More than 6000 traditional handloom weavers from across six handloom clusters in India have been trained under Project ‘Handmade in India’ (HMI) by Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic. Implemented jointly by EDII and Ernst & Young LLP (EY) and supported by HSBC, the project intends to instil self-reliance among traditional weavers. Interventions such as credit linkage, capacity building, market linkage, design development, social media marketing and enterprise development were conducted at handloom clusters of Maheshwar (MP), Bhuj (Gujarat), Surendranagar (Gujarat), Kamrup (Assam), Bargarh (Odisha), and Salem (TN).
In its first phase, the initiative main focus is to develop entrepreneurial competencies in the weavers. Enterprise Creation’ is targeted to enhance entrepreneurial capabilities and knowledge of handloom heritage practitioners and community members in order to reinforce the involvement and benefits of local communities through sustainable handloom weaving and awareness as well as other income generating activities. EDII has also developed a plan which involves upgrading the skills of weavers, introducing new-age marketing strategies, ensuring increased credit availability, impressing upon the younger generation about the viability of the Handloom sector. These measures are targeted to improve the income and quality of life of the weavers in the clusters.
EDII HMI cluster teams have been conducted training sessions on Digital Marketing. The weavers are trained to open their accounts on Facebook, Instagram and other e-commerce portals. They are also trained to use WhatsApp for their business purposes. QR code, Barcode and Trademark Registration, 3D draping of fabric on virtual models are also taught to the weavers. In addition to these activities, webinar on ‘Vocal for Local’ theme for women entrepreneurs to link them with HMI beneficiaries for selling Handloom products is also conducted.
Apart from providing inputs in the domains of modernizing designs, market access, and credit linkages, EDII is also helping them in presenting their products across India through physical and virtual exhibitions due to the COVID pandemic.