Sandesh One to become India’s biggest social entrepreneur platform for women

Kerala women-run microenterprises will offer products, services and solutions locally

A first-of-its kind public-private partnership (PPP) social enterprise in Kerala will see the creation of a network of trained women entrepreneurs running micro units that will offer localized, community-level, high impact solutions across a wide range of areas such as waste management, renewable energy, agriculture and healthcare.

‘Sandesh One’ is an idea conceived by the Kerala State Women’s Development Corporation (KSWDC), an organisation under Kerala’s Department of Social Justice which is also behind the hugely successful She Taxi venture.

Under the new project, one woman will be selected from each of the more than 1,000 panchayats in Kerala to undergo an IIM Ahmedabad certification programme in entrepreneurship with a curriculum custom developed by IL&FS Skills, one of the largest skill development companies in India.

The six-month long residential training programme will focus on developing and improving entrepreneurial skills and knowledge management. The individuals will additionally go through a product orientation programme to get familiarised with the products and services offered by the Sandesh One network.

The initiative will provide technology solutions to interested entrepreneurs and help them start enterprises in areas such as high-tech agriculture, preventive healthcare, water management, waste management, renewable energy, deforestation and others interventions that can positively influence the society and improve the quality of lives.

Sandesh entrepreneurs starting projects will receive support from KSWDC which will facilitate loans, provide promotional support and ensure tie-ups with other stakeholders.

 “With Sandesh One centres set up in every local body in Kerala, there will be huge employment generation opportunities at the grassroots level,” said Dr M K Muneer, Minister for Panchayats and Social Justice. “We also expect Sandesh to have a multiplier effect by helping unemployed youth in their locality to come up with attractive microenterprises.”

He said the social enterprise movement building up across the globe has the potential to transform lives and economies. “Unlike conventional industries, social enterprise is about developing solutions for pressing societal challenges,” he added.

Dr PTM Sunish, Managing Director KSWDC, said as an entrepreneur-driven venture Sandesh One creates a win-win situation all round. “It will be the biggest social entrepreneurship platform and network for women in the country”, he added.

He said the Sandesh entrepreneurs will hold the rights to all solutions offered on the network and they will be able to make incomes as professional consultants or by setting up microenterprises and selling products and solutions.

“For the government it offers high social returns with no financial investment, through employment generation and empowerment; for innovators this is a ready-made network to market their products and services at the grassroots level; for the entrepreneurs a chance to make sustainable income and for the end customers, cost-effective services available at their doorsteps,” he said.

The Kerala government is hoping Sandesh One will grow to be a model of entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment for other states in the country.

Sandesh One initiative is scheduled to be launched on January 12.

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