Lata Kalaskar is an entrepreneur from Watonda village in Maharashtra’s Amravati district. Her days are packed with sourcing raw material for her snacks business, preparing them for sale and riding in a van she purchased recently to make her deliveries across towns in the region, or heading to weekly markets where her loyal customers come in droves to buy her special treats.
Life wasn’t always this good for Lata, though.
Married to a small-time businessman, her life revolved around her family and two sons. Lata was content. Fate, however, had different plans. First, her husband’s business shut down, leaving them in a financial lurch. Barely had they come to terms with this setback when she lost her younger son to an illness. A grief-stricken Lata did not know how to deal with this and move ahead.
She had no higher education or degree to fall back on, so the options for her to earn a livelihood were limited. Lata, though, was determined that what looked like the end of the road would prove to be only a turning point. “I realised that I had to support myself and my loved ones,” she says.
Determined to improve her circumstances and become self-reliant, Lata started off by creating a Mahila Bachat Gath, a small savings group for women in her village. Slowly, she saved up enough to start her own business, selling snacks from a hand-cart.
She wanted to do more, but realised that she would need monetary help to expand her business in order to make ends meet for her family, and provide her older son with a better life. That’s when she approached ICICI Bank.
She applied for a loan under ICICI Bank’s Self Help Group-Bank Linkage Programme, which promotes entrepreneurship among rural women, and helps them earn a sustainable livelihood. Primarily aimed at encouraging women like Lata to become economically independent, the programme provides affordable and hassle-free loans to women-led groups, and helps them start or expand their existing business.
More than just providing her with a loan, Lata says ICICI Bank was like a true friend who wanted to do well by her and supported her through her entire journey. Having started off with a small loan of Rs 67,000, Lata’s business has grown significantly today. With another loan from ICICI Bank, she’s managed to purchase a small vehicle to transport her snacks to wholesale markets. Now she has a loyal base of customers, and this is helping her grow her business further.
Visibly proud of her achievements, Lata says this business was what brought her and her family back from the brink and helped recreate their happy place.
Watch how ICICI Bank played a role in Lata’s story of transformation.
ICICI Bank’s Women Empowerment initiative has made a difference in the lives of millions of women across rural India. The numbers speak for themselves. So far, the initiative has:
• Endorsed over 200,000 self-help groups across the country
• Empowered over 2.5 million women to attain a sustainable livelihood
• Provided Rs 50 billion in loans
Read about the inspiring stories here.