Strengthening MAVIM’s women entrepreneurship program through business consultancy and collaboration

Shikha Bansal
Shikha Bansal • 20 February 2024
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How does a brand develop visual and content messaging let alone talk to exhibit attendees? What is the best sales strategy to develop? How do you standardize cost calculations and reporting across scattered business units? Businesses must handle these questions so that they might grow. And an Indian government institution working toward women’s socioeconomic empowerment, focused on scaling in an ambitious way, is working with Women on Wings to develop this business knowledge capacity.

Over the past year, Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal (MAVIM) officials and Women on Wings embarked on a series of dynamic business strategy, visual branding, finance and sales strategy workshops all tailored to sustainably grow the Tejaswini brand in scaling job opportunities for rural women in Maharashtra. MAVIM, an initiative of the Government of Maharashtra established in 1975 aims to advance gender justice and equality, invest in women’s untapped talent and potential, empower them economically and socially, and provide access to sustainable livelihoods.  

One of MAVIM’s flagship women entrepreneurship programs is Tejaswini which is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The main objective of the program is to enable women in moving themselves out of poverty by ensuring they receive a regular income. MAVIM and Women on Wings partnered to scale Tejaswini’s next phase, the Nav Tejaswini project by providing business mentoring and interactive workshops to jointly deliver strategies for a scalable, market-driven, and self-sustained Tejaswini brand that generates livelihood and regular income for rural women.

A deep dive into business

A Women on Wings team conducted a two-day business strategy workshop with the MAVIM state leadership and district managers to delineate their objectives, methods, and actions, along with pinpointing strengths, liabilities, prospects, and challenges. With this groundwork established, Women on Wings and a team of its seasoned business experts conducted a series of interactive workshops and online sessions throughout the year.

Here are the workshops Women on Wings led:

1. Sales strategy

Building on the business strategy workshop outcomes, our sales and marketing expert Marja Versleijen equipped the team with sales strategy concept and coached them with hands-on activities such as customer segmentation, competition analysis, exploring and leveraging various sales channels for core products and setting targets.  

 2. Marketing strategy

Expert Remke Vet led the team in defining product categories and brand positioning for future growth and sharpening their messaging using a brand pyramid. Together with the participants, our experts examined Tejaswini’s strengths to take advantage of opportunities and reduce the impact of perceived challenges. Some other activities included learning about the BCG matrix to understand which products Tejaswini should keep, discontinue, or begin to offer. They also studied the Ansoff growth strategy to analyze and plan strategies for growth.

3. Finance

In the realm of finance, fifteen representatives of various districts and the state who were already involved in business planning, cost analysis and sales forecasting but wanted to pull precise data and avoid rough estimates, came together for a cost pricing analysis workshop.  They worked with Women on Wings expert Anita Joosten to deeply examine costs, overheads, profit and loss statements and their influencing factors. 

This paved the way for understanding how precise record keeping and calculations might work for MAVIM’s Tejaswini brand-associated units and marketable products. They developed standardized formats to record figures correctly and quickly, which aids in precise estimates, financial forecasts and cost-cutting where applicable.

4. Visual branding 

Visual branding is not just about having an attractive logo or color palette; it is also about creating a strong impression that people have about your organization or product that fits in with your overall brand strategy. Women on Wings experts guided the team in creating powerful brand images.  

Remke Vet led the team in what makes a visually compelling brand and delved into ways to convey and reflect the brand’s values via imagery. Marie-Gon continued through presenting the impact of color choices, the power of color recognition, how each color evokes different feelings and how the quality of the color can convey product quality. 

5. Exhibit techniques

To teach about techniques to consider at commercial fairs and exhibitions, expert Marie-Gon offered savvy and practical guidance on booth design and styling, interactive presentation skills, focusing on the unique selling point and engagement strategies to maximize impact and ROI.

6. Marketing communications 

With the proliferation of digital platforms and offline promotion opportunities, Remke’s marketing communications workshop provided MAVIM’s participants with knowledge, channels and effective engagement strategies needed for promotional efforts. The MAVIM team explored covered social media marketing and content strategy so they could gain practical insights to elevate their marketing efforts to attract and retain customers.

7. Logo design and brandbook

Remke showed the influence of font and shapes used in logos and evaluated Tejaswini’s current logo with the team. She shared insights into logo design, what makes a strong logo, and how big brands have evolved to simpler but effective logos over time.

Rounding out this series of workshops, Remke and fellow design expert Henk Seelt showed examples of standardised packaging design and brandbooks that can be applied for similar visual and content representation. Henk shared the new proposed logo for Tejaswini and design ideas that were created using information from the moodboard sessions during the workshop.

Jointly derived solutions and next actions developed during the workshops

Workshop participants said they had never attended a similar session where everyone actively collaborated, learned from one another, and felt ownership for application of the learnings. They said it was a true co-creation of a strategy and a roadmap. They are enthusiastic about attending further sessions to achieve various targets over the next three years.

Women on Wings joint managing director Shilpa Mittal Singh shared, “As we look ahead, we are inspired by the work achieved so far and the shared aspirations of MAVIM’s team. We believe through continued collaboration and consultancy with MAVIM that we will jointly build a scalable Tejaswini brand. Together we will drive entrepreneurship that will create social and gender equity.”

Some of the outcomes of the workshops with the Women on Wings experts are that MAVIM will finalize a Tejaswini brandbook which establishes standardized branding and packaging and will portray the brand consistently across off and online channels to enhance customer brand recognition. The finance workshop led to standardized practices in cost price calculations and effective monitoring of costs and accounting which will create advantages across diverse units. There are more actions to come.

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