Welthungerhilfe (WHH), India along with Keystone Foundation and Last Forest conducted a three-day workshop – ‘India for Eco-food Campaign’ from 9th to 11th August.The workshop aimed to support aspiring entrepreneurs and micro-business owners to start new social enterprises and also to improve the existing enterprises. Keystone Foundation and WHH have been partners since 2013. WHH works closely and funds 30 groups that work towards sustainable agriculture for improving food & livelihood security of the rural communities across India.
WHH chose small enterprises and entrepreneurs from Orissa, Bengal, and Jharkhand to participate in this workshop to help them in enterprise development that supports decent job creation, entrepreneurship and encourage the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises. The workshop offered effective coping strategies for these small enterprises that work with vulnerable communities to strengthen their livelihoods and create new opportunities for decent work. Nivedita Varshneya – Country Director, WHH India and Anushman Das, Programme Manager along with Robert Leo, Deputy Director (Keystone Foundation) and Mathew John, Managing Director (Last Forest) conducted the workshop.
On the first day, they visited Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company, a producer company incubated by Keystone Foundation to understand how a farmer producer company functions right from procurement, internal operations & management, branding, and Marketing. Later, a session was held to show the importance of having the production and marketing sectors as separate entities for smooth management. Aadhimalai and Last Forest were shown as examples, in which the procurement is carried on by the former from indigenous communities and the latter works as a base to market the produce procured. This benefits the community as well as the entrepreneur.
Kavita Pandya, a designer consultant for Last Forest conducted a session on how branding and design will bring value to their products and showcase the impact and work opportunities that it is creating for the rural communities. Participants also worked together in small groups to solve problems and through sharing existing knowledge and experiences, entrepreneurs were able to help each other understand formal concepts, and develop stronger skills for improvement.
On the last day, time was spent on reflecting all that they had grasped about the several aspects that contribute to building a social enterprise. As an organization, we were able to relate to and offer solutions to the participants, as our spin-offs were projects that grew into an enterprise that benefits the indigenous communities of the Nilgiris.