How GIZ’s Project Her&Now is strengthening the women’s entrepreneurship ecosystem - The Daily Guardian
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How GIZ’s Project Her&Now is strengthening the women’s entrepreneurship ecosystem

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Women’s Entrepreneurship Day is observed globally on the 19th of November every year in a bid to encourage and support women-led businesses and the spirit of women entrepreneurship in general.

The Government of India regards the promotion of entrepreneurship as a key mechanism for achieving its goals of sustainable socio-economic growth and employment creation, and the Government is currently placing special emphasis on supporting hitherto disadvantaged groups, especially women entrepreneurs across the nation. However, in the context of women’s entrepreneurship in India, a Google-Bain report in 2019 estimated that women in India owned only around 20 percent out of all enterprises. In the backdrop of such a grim scenario of women’s entrepreneurship in our country, it is furthermore unfortunate that many of the existing women’s entrepreneurship-enabling programmes do not take into account the fact that social, cultural and economic realities of women may vary from region to region in a country as diverse as ours. But this is exactly where the Her&Now programme stands out.

Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, is implementing the Indo-German project – ‘Economic Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs and Start-ups by Women (Project Her&Now) ‘, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and in partnership with the Indian Government’s Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MoSDE). The Project came to being in 2018 as a result of the shared visions and joint efforts of the Government of India and BMZ — one of the cabinet-level ministries of the Federal Republic of Germany, which is committed to helping the Indian Government nurture and empower the women entrepreneurship ecosystem through the country, and therefore has commissioned GIZ GmbH to implement the Her&Now Project in India. The ongoing Project has already extended support to over 600 women entrepreneurs from various parts of India, helping them transform their business ideas into enterprises and setting their existing businesses onto sustainable growth tracks.

Ullas Marar, Technical Advisor at Project Her&Now, GIZ, is a firm believer of entrepreneurship to alleviate poverty and uplift societies, and has been integral in designing support programmes for women entrepreneurs from tier II, tier III cities of India. He feels that till date, the Project has played an instrumental role in terms of “giving impetus to and empowering the women’s entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country”.

“Her&Now Project is running across various regions of India, in close association with local implementation agencies who are either non-profits or incubators. We have so far partnered with entities like Dhriiti (in North-East India), Startup Oasis (in Rajasthan), WE Hub (in Telangana), Mann Deshi Foundation (in Maharashtra) and Empower Foundation (in Uttar Pradesh), to ensure effective on-ground implementation of the Project. While we strictly maintain a sector-agnostic approach for selection of women entrepreneurs for our support programmes, from what we have noticed, most of the women entrepreneurs under the Project’s umbrella are operating in sectors like textile, handloom, handicrafts, arts and crafts, education and food processing. Through this Project, we are attempting to create a template of supporting and empowering these women entrepreneurs along with our partners, who shall continue to work for the betterment of the women entrepreneurship ecosystem in their respective states and regions, even after the Project tenure ends,” informs Ullas Marar, Technical Advisor, Project Her&Now, GIZ.

A large majority of the women entrepreneurs associated with Her&Now, i.e. around 90 percent of the entrepreneurs have managed to survive and continue running their businesses despite the uphill challenges posed by the pandemic – which is something, that according to Ullas, bears testimony to the resilience of these women entrepreneurs as well as the “time-relevant” support provided by Her&Now. “Even before Covid happened, we at Her&Now, were through our programmes teaching women about digital inclusion and digital-readiness; this in turn equipped many of the Her&Now entrepreneurs, especially those from the North-East, to bounce back in their businesses easily after the initial months of the Covid-19 outbreak,” adds Ullas Marar.

Speaking the support programme, Ullas Marar further says, “One of our key priorities in the support programme is to build relevant skills and capacities of and for the women entrepreneurs and their enterprises – which enables them to become self-dependent, sustain and thrive in their businesses in the long run. It is heartening to see that many of the entrepreneurs associated with us are constantly growing in their entrepreneurial journeys, even demonstrating growth during the tough and uncertain times of Covid and becoming role models within and outside their communities and geographies. In what came as a pleasant surprise to us, women entrepreneurs from our previous cohorts in Rajasthan and Manipur have gone a step ahead to develop deep strong peer-to-peer connections from the Her&Now programme, which eventually led them to form a collective or network of their own in these two states to continue supporting and promoting the existing and upcoming women entrepreneurs from their area.”

The Her&Now Project, which is running incubation and acceleration support programmes for India’s women entrepreneurs in several tier II and tier III cities, not only equips select women entrepreneurs with critical business skills, but also offers customised support through mentorship, access to market opportunities and peer networks, linkages to financial institutions, and much more.

