Mahbubnagar’s ‘Maha’ entrepreneurs challenge stereotypes – The New Indian Express


By Express press service

HYDERABAD: Although it is common to assume that self-help groups (SHGs) run by women take out loans but do not repay them because their plan for asset creation and income generation fails, the administration of the Mahbubnagar district has proven that proper intervention at different stages can go a long way in empowering rural housewives to break stereotypes and become entrepreneurs.

In order to provide a link to the market and promote the products of SHGs, District Collector S Venkata Rao started an initiative to market various products under the brand name “Maha”, which was appointed by the Minister of Health. and industry, KT Rama Rao.

The vacant DWCRA Bhavan in the town of Mahbubnagar was given a new name as the “Maha Store”, where products from SHGs across the district could be offered for sale. Surviving the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic, the store has become a source of income for many women.

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Mr Sruthi from Addakal Mandal Mahila Samakhya started a new trend in decorative flowers by making paper bouquets with paper flowers. His products were an instant hit. Currently, she receives orders for paper floral arrangements for weddings and other small receptions. She is one of four women who ran the Maha Store.

“It was because I was in the SHG that I was able to take advantage of this opportunity. Kranthi, the district rural development officer at the time, helped market my products by using them at meetings and other events,” says Sruthi.

There are approximately 35 products that are currently featured in the store. They are also available on Amazon and a website has also been created with the brand name.

“Most of the sales are made in stores and at various fairs. In Midjil Mandal, SHG women created toilet cleaners and detergents bearing the brand name. They arranged for a vehicle and traveled to 120 to 130 villages to sell at people’s doorsteps. Village women linked to self-help groups and products have become a success,” said A Chennaiah, District Project Manager, Non-Agricultural.

Promotion of millet products

Using funds from the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM), the district administration has granted machinery worth 25 lakh out of a 100% grant to SHGs in Gandeed mandal to process and manufacture products from mil.

“We buy jowar and ragi from farmers and the market. Using the processing, pressing, cooking and vacuum packaging machines, 20 women from Gandeed made jowar rotis, ragi rotis, millet biscuits, murukulu (a snack from South India), etc. We sell our products in a store near the Maha Store. Under this program, we were given a mobile shop (vehicle) to go around the city and villages to sell our products,” said Mr. Surekha, President of Zila Mahila Samakhya.

There are sewing materials in the store where the women make masks, children’s dresses, and burlap and cloth bags. Processed tamarind, vegetable and meat marinades, jams and various other products are available under the Maha brand. There are SHGs in Jadcherla where women sew babydolls and sell under the brand.

“The idea was to bring together diverse talented women and their products under the umbrella of a brand through which they could market their products. Many women who previously marketed their products independently have now learned the intricacies of entrepreneurship thanks to the training provided by the Society for the Eradication of Rural Poverty,” says Venkata Rao.


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