About us

Udyogini came into existence in 1992, entered the micro enterprise domain through the ‘Women’s Enterprise Management Training Outreach Program’ (WEMTOP), which was initiated and funded by the World Bank Institute. Through this support Udyogini developed the concept and manual for Grassroots Management Training (GMT), which is now a core activity in Udyogini’s work in India.

Ela Bhatt, the founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) is a founding member of Udyogini and was its first Chairperson. Since then Udyogini has evolved as a service provider and a resource agency in promotion of micro enterprises.

When Udyogini was established, micro credit was a new idea and thus Udyogini’s focus on micro enterprise management training was innovative. Udyogini opted to work in what would be considered inhospitable conditions for enterprise development involving socially excluded women at locations with poor access, infrastructure and socio-economic indicators.

Udyogini was set up in 1992 as a World Bank initiative to co-ordinate and facilitate enterprise management training for grass root women’s groups under the Women’s Enterprise Management Training Outreach Program (WEMTOP). It aimed to strengthen the capacity of intermediary NGOs (in Bihar, Rajasthan and Odisha) to deliver management training to poor women entrepreneurs. The training program made their mark beyond India’s borders and became part of World Bank-supported micro enterprise programs in Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe by adapting curriculum and materials that were developed by Udyogini in India.

After the project ended and Partner NGOs were phased out, Udyogini took the lead in conducting training and market linkage services. It organized marketing events in Delhi. It opened a retail outlet `Jeevika’ in Delhi and ran it for two years. It became a resource agency for Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK), an apex organisation set up to provide bridge grants to women’s Self Help Groups.

In 2001, a Strategic Planning and Organisation Development exercise induced major changes in the strategy to implement field projects directly to help producers and micro-entrepreneurs to establish their micro-enterprises in Pugal (Bikaner-Rajasthan), Saharanpur (UP), Mandla (MP). In Pugal, new genre of craft was developed to serve a medium segment market for highly socially excluded 2,000+ women with low to medium skills by building local entrepreneurs. In MP business services were designed and delivered to promote forest and farm based products to enhance the income of 2,000+ tribal women. In Saharanpur city around 1,000+ women were organized and involved in incense sticks rolling and hand crafted “Chunari” making. ICCO Netherlands, Ford Foundation, Intel Corporation, Forest Department (MP), Government of Rajasthan, Uttrakhand, Government of India, Misereor, Nabard, Reliance Life Sciences and American Embassy were the main donors in this phase.

Currently, Udyogini is working with about 50k producers and aims to increase its outreach to 100k producers by 2020 in 5 states – Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. Udyogini has directly impacted value chains (such as lac, vegetables, Sal, herbs and incense-stick) that show potential for scale in difficult market conditions in remote districts that are affected by poverty, conflict or climate challenges and broken enterprise ecosystems. Udyogini also provided business services to NGOs, CBOs and Government projects to build their capacity in designing and delivery of business services. EU, ICCO Netherlands, Ford Foundation, Misereor, Geneva Global, Aga Khan Foundation, DFID, SRLM Jharkhand, World Bank, Intel Foundation, ACC CSR, Oracle Foundation have been the major donors provided their support.

        Theory of Change

        If poor, marginalized and vulnerable women are provided customized business services (skill, entrepreneurship training, financial and market linkages) then their income significantly increases due to increase in production and quality of product and services. The increase in economic status enables women to participate in decision making in domestic and public sphere.