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Mann Deshi Foundation, Mastercard expand Chamber of Commerce for Rural Women to empower 20,000 SMEs

NEW DELHI: With more than 50 percent of India’s MSMEs being in rural areas and 20 percent owned by women, a robust support structure can expedite the growth of rural women entrepreneurs. Despite their ambition, innovation and passion, women entrepreneurs are held back by several factors like lack of awareness and exposure to business practices, limited linkages to markets, constrained access to finance and minimal support to scale. To address these issues and evolving market dynamics, like like consumer preference to pay digitally, Mann Deshi Foundation and Mastercard have announced the expansion of the Chamber of Commerce for Rural Women.

As part of the expansion, the Chamber of Commerce for Rural Women will add a new chapter in Kolhapur, Maharashtra and introduce a leadership academy for women entrepreneurs to conduct trainings on advocacy and provide mentorship. The expansion will increase members’ access to digital skills and knowledge, access to legal advisory services and marketing clinics, strengthen sales networks among women entrepreneurs, and launch a pathway for these women entrepreneurs to become agents of change.

As part of the expansion, the Chamber of Commerce for Rural Women will add a new chapter in Kolhapur, Maharashtra and introduce a leadership academy for women entrepreneurs to conduct trainings on advocacy and provide mentorship. The expansion will increase members’ access to digital skills and knowledge, access to legal advisory services and marketing clinics, strengthen sales networks among women entrepreneurs, and launch a pathway for these women entrepreneurs to become agents of change.

The chamber already has chapters in Pune, Chiplun, and Satara in Maharashtra through which 10,000 women have been benefitted since 2018. Through this expansion, it aims to empower over 20,000 small businesses to tap into digital networks for sourcing and selling, with a focus on:

  • Leveraging technology to facilitate business operations and to scale skills trainings including introducing women business owners to low-cost technology for digital bookkeeping, virtual networking and online classes
  • Providing hands-on demo workshops to enable small business owners to test and learn about time-saving machines, e.g. dal mills, solar dryers, packaging machines that can help scale up their business.

In a statement, Chetna Sinha, Founder, Mann Deshi Foundation said, “Women entrepreneurs are keen to expand and grow their businesses, realize their ambitions and dreams, and build a secure future for themselves and their families. They need access to affordable finance, supportive networks, and the latest market information.