This NGO is helping uplift local nano entrepreneurs using mentorship and training
Udhyam Vyapaar is an NGO and community welfare arm of the Udhyam Learning Foundation that works with nano-entrepreneurs or ‘vyapaaris’ to maximise human potential, create an entrepreneurial mindset, and empower them with interventions and products to scale their business. They also help them sustainably increase their earnings. They work across several states such as Delhi, Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Assam, and others.
They believe that more often than not, it is a necessity that drives these micro-entrepreneurs and that gives them the perseverance and will to succeed.
Many entrepreneurs spend a large chunk of their time in field operations, taking time out from brainstorming and thinking about growth. Udhyam Vyapaar provides one-on-one mentorship to help them identify their shortcomings, optimise their resources, make the most out of new business opportunities, and develop marketing strategies.
Moreover, they conduct training sessions and activities to imbibe an entrepreneurial outlook. These sessions are aimed at increasing the customer base, uplifting incomes, and encouraging them to start maintaining accounts.
“In our first year, we saw 60 entrepreneurs increase their income sustainably. In our second year, that number went up to 800. In our current third year, our ambition is to enable income upliftment for 16,000 entrepreneurs, and the next year, we hope we to make this happen for 50,000 entrepreneurs.” shares Mekin Maheshwari, Founder and CEO of Udhyam Vyapaar.
Growing in a sustainable way
Udhyam Vyapaar also started multiple product interventions that enabled nano entrepreneurs to maximise their productivity while making the intermediate processes more eco-friendly. They introduced solar lights, which allowed small businesses to operate even after sundown.
They also replaced coal with LPG and customised an LPG powered iron that led to a significant decrease in both input fuel costs as weak as environmental damage.
Small business owners often fail to get formal credit and end up being exploited by the informal system. To end this problem, Udhyam Vyapaar started a microloans system for these businesses. They educated them about the cashless economy and encouraged them to make use of online transaction platforms.
This ensures that every transaction is accounted for and will enable them to take loans from credible formal institutions in the future. To bring them a step closer to financial inclusion, they also tried to inculcate the habit of thrift and self-reliance. They introduced a savings box so that nano entrepreneurs would get into the habit of saving and not be dependant entirely on credit.
Impact of the pandemic
As part of their efforts to help this community during the pandemic, Udhyam Vyapaar surveyed to understand the real impact on personal and business plans for the future. The findings highlight the lack of an organised structure for reporting grievances and the need for monetary aid.
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