In January, we launched the Be! Fund in Delhi by airing a radio series on All India Radio and a muppet show on local cable in 50 slums, inviting young people to send us their business ideas.
We got an overwhelming response. Young people called us and sent SMSes and postcards with lots of ideas. But most of our respondents were men. We know that women in slums and villages face many barriers in starting businesses—they have limited education opportunities, they have to take care of children, their families don’t support them working outside the home—but we also know that women have just as many ideas.
So we held a mela for young women who want to start businesses, to help them make business plans and meet successful women entrepreneurs who come from communities just like where they live. Kiran, a serial entrepreneur from Patna, Bihar, who started out a junkyard dealer, advised women on how to start businesses and the importance of self-dependence.
Women traveled from all over Delhi, UP, Haryana, and even Rajasthan, to attend the mela. They all came with ideas of what they wanted to do. Shazneen wants to start a water filtration business to provide clean water to her community. Sunita wants to build and run a public toilet in her slum. Meena wants to make products from recycled materials to combat global warming.
Listen to their stories on our Be! Fund website.
And to support entrepreneurs like Shazneen, Sunita and Meena, also check out our competition entry on Changemakers. Click “like” and join the discussion to help us win!