Non-Farm Enterprises Development is an important strategy under National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) towards economic empowerment of women. Members of Self Help Groups (SHGs) are encouraged to start ‘Micro Enterprises’ using local recourses, and community investment fund/ community enterprises fund. Skill training, handholding and marketing support are provided by the State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLMs).
Sanjeevini Mission, the Karnataka State Rural Livelihood Promotion Society (KSRLPS) has been taking a lead role in promoting Skill Development and Entrepreneurship among members of SHGs across the state under NRLM and the mission could provide gainful self-employment opportunities to many poor women in the non-farm sector since its inception. Today, there are around 30,000 Nano/Micro Enterprises within Sanjeevini - KSRLPS. Though the Nano/Micro Enterprises Sector in Karnataka is still facing infrastructural and logistical problems, lack of proper market linkages, and challenges in terms of flow of institutional credit, these Nano/Micro Enterprises play a major role in the household income of poor strata. The Challenges of Women Micro Enterprises of Sanjeevini – KSRLPS are voluminous.
• The Micro Enterprises are unregistered, operating with obsolete technology, have limited access to institutional finance, and resort to seasonal production.
• Low market penetration and tough competition from large scale enterprises.
• Lack of quality assurance & certification, standardization of products and proper marketing channels to penetrate into market.
• Lack of sufficient Market Places, Unaware of customer base/segmentation,
• Absence of distribution network.
• Unable to implement modern marketing strategies and to cope with changing market scenarios, though the products have market potential
• Lack of market research, effective sales promotion.
• Higher cost of production due to low, non-mechanized production.
Considering the challenges of Nano/Micro Enterprises, the scarce resources with Sanjeevini – KSRLPS and the inherent disadvantages of not being a body corporate, and at the same time, in view of the need for interventions in the area of Micro Enterprise Development & Marketing, the ‘Non-Farm Thematic Division of Sanjeevini – KSRLPS have set the following objectives for its future endeavours.
• Enable the rural poor SHG women to set up their enterprises, through a sustainable model of Enterprise Promotion by providing skill training and capacity building, handholding services and financial assistance from SHGs & Federations and Banks
• Develop an enabling environment for mentoring at the village level by capacitating SHG federations and deploying community cadre for enterprise promotion (CRP EP).
• Facilitation support to access finance from SHG Federations and banks, access to technology and skills and regulatory compliances.
• Conceptualization for growth for existing enterprises, growth plan preparation, handholding support to grow businesses, and performance improvement programmes.
• Enhance the marketing capabilities and competitiveness of Sanjeevini SHG products, enrich the marketing skills of the women entrepreneurs, cadres and Mission team. Market and business linkages
• Showcase the competencies and variety of Sanjeevini SHG products at district, state, national and international platforms, and facilitate interaction with direct consumers, intermediaries and large institutional buyers.
• Formalization and layering of Micro Enterprises, development of alternative distribution channels and constitution of appropriate institutional mechanisms for marketing of SHG products and services.
• Development of appropriate marketing platforms for going beyond the traditional marketing strategies, creating greater acceptance for Sanjeevini products, strengthening the brand or developing a corporate brand image.
Fast changing national and global economic and trade scenario has thrown up many challenges to the Micro Enterprises of Sanjeevini – KSRLPS. On the other hand, many opportunities have also been opened up for Sanjeevini – KSRLPS to enhance productivity and look for new markets at national and international level. It also put greater responsibility and obligation for Sanjeevini – KSRLPS to upgrade the competencies. However, it has been seemed logical to build on what exists and to focus on facilitating sustainability of micro enterprises, handholding them to increase production to reach scalability and establish market presence, rather than getting in to hard core commercial activities in the coming years.