Foundation in News                        Initiatives admist Covid-19
Voices from the field
Pramila Devi's Tailoring Business

Pramila Devi is a thirty-four-year-old woman micro entrepreneur. She has studied till the twelfth standard. Before the Mahila Udyami Sashaktikaran Program (MUSP), she used to earn around Rs. 3,000 per month from her tailoring business.
She was screened and selected by Utkarsh Welfare Foundation for capacity building and hand-holding support under the Mahila Udyami Sashaktikaran Program. She has been provided with business related training and has also been helped in business planning, particularly in identifying opportunities for increasing her income. The program has also helped her in maintaining simple records of her business transactions.
She received a loan of Rs 60,000 from Utkarsh Small Finance Bank which helped her to purchase new sewing machines as well as stock. She has started engaging other women in her social circle who could help her complete the work on orders she takes.
Pramila Devi’s monthly profits have doubled as she now earns Rs. 6,000 per month as against Rs. 3,000 earlier. She has invested a part of the increased profits in fixed deposits with banks and hopes to add to these in the future. She is comfortably able to meet the educational expense of her children who go to reputed schools. She is also able to afford little luxuries of life such as watching a movie with her family.


Neelam Singh's Beauty Parlour

Neelam Singh is a thirty-four-year-old woman micro entrepreneur, who is well educated having completed her Bachelor of Arts (BA) successfully. Before the Mahila Udyami Sashaktikaran Program (MUSP), she had not been involved in any business enterprise.
She was screened and selected by Utkarsh Welfare Foundation for capacity building and hand-holding support under the Mahila Udyami Sashaktikaran Program. She has been provided with business related training and has also been helped in business planning, particularly in identifying opportunities for increasing her income.
She had trained as a beautician and the enterprise training encouraged her to start her own beauty parlour.
She received a loan of Rs 25,000 from Utkarsh Small Finance Bank which helped her to purchase new equipment as well as stock. The program has also helped her in maintaining simple records of her business transactions.
Her beauty parlour has taken off, and she has been earning a monthly profit of around Rs 8,000. This income stream has given her financial independence. She is able to contribute to her household’s earnings and has earned her the respect of her family members.
Customer relationship management is one of her greatest strengths. She has developed a loyal clientele in a short span of time, and the future prospects of her business appear bright.


Ranee Devi's Business Diversification

Ranee Devi is a thirty-year-old microentrepreneur. She has studied till the tenth standard. As a tailor, she used to earn Rs 8,000 per month, stitching clothes for around 30 customers.
She was screened and selected by Utkarsh Welfare Foundation for capacity building and hand-holding support under the Mahila Udyami Sashaktikaran Program. She has been provided with business related training and has also been helped in business planning, particularly in identifying opportunities for increasing her income. The program has also helped her in maintaining simple records of her business transactions.
The business planning gave her confidence to start a cosmetics store to supplement her earnings by also selling cosmetic products to her customers. The program helped her in developing linkages with suppliers of cosmetics.
She has received a loan of Rs 50,000 from Utkarsh SFB which helped her to purchase stock for her cosmetics store.
Ranee Devi now earns Rs 14,000 per month, an increase of 75% over her previous earnings. She has hired two women to help her in the store. She has gained several customers – she estimates that the number of her regular customers is around 60. The increased earnings have allowed her to purchase several household assets including a fridge and air-coolers. She has always been a confident person which helps her in negotiating good deals with her suppliers. She believes her business will grow further with a little more hard work. She is hopeful that her family will enjoy a better life in the future, and they will never face any scarcity.


Hadison Devi's Toy Shop

Hadison Devi is a thirty-year-old microentrepreneur, who has received no formal education. When she was screened and selected by Utkarsh Welfare Foundation for capacity building and hand-holding support under the Mahila Udyami Sashaktikaran Program, she was not involved in any business.
As a participant of the program, she has been provided with business related training and has also been helped in business planning, particularly in identifying opportunities for increasing her income. The program has also helped her in maintaining simple records of her business transactions.
Encouraged by the discussions that took place in the enterprise training, she decided to start a toy shop. She was linked with whole-sale supplier of toys under the program. She also received a loan of Rs 40,000 from Bandhan Bank, which allowed her to purchase stock for her shop.
Hadison Devi’s shop has become popular in her locality and she has over hundred customers. During the last three months (August 2019-October 2019), she has made a profit of Rs 12,000 on an average. She believes that her business has more potential to grow and has been reinvesting most of her profits in her shop. She will be eligible for a larger loan in a few months, which will allow her to increase her stock and inventory, and further improve her business scale and profits.
Part of her profits has added to her household income. The fact that she contributes financially to her household has enabled her to earn the respect of her family members. However, her greatest satisfaction is that she will have enough financial resources to afford a good education for her daughter.


