Fuelling dreams of women entrepreneurs

RC Bangalore Yelahanka, RID 3192, and the Rotary Action Group for  ­Community and Economic Development (RAGCED) organised a Women’s Entrepreneurship Festival in Bengaluru. Rakesh Babuji, chair of the RAGCED-India chapter, said the objective was to showcase the importance of innovation and inspire women from humble background to start their businesses with confidence.

Rotarians interacting with an entrepreneur at one of the stalls.

The action group is dedicated to “enhancing the capabilities of local entrepreneurs through education, microcredit, mentoring and ­networking. The focus extends to empowering community leaders and organisations, fostering economic development and creating opportunities for fulfilling work and sustainable livelihoods.”

The India chapter of RAGCED is working with local Rotary clubs, and has  found a significant number of skilled and ambitious women in the community aspiring to establish small-scale manufacturing units, producing value-added products primarily for the urban market. The initiative identified skilled and semi-skilled women who required support in terms of infrastructure, equipment, training, seed funds and marketing assistance to initiate seven microenterprises in areas such as textile accessories, solar appliances, oyster mushrooms and terracotta jewellery.

While the Entrepreneurship Festival “showcases our commitment to supporting and empowering women entrepreneurs, we hope to collaborate with various clubs to undertake more innovative projects in the future,” said Babuji. Interactive workshops at the event provided an insight into areas such as starting a business, scaling up, accessing funding, and leveraging technology, practical tools and strategies, empowering over 150 women entrepreneurs with “newfound skills and confidence to navigate the entrepreneurial landscape,” he said.

Panel discussions featuring industry leaders delved into critical topics related to women’s entrepreneurship, exploring challenges, opportunities and the importance of fostering a supportive ecosystem. The programme facilitated networking opportunities, “creating a platform for like-minded individuals to connect and foster a supportive network for mutual learning, growth and collaboration,” he added.

The event also celebrated the achievements of women entrepreneurs who have made a significant impact in their respective fields. “Their stories served as motivation for women like us who are just beginning our entrepreneurial journey. I left the programme feeling inspired, motivated, and equipped with valuable insight to take my business to the next level. It showcased the power of women supporting women in the entrepreneurial journey,” said Roopa, a participant.

Another participant Surabi said, “this was a game-changer that provided me with the knowledge, resources and connections needed to turn my ­business idea into reality. I cannot wait to start.”

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