Sharing professional expertise with Indian social entrepreneurs is so rewarding

Shikha Bansal
Shikha Bansal • 14 November 2023
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At the end of September. I was back in India for Women on Wings to give branding and communications workshops to two social enterprises. I’ve been doing that since November 2010. As an expert I make my time available to contribute to realizing Women on Wings’ BHAG: 1 million jobs for women in rural India. Moms will spend their income on better food and education for their children. A job and income also increase gender equality and empowers women.

Back to what we do at Women on Wings. We are a (pro bono) management consultancy that consults and mentors social entrepreneurs and government institutions in India who also work on job creation for women in rural India. Not every organization can become a partner; every social enterprise or government institution gets thoroughly assessed. And if they match Women on Wings’ criteria, we will jointly work on KPIs, such as the growth in terms of turnover and the number of jobs.

Depending on what needs to be done, experts share their knowledge based on the principle of equality: we do not come and tell the other what to do. Every step in the strategy is taken together.

At the end of the day, the Indian organization is responsible for the implementation of all plans jointly created. Of course, we will support them on every aspect of running a business from HR to sales, value chain to production and also branding and communication. We do that in online sessions and on-site workshops. These two workshops were on-site, in New Delhi and in Mumbai – an extra dimension to my daily work in the Netherlands.

The first two days I was at Rangsutra Crafts India Ltd (Rangsutra) in New Delhi with which I have been working since 2010. During the corona pandemic, Irene Koel and I had led online sessions to define Rangsutra’s company values and associated behavior. Like me, and for many years, Irene has also been an expert at Women on Wings.

With Rangsutra’s team, we discussed how the values are embedded in the organization, such as in HR processes, etc. And where we still needed to work or tweak here and there. An intensive first day but we defined great next steps for the team. I will support them with this online in the coming months. The second day was about community building for which we used the new community canvas model. They are now working further on that plan and we will soon do an online update session.

All week – in New Delhi and in Mumbai – I worked with my Indian Women on Wings colleague Disha Rathour. After all, I share my knowledge, but I always need the Indian context. So Disha is of great value. And sometimes it’s nice that she can make my Dutch English a bit clearer by translating it in Hindi. And of course, it is enriching to do that together.

The last two days I was at Taru Naturals in Mumbai, founded by Ruchi Jain and her mother Punam (a naturopathic doctor). Here too, wonderful intensive days to create the first design of the brand pyramid with Ruchi, her mother and marketeer Nikhil Gawai. The great thing was that they had created already many pieces of the puzzle, but now choices had to be made. Great discussions to get to the essence. What enthusiasm, what knowledge about nature, what ‘products’ you can get from it, what you can mix into healthy and tasty food, etc. Awesome!

This year is the international year of the millet and at Taru Naturals I ate all sorts of millet based products, like a wrap, bread, idli (a type of savory cake eaten as breakfast) and laddoo (Indian sweet). Delicious and healthy too. Well, that laddoo has ghee (clarified butter) and jaggery (unrefined sugar) in it, but that’s okay. Great progress was also made with Taru Naturals during those two days. And I look forward to the next meetings (online and on-site).

Back to the headline of this blog: it is of course wonderful to share your professional knowledge in India. But I get so much in return! I come back wiser from the people in India I work with: my Indian colleagues, the entrepreneurs and their teams. Their view of the world, what they want to achieve, their DNA, that of their organization, the questions they ask, the ideas they have. I consider it a gift that I am able to do this.

We at Women on Wings still need experts, because we are growing. More social enterprises and government institutions in India are asking for our support and we can use more business professionals in the Netherlands like Irene or I on our journey towards the 1 million jobs for women in rural India. Check out the options if you want to know more.

Karen de Loos
Women on Wings’ expert in management, retail, marketing communications, online and change
This blog first appeared (in Dutch) on October 19th on the Adformatie LinkedIn page.

Picture: Karen (2nd from right) with Disha (2nd from left) and the Taru Naturals team

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