Sony Singh's Beauty Solutions

Sony Singh is a thirty-five-year-old microentrepreneur. She has successfully completed her BA and has also participated in a training course for beauticians. However, when she was screened and selected by Utkarsh Welfare Foundation for capacity building and hand-holding support under the Mahila Udyami Sashaktikaran Program, she was not involved in any business.
Although she had not been actively involved in business, she always had a desire to have an enterprise of her own. The enterprise training under the MUSP program convinced her of the business potential of her idea of having an integrated beauty parlour and cosmetics store, which would allow her to offer total beauty solutions to her customers. The business planning exercise helped her to realize that her business idea had high margins and breaking even will not take time. The program helped her in developing linkages with suppliers of cosmetics. She quickly learned how she could maintain simple records of her business transactions.
She has received a loan of Rs 25,000 from Utkarsh SFB which helped her to purchase stocks for her cosmetics store.
Sony Singh earned a profit of Rs 9,000 in October 2019. These are still early days for her business, but the demand for her services is high. Resource constraints limit her from optimally stocking up her store. While she has been reinvesting most of her profits in her business, she feels, once she gets a larger loan in the next cycle, the scale of her business will improve significantly.
Sony Singh, now, has a good grasp over the nuances of doing business and interacts confidently with her suppliers and customers. She also has the support of her family members, who respect her hard work and passion. She is confident that she will be able to achieve all her dreams.


Sumitra’s journey towards the financial goal of sending her children to the best schools.

Sumitra is a resident of Katni zilla in Posara village who has studied till the 8th Standard in her school. She has a normal family with two children, her husband and her mother in law. When we met Sumitra, she and her mother in law was running a small grocery store in the village which generates an income of Rs. 2000. Her husband is a daily wage laborer and the income generated from that is erratic but sometimes if he and her husband both are able to get the laborer job, they collectively earn Rs. 5000. The total household income of Sumitra’s family was mere Rs. 7000. Sumitra has active loans with two MFIs. Due to her children falling ill, the household is significantly under debt. Sumitra’s dream is to make her two children study in a good school which seemed impossible in her past income. Sumitra and the members of her center were skeptical of attending the financial literacy and women empowerment training due to their busy schedule and daily wage laborer routine. But after the training, Sumitra attempted to plan her finances as mentioned in the module. Once she was able to see an overview of her household income, she was able to identify the various places where she could diversify her income sources. The next loan she took from Utkarsh Small Finance Bank, she dedicated in expanding her grocery store and buying additional stock. Sumitra and her husband started stocking additional products in her store and Sumitra started travelling to nearby villages to sell products door to door. This more than doubled their household income to Rs. 18000 from which they manage to save approximately Rs. 12000. Sumitra aims to realize her dream of sending her children to best schools by planning her finances to achieve that goal.


Parvati on Course of Smoothening erratic income flows through financial planning.

Parvati and her husband earn daily wages as laborer’s and live in a village near Jabalpur with their two sons. They own a small land which is unproductive and the income generated from the land is erratic and unreliable. Like any aspirational family Parvati and her husband Ram would like to give their children the education and opportunities they never had. Parvati’s husband had some experience in garment business but did not have the opportunity to continue with the garment business due to the lack of capital funding. Since they were daily wage earners, the income they generated from their work as laborer’s was mostly erratic. When Parvati attend the training, she found the concept of financial planning as very relevant to her household. She brought her husband for a counselling session with the trainer. They planned their finances and found that if they took a loan form income generation to kickstart and then diversify a business for door to door saree selling, they would be able to capitalize on Ram’s existing experience to enhance household income. Parvati and Ram planned their finances and borrowed Rs. 25000 from Utkarsh to buy a consignment of sarees and a cycle for door to door selling. At this point Ram and Parvati together sell sarees to earn an income of approximately Rs. 1000 which is in addition to the income they are earning from the land and Parvati’s daily wage labor. Parvati and Ram are currently following a savings plan to save enough money to give both their children a good college education. On the payment of this loan, the intend to re capitalize their business to expand the areas of service and generate more income.


