Goldman Sachs Programme Transforms Lives of these Women Entrepreneurs

  • Nivedita Prasad says her chocolates are better than those of Lindt. It's said only partly in jest.
  • Prasad, who started a chocolate business in Bengaluru with friend Uma Raju in 2006 as something of a pastime, ended last financial year with a revenue of Rs 1.85 crore.
  • Early on, they took the call to do very high quality chocolate -what's called couverture chocolate that contains extra cocoa butter.
  • These were expensive at over Rs 1,000 a kg,but the initial response was encouraging.
  • Nivedita says: In our first year we did 100 boxes and all were sold out immediately.
  • Soon they were doing Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000 a month, without any advertising, just by word of mouth.
  • In 2009-10, they were selected for Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Women programme, a global initiative to provide women with a business and management education, mentoring, networking and access to capital.
  • It involved a three-month stint at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad.
  • The programme completely changed Nivedita and Uma's perspective towards business.
  • Nivedita says : We developed a vision, we realized that growing a business was not only about passion.
  • We now know what it requires to take something to the factory level, how to do digital marketing.
  • They have customers like Fidelity , Oracle, Goldman Sachs, real estate developers, they are at select retail outlets.
  • And now they are even looking at the US market, where they will have to more directly compete with brands like Lindt.
  • The 10,000 Women programme has been a liberating and enlightening one for many in India.
  • Of the 10,000 around the world ­ a figure that Goldman Sachs touched at the end of last year -more than 1,300 were from India, second to China that saw the participation of over 2,000 women.
  • Bunty Bohra, CEO of Goldman Sachs Services India says: The statistics speak very strongly of the programme's success says
  • Women entrepreneurs' revenue and headcount growth has increased, they have become more confident, they are mentoring others, and I have personally heard a lot of anecdotes about how it has changed the dynamics within their homes
  • For Mukkamala Bala Tripura Sundari from Hyderabad, the 10,000 Women programme, which she completed in 2011, proved to be a life-changing one.
  • During the 10,000 Women programme, she sat down with a mentor and drew a business plan.
  • She says: I realized what a big opportunity there was.
  • She redesigned her training products, she got a loan from the National Skill Development Corporation for a Rs 30 crore project
  • She also started a skill development institution she called Involute Institute of Technical Training (IITT).
  • She has five centres and is opening a new one in Jharkhand.
  • Prior to the 10,000 Women programme, her revenue was Rs 6 lakh per annum; last year it was Rs 3.5 crore.
  • Bohra says access to capital is the biggest problem for women entrepreneurs.
  • The World Bank arm IFC (International Finance Corporation) and Goldman Sachs jointly launched earlier this year a $600 million global facility that will increase access to finance to as many as 100,000 women entrepreneurs in emerging markets.
  • Goldman Sachs has made a $50 million seed contribution to this fund.