Glory for Mandapeta women weavers

Glory for Mandapeta women weavers

The Godavari Women Weaver’s Services Producer Company (GWWSPC) from Mandapeta received a boost this week as it emerged as the first runner-up in Tata...

The weavers have been recognised as one of India's most promising social enterprises

The Godavari Women Weaver’s Services Producer Company (GWWSPC) from Mandapeta received a boost this week as it emerged as the first runner-up in Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2014-15 (TSEC). The company received prize money of Rs 1.5 lakh. The TSEC endeavours to find India’s most promising early-stage social enterprises, and create an ecosystem for social entrepreneurship – encouraging sustainable, scalable and measurable social impact.

Weavers are India’s second largest community after farmers. However, they get a mere 10-15 per cent of the total price that consumers pay. Therefore to improve their incomes and ensure that they get a share of the price, Chitrika partnered with Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) to work on a unique project called the GWWSPC. It is a company that weavers will manage and control on their own. The company will procure, process and sell the products from 300 members of the producer company. The company will establish centralised pre-loom, on-loom, post-loom units and set up retail units to sell the products of the weavers. This is a one-of-its-kind project in the country, for increasing the income of the weavers by ensuring that their products are the preferred choice of the consumers.

With its head office at Mandapeta in East Godavari district, the producer company will, over the next five years, cater to 3,000 weavers.

Vijayan Switha Gandhi, founder of GWWSPC, had developed this business model to strengthen the weaver base by collectivisation and integration of the entire value chain involved in the handloom process.

“When I started my work, I got support from Sir Ratan Tata Trust, and since then it has been a long and difficult but fruitful journey. Today, my journey has come to a full circle. I stand here receiving recognition on a Tata platform for a model, created by my team, the seed for which was a grant from Tata’s. I feel very happy and motivated,” she said.

Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2014-15 kicked-off on August 25, 2014 and invited social entrepreneurs who either had an early stage venture (not older than three years) or a promising idea with a plan that could create sustainable social impact in India. Tata Social Enterprise Challenge is a unique initiative, undertaken jointly by an educational institution and a business group, to promote the spirit of social entrepreneurship in India. Started in 2012, TSEC received 168 entries this year, and in all nearly 500 entries, across the three editions that have taken place till date.

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