Increasing women’s participation in the productive sector is a major challenge within the rural areas of India. In spite of witnessing considerable growth within the economy in the last two decades, underemployment, low educational levels, a high rate of dropouts and lack of proper vocational training which can provide better employment opportunities, are still prevalent.
In particular, women with a low level of training and education, and those who run a family on their own, need to organize themselves in order to increase their productivity and income. There is a pressing need for them to be able to improve their market access and grow their businesses competitively. For young persons, they key challenges include the development of an entrepreneurial culture and job creation, while up-grading their technical skills at the same time. The main objective was to find effective ways through networking and the establishment of business support programs to bring women and young entrepreneurs into the mainstream of entrepreneurial venture.
The strategy employed by the Bayer includes the identification of potential adolescent women between the age group of 15 to 19 years. They are then provided with training based on the market needs of the rural communities, ranging from embroidery, to cloth stitching, doll making and beautician courses. Every year Bayer along with its local NGO partner operate 2 batches for around 20 participants each and for a duration of 6 months vocational training. On completion of the training, students are provided with the necessary investment for initiating their own business enterprise at the village itself. Apart from the trainings that are conducted, each participants attends awareness sessions on topics like reproductive rights, legal aspects and personality development. A large percentage of the students successfully initiate their own small business.