Team Leader of the RMAX team for this project.
As part of this campaign, HUL introduced a gamut of products namely- Red Label, Lifebuoy, Sunlight, Wheel, Surf, Rin, Vim, Lux, Rexona, Ponds, Breeze, Sunsilk, Clinic Plus / All Clear, Pepsodent and Annapurna salt.
“All these products enjoy a good brand recall and some of them have been customized to suit the rural people, therefore the women entrepreneurs will have to do little for marketing these products,” said Amitava Munshi of HUL.
“Gone are the days, when women used to be dependant on the men for every necessity. Women are more confident to face the outside world and are eager to contribute to the family income. We have seen this from our experiences in different parts of the country,” he elaborated.
Currently there are over 25,000 ‘Shakti Enterprenuers’ (SE) in 15 states of the country and about 3,500 of them are in Orissa. This project was initiated in Orissa around three years ago and the company is planning to add another one thousand SE in this calendar year.
After this promotional campaign launched by the company in association with rural management students, several women SHGs came forward to become Shakti Entrepreneurs.
“This project is a very viable proposition given the fact that we can pursue it during our leisure time and these are everyday use products with high popularity and demands in the villages,” said Nishamani Pradhan an inquisitive women to become Shakti Enterpreneurs in Khurda district.
During the campaign, Kumudani Satpathy, SE from Madhya Kachha village in Cuttack district shared experiences of running the enterprise in her village.
She informed the prospective SEs about the expected benefit from this venture. Four students of XIMB- Santanu Thakur, Baijanti Mallick, Amulya Mishra & Neetu Chhapolia steered the campaign and facilitated women through pep talk.
The District Rural Sales Promotion Executive Manoj Kumar Mohanty deftly answered their queries and convinced them to take up the enterprise to become self sufficient and fulfill their dreams.
The company facilitates SEs through providing support services like doorstep delivery of the product and training to market them successfully.
No doubt, the HUL-Shakti initiative has empowered women has brought new zeal to take a step towards better education, clothing and prosperity of their family, Mohanty said.