The road to entrepreneurship is paved with many challenges. Women entrepreneurs often face barriers in the form of accessing opportunities or unconscious biases.
In the Northeast, women entrepreneurs face obstacles in infrastructure and supply chain due to the harsh terrain.
But despite these limiting factors, a number of them are making a mark in India and globally with their innovations and creative products.
We present to you four female entrepreneurs who have made a name for themselves and their companies with their unique ideas.
Taj Rita, Naara Abba
Growing up in the countryside of Arunachal Pradesh, Rita’s crown He remembers a house surrounded by fruit trees, fish ponds, large vegetable gardens, the rustling of bamboo and pine trees and the chirping of birds.
His first memory of wine was at a traditional tribal festival called Myoko, where he saw a shaman dressed as a priest taste wine from rice millet and offer it to God. Once she was convinced that kiwifruit wine was a viable idea, Rita spent nearly six years researching and developing a winery.
In 2016, he was launched Nara Abbaa collection of wines made from kiwi fruit in the Zero Valley of Arunachal Pradesh.
A few years ago, he started making wine from plums, pears and peaches.
Rita says that while the demand for the product is steady, the irregular distribution network is a major challenge.
In March this year, Rita was awarded the Nari Shakti Puraskar Award for Excellence in Promoting Women Entrepreneurship by President Ram Nath Kovind.
Iaishah Rymbai, EriWeave
Chosen from a weaving family, Ayisha Rimbai He learned the art of silk weaving from his mother Priscilla Rimbay.
A school teacher, Rimbai received an order in 2016 to make 50 Eri silk scarves. To carry out this order, he needed the help of the villagers, especially the women. She went door to door to encourage women to learn the art of weaving Eri silk, as the raw material for thread was widely available in the area.
Although initially met with skepticism, she was able to enroll a group of women who were then trained to spin and weave Eri silk.
Eri silk is different from other silks because it is vegan and cruelty-free. It is also known as Ahimsa silk because it is processed without killing silkworms. EriWeave’s products including scarves, stoles and fabrics are sold through online channels including Facebook and Instagram. They are also available on the company’s website.
Vukolo Dozo, Wiko Qami
From a small village in the United Naga Village of Dimapur, Nagaland, Vakolo Dozo runs its own ethnic knitting brand, Wiko Ghaumiwhich makes household appliances such as tablecloths, clothes, etc. It now has an array of collections with a customer base from across India.
The company has hired several women from the village, many of them widows, and given them the opportunity to earn a living using a skill they are familiar with.
Veku’s handloom products are available on her Instagram handle named after her and on WhatsApp. These products include handbags, bags, tablecloths, pure cotton towels, etc. Veku products have even traveled to Paris through exhibitions.
Palmy Gogoi and Dr. Tanushree Devi, Woven Stories of the Northeast
Gogoi palm And Dr. Tanushree Devi Water hyacinth – a weed that grows abundantly in northeastern waters – has been used to produce sustainable and environmentally friendly products.
The Woven Tales of North East is a brand that works with two clusters of women-dominated artisans in Nagaon, a city 120 km from Guwahati. Each cluster has about 60 women artists trained in water hyacinth. The raw materials are collected and only the stem is dried and used.
Apart from the usual baskets, Woven Stories of the Northeast also offers guidebooks and notebooks where the paper is recycled and the cover is made from water hyacinth. Other products include gift boxes and tissue boxes.
Currently, only the stem is used, but entrepreneurs are experimenting with leaves and roots to produce different products.