23rd July 2020, Kathmandu
MA-Udhyami (Mahila Udhyami) campaign, launched on July 8, 2020, at Thulo.Com, an e-commerce platform in Nepal, is a campaign initiated as a part of the project ‘Revitalizing Women’s Businesses amidst COVID-19 Pandemic’ with the support of USAID’s Tayar Nepal. The project is led by the Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs’ Associations of Nepal (FWEAN) in collaboration with EMERGE (Enterprise for Management, Economic Reform and Gender Equality) and Thulo.Com.
Due to COVID-19 lockdown, the method of selling products physically, by visiting stores became almost non-existent, which affected the supply chain of the majority of the local women-led micro and small scale businesses, as they got disconnected with their customers and are having a hard time surviving due to lack of cash flow. So, the focus of this project is to overcome difficulties in forwarding supply chain and cash flow management of women-owned/led businesses by linking them to the digital economy.
COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of e-commerce in Nepal, and introducing women entrepreneurs to the digital economy was the need of the hour. Therefore, FWEAN partnered with Thulo.Com to promote and sell the products of local women and link them to the digital economy, through its e-commerce platform. For this Thulo.com conceptualized the campaign MA-Udhyami, which means ‘Mahila Udhyami’ with the tagline – ‘Digitalizing Women’s Businesses’ to bring women entrepreneurs and technology together.
Currently, this campaign is in its pilot phase, and there are 17 women led-businesses, mostly from marginalized groups, running micro and small scale production businesses, of Kathmandu and Lalitpur area, comprising both members and non-members of FWEAN. Under this pilot phase of MA-Udhyami those women led-businesses that have not been connected or made robust sales through other digital platforms, with products that meet the criteria as set by the project in terms of product quality, labeling, and packaging, have been onboarded. Currently, the products listed are essential food items – pickles, spices, honey, safety, and hygiene products – eco sanitary pad, masks, body oil, sanitizers, etc.
It is expected that these women entrepreneurs will be able to generate cash flow from sales of stocked goods, manage the business, and pay salaries to staff, and be able to manage the crisis bought by COVID-19. They will also get connected and get accustomed to the digital way of doing business (promotions, branding, sales, payments). Under this campaign, FWEAN and Thulo.com together with EMERGE are also doing product promotions, running contests, and media promotions with the aim to improve the performance of selected women’s businesses.
In the days to come, FWEAN together with Thulo.com and EMERGE plans to incorporate more women entrepreneurs under this campaign.
FWEAN and its partners – Thulo.com and EMERGE seek support from everyone as much as possible. Thus, we request everyone to purchase the products of our women entrepreneurs from “MA-Udhyami” by visiting Thulo.Com (link: thulo.com/ma). Purchasing these products will not only support the women entrepreneurs affected by the economic slowdown due to COVID-19 but will add to the experience of using the fantastic hand-made and local products.