Managing household spending pattern to increase household income

Vimla is a regular housewife who has 3 children, 2 boys and 1 girl who dreams of giving a good life to her children someday. Like most women of her socio economic status, she finds it difficult to achieve this dream due to the financial problems faced by her and her husband. He husband owns a Kirana shop in the village but the income they generate from the Kirana shop used to barely cover their household expenditure. Due to this they were able to save very little to actually meet the education needs of their children. Before the training, Vimala had never analyzed the expenditure of her family. The training empowered her with a new skill to analyse the expenditure of her family and figure out places where the family could control the expenditure to save the income generated from family business. Once Vimla was aware of this, they started implementing a financial plan which helped theu save some money each month. Her husband and she made a conscious decision to put this money back into the business to expand the range of products and services that they provided. This has increased the household income of their family. Vimla is now planning on investing this money in a planned manner so she can provide the quality education that she wants to give to her children. She has started saving her money in her account in State Bank of India and has enrolled herself in Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) to ensure that her children’s future is protected.


Kamana’s Journey to making her family business profitable through Financial Planning.

Kamana Khatoon, 42 years old is managing a large family of 8 people. Her husband is a farmer and a part time tailor and together they have a 4 boys and 2 girls. As any family the aspiration of Kamana and her husband Mohammad is to give the children a better life than they had. All their efforts are directed towards this goal. Kamana and Mohammad had earlier attempted to increase the income they received from their tailoring business but their plan seemed to have failed multiple times despite borrowing money to buy a new tailoring machine to increase productivity.
Kamana saw value in the Financial Literacy training as the characters of the training reminded Kamana and her husband of their own household and the day to day issues that they face in planning their family’s finances. On undergoing 7 modules on Financial Literacy, Kamana and her husband started conducting many experiments on household financial planning. After undergoing some financial planning exercises with Utkarsh Welfare Foundation Master Trainer, Kamana and her husband made plan on understanding both the separating the income and profits in the business and also planning on how to judiciously spend the household income while investing the money they saved back into their business. Together Kamana’s family has now started making profits on trading the clothes they prepare from the sewing machine and have seen an increase in their household income by Rs. 6000.
Kamana thanks Utkarsh Welfare Foundation for providing her with an alternative vision for her family. She is determined to use the planning techniques she has learnt in the training for increasing her own economic independence and thereby providing financial security to her family.


An Entrepreneur applying business management technique to sustain and grow business

Vishwanath Thakur is a 34 years young entrepreneur living Kajakpura crossing near city station Varanasi. In the city, he supports a family of 4 with his wife and two school going children. Vishwanath could not complete his education as a young college student due to financial troubles in the family and was forced to terminate his education an migrate to the city to find a steady source of income to support himself and his family. Vishwanath has tried to ensure that he gives his children a quality education and life. He wants his younger son who is a state level hockey player to hone his talent and play hockey for the country. When Vishwanath migrated to the city of Varanasi, he started gaining some experience in the shoe manufacturing and marketing industry. He started developing his skills in shoe making and finally took a loan of Rs. 90000 to open a shoe retail and manufacturing store called ‘Vishwanath Shoe House.’
This loan from Utkarsh Microfinance exposed him to the Dialogue on Business program conducted by Utkarsh Welfare Foundation to potential micro entrepreneurs. The training captured Vishwanath’s imagination since important business concepts were broken down by characters that Vishwanath could relate to. The first aspect that attracted Vishwanath to the program was the concept of visioning a goal for the business. He stated that we get so caught up in the operational and funding aspects of the business that we tend to ignore the final objective of the business. This may lead to a lacuna in planning which can adversely affect the business plan from being viable. Vishwanath has now worked on the goal for his business as well as the financial goal for his family.
Vishwanath felt empowered as an entrepreneur from techniques that were taught in the program. Vishwanath was particularly interested in the Book keeping concept under cash management. He has now started his business with a disciplined book keeping routine in which he diligently records the income and expenses of his business. He has also started planning the expenditure pattern of his household with his wife to ensure that they have surplus money left for investment both in business and household. He has also applied the risk management and marketing concepts to his business. He has analyzed the market for his shoes and has identified the marketability and margins for various business segments in the shoe retail business. He has employed some shoe makers so that he can make better margins in the customized shoe making business in addition to the shoe retail business where he makes fixed margins. He wants to carefully expand his business and brand his custom-made shoes as soon as he is able to capture a market base.
Vishwanath was also impressed by the Self-Management module where he learnt the concept of motivation and return. He has set financial goals for his household expenditure as well. He has also enrolled himself into a life insurance policy to secure the future of his wife and children. Vishwanath wants to formalize all his business processes. In the next year, he aims to file his Income Tax Return, acquire his business registration certificate and expand his business so he can sell custom made shoes in his own name.
Vishwanath says he has many expectations from his venture but was not sure how to actually achieve them. He has credited the Dialogue on Business training for equipping him with the relevant tools and techniques to turn his vision and aspirations into actionable goals so that he can achieve his vision in a practical manner.