Additionally, through the Her&Now media campaign (a critical component of the Project Her&Now), GIZ is seeking to raise awareness and steer mindset change on the positive contribution of women entrepreneurship for the Indian society and economy by showcasing the real-life stories of relatable role models who can inspire other women to become entrepreneurs and business owners.

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SANAV, 8-YEAR-OLD INDIAN CREATES WORLD RECORD

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Sanav Ramsankar, an 8-year-old, from Tamil Nadu, India and a resident of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, created a World Record on 23rd November 2021 by reciting salient details of 186 Rivers from around the world covering the continents, length in kilometres, outflow/destination and countries each river flows through.

This record was administered through a virtual live event on 23rd November 2021 at 4:30 pm GST (6:00 pm IST) and was streamed live on Facebook and YouTube. During the event, Sanav recited the details of all the 186 world rivers in 15 mins 53 seconds and became the first in the world to create the “World Record” in this newly created category. Sanav is deeply interested in learning about geography and general landmarks in particular. To expand his knowledge, he has been avidly collecting and learning information through various sources from the Internet. Sanav also can recount the capitals and currencies of 196 countries. Noticing his talent and capabilities, his parents engaged Mr. Sushant Mysorekar (Founder of Brain Rhyme Pvt. Ltd., Singapore and an Internationally certified Intelligence Coach) to coach Sanav, and thus the journey towards this world record started.

It started about two months back under the mentorship of Mr. Sushant Mysorekar. Since then, Sanav has been training in memorizing the details through a combination of cognitive mindset and several creative learning and memory tools and techniques. A Grade Three student from GEMS The Millennium School (Indian CBSE Curriculum), Dubai, Sanav has put in around 60 hours of work to memorize the world river systems and its details.

Sanav shares the credit of his maiden world record achievement with his mentor and his parents. He says, ‘They have encouraged and worked hard to balance my day-to-day activities and priorities! They helped me practice effectively over the entire period.’ Sanav believes in “Work hard; have fun; learn from mistakes; make history!” and during the event, he conveyed a wonderful message – “Hard work never fails.”

Sanav loves his family comprising of his father, Ramsankar Rajendra Raja, from Tamil Nadu, India, a banking technology professional; his mother Aswini, a homemaker and his ever-playful younger brother, 3-year-old Sajiv.

Interestingly, Sanav also loves to play chess and soccer. He has earned medals and certifications from various internal tournaments in Dubai. His aim is to achieve international norms in chess. In addition, Sanav is a Brown Belt holder in Karate and is working towards receiving Black Belt at the earliest. He has also recently opened his own YouTube channel.

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NISSAN WANTS EV TO ACCOUNT FOR 50% OF GLOBAL MODEL RANGE BY 2030

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Japanese car manufacturer Nissan unveiled its Ambition 2030 plan on Monday with which it intends to invest heavily in making electric and hybrid vehicles half of its global variety by introducing 23 new car models.

“Based on customer demands for a diverse range of exciting vehicles, Nissan will introduce 23 new electrified models [EV], including 15 new EVs by fiscal year 2030, aiming for an electrification mix of more than 50 percent globally across the Nissan and INFINITI brands,” Nissan said in a statement. The company is planning to build its long-term strategy, Ambition 2030, around the concept of electrification, with the intention of investing 2 trillion yen ($17.6 billion) within five years to accelerate electrification of its line-up as well as level of technology innovation.

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COUNTERFEIT RUPEE MADE IN PAKISTAN GOES FROM BANGLADESH TO INDIA

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The counterfeit rupee is made in Pakistan—goes to India. The route of smuggling these counterfeit notes is Sri Lanka via Bangladesh, then India. This counterfeit rupee smuggling has been going on for a long time. Counterfeit rupee first arrives in Chittagong in a marble container from Pakistan. Then it was brought to Dhaka and stored. They are then smuggled across the border into India at convenient times. The police came to know about this after arresting two members of a fraud ring with a counterfeit currency of Rs 7.5 crore in a special operation in the capital. They were arrested by Gulshan police.

The arrested are Fatema Akhter Opi and Sheikh Mohammad. Abu Taleb. A case has been registered against the arrested at Khilkhet police station. The accused in the case have been sent to court for remand.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Gulshan Division Deputy Commissioner (DC) Assaduzzaman said this at a press conference held at the DMP Media Center on Saturday afternoon. He said two persons were arrested from Khilkhet and Demra areas of the capital on Friday night. DC Asaduzzaman said that Fatema Akhter Opi was arrested on the basis of information that a woman was standing in front of the gate of Banarupa residential area of Khilkhet with fake Indian rupees. Then 50,000 fake Indian rupees were recovered from him. On the basis of the information provided by her, another 7 crores 34 lakh 50 thousand counterfeit Indian rupees were recovered from his own house in Panditpara area of Dakshin Khan police station. Later, another member of the forgery ring Sheikh Mohammad from Demru’s Sarulia area.

DC Asaduzzaman said the arrested Fatema Akter was an active member of the International counterfeit Indian money-laundering ring. For a long time, he used to collect Indian counterfeit currency from Pakistan through international channels and smuggle it to India through marketing through domestic channels. Abu Taleb, who was arrested on November 23, handed over the recovered Indian counterfeit to Fatema Akhter Opi. Taleb, through Pakistani nationals Sultan and Shafi, skillfully smuggled out of 500 sacks of marble stones imported from Pakistan, 95 sacks marked with pink thread, to Bangladesh via Sri Lanka. Describing the ring as involved in the scam for nearly 10 years, DC Asaduzzaman said, “Fatima used to collect these counterfeit coins from Pakistani nationals Sultan and Shafi.

Fatema and Taleb used to hide these counterfeit rupees under the water tank of their house in Dhaka. Later, he used to smuggle it to India through various borders of the country. ‘ The police official further said that Danesh, the husband of Fatema Akter Opi, is a Pakistani citizen. He is ill and now lives at home. He was arrested by DB Motijheel Division a few years ago. There are two cases in his name. In addition, Abu Taleb was traveling to Pakistan. Since her husband is Pakistani, Fatima has also visited Pakistan many times. This is the source of their acquaintance with Sultan and Shafi, the leaders of the fake rupee cycle, and later they too became involved in this cycle.

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‘The Fuel Delivery’ disrupting fuel distribution landscape

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In this era of digitisation, everything- apparel, books, shoes, grocery and now even fuel can be delivered at one click via mobile app. ‘The Fuel Delivery’ is among the pioneering startups in this segment, redefining the fuel distribution landscape through best-in-class service and a superior customer experience.

Founded by Rakshit Mathur in 2021, the startup has deployed an IoT (Internet of Things) – based mobile app wherein a customer can place an order for delivery and get it delivered at the doorstep at the prescheduled slot. The startup’s name is itself suggestive of its objective of doorstep fuel delivery in a safe, efficient and cost-effective manner. Fuel is a basic necessity for the Indian economy. It finds usage in several sectors with industries, including agriculture, transportation, construction, manufacturing, retail, logistics and warehousing, healthcare and hospitality, agriculture and transportation, etc. Against the backdrop of the acceleration of e-commerce, doorstep fuel delivery has become a necessity.

The company leverages IoT (Internet of Things) for fuel delivery. All the delivery vehicles are enabled with an IoT solution that allows real-time monitoring and tracking, seamless logistics management, and reduced order fulfillment time. It recently won the ‘Indian Achievers Award for Promising Start-Up 2021’ by the Indian Achievers ‘Forum & Achievers’ World.

“After working for over a decade and a half in the corporate sector, I discovered the potential of IoT (Internet of Things) and wanted to harness it to the fullest. After exploring various options and opportunities, we zeroed in on the concept of fuel delivery via a mobile app. The Fuel Delivery has been established with an aim to redefine the fuel distribution landscape through best-in-class service and a superior customer experience,” said Rakshit Mathur, Founder & CEO, The Fuel Delivery.

“Covid-19 has exacerbated the challenge of the last-mile delivery of diesel which is used as a fuel to run operations. The Fuel Delivery offers the comfort of getting fuel at the doorstep, thereby maintaining social distancing, avoiding pilferage and safety risks and above all, saving time. What differentiates us from our competitors is that we are not a retail player; instead, we’re focusing on bulk deliveries in sectors like hospitality, real estate, hospitals, corporate IT parks, schools and housing societies etc. We also cater to individual customers,” he added

“The minimum order delivery is capped at 100 litres with a one-time nominal convenience fee of just Rs. 99. Our fuel dispensing bowsers are equipped with best-in-class safety features like spark arrestors, emergency shut-off valves, fusible links, emergency vents, pressure vacuum valves, etc., approved by the government authorities and concerned stakeholders, thereby ensuring extra safety advantages for consumers. As a responsible organisation, we are committed to ensuring the utmost level of safety while redefining customer experience,” he further said.

The Fuel Delivery is presently operating in Delhi-NCR and Mumbai. It plans to scale up the national presence by expanding to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Jaipur, Kolkata, Jammu and