Women in rural India face a host of chronic gender based challenges as entrepreneurs including difficulties in accessing business skills, limited assets and access to financial services, low confidence, institutionalized discrimination and restrictive gender norms.

Thanks to the generous support of both the Swarovski Foundation and the Hemraj Goyal Foundation, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women are delivering a one year project to empower 75 small-scale women producers in remote villages of Maharashtra state in Western India.

Through tailored skills training in market linkages, branding and packaging, financial systems and legal structures, as well as mentoring and business development support, we will empower the women to acquire the skills, knowledge, confidence and networks they need to become more competitive entrepreneurs. The project is being delivered in collaboration with our local implementing partner, Dhriiti – The Courage Within

Named Ekta, meaning togetherness in Hindi, the name encapsulates how we will bring women together in enterprise groups to work collaboratively to become more competitive and successful entrepreneurs.

Following a needs assessment conducted by the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Career Development Programs (ICECD), and with further research by Dhriiti, we have gathered information on the profile of the women we will work with and the local context of the region. Based on assessment findings, the potential for scale up and the readiness of the women involved, we will work with women in the following areas:

  • Sun dried fruits and vegetables
  • Natural & herbal food products
  • Soaps & herbal cosmetics
  • Sweet corn and cut vegetables
  • Fisheries

By early 2019, an end of project evaluation will be conducted by an independent external body, FXB India Suraksha.


swarovski foundation logo

The Swarovski Foundationwas set up in 2013 to pursue charitable goals to honor the philanthropic spirit of Daniel Swarovski, who founded the crystal business in 1895. Since then, five generations of the Swarovski family have reinforced the company’s commitment to philanthropy and charitable giving. The Foundation’s mission is to build on this heritage by supporting charitable initiatives and organisations working in three areas of culture and creativity, promoting wellbeing and conserving natural resources.

The Hemraj Goyal Foundation was created in memory of the father and grandfather of members of the founding team. Hemraj Goyal arrived in the UK from India forty years ago with the vision of a better life for his family. Now, the Foundation’s vision is to make a huge and lasting difference in the quality of life of those less fortunate, both in the UK and abroad, through the provision of financial and human resources. They distribute funds to organisations with a clear vision for a world where children have the right to education and are free from suffering and abuse, where women’s rights are empowered, and where the disabled are offered a chance to fulfill their potential.

Dhriiti – The Courage Within work collaboratively with the Foundation in India to identify and recruit the target women, deliver business training and support, and facilitate linkages to market networks and finance. Founded in 2004, Dhriiti endeavor to promote and protect entrepreneurship in its different forms and to build and create a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst the next generation of Indians. Dhriiti works with Indian women, youth, children, and communities to provide entrepreneurship skills through training and incubation support services. Dhriiti is one of our long-standing partners, previously working with us in 2017 to implement WE Can: Workshop and Business Plan Competition project in North India, which supported 150 young women.

International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Career Development (ICECD) have expertise in designing and developing curricula and teaching manuals for entrepreneurial projects throughout India, as well as delivering high quality teacher training. Over the past months we have worked together to conduct a needs assessment to gather further information on the local context of the region and develop a localised training curriculum, based on findings from the needs assessment.

FXB India Suraksha have designed the monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) framework for Ekta, will collect monitoring data, and conduct an end of project independent external evaluation. FXB India Suraksha (FXBIS) provides development assistance to marginalized children, women, and communities in rural and urban India. They have specific expertise on MEL and conduct monitoring and evaluation strategies for internal and external projects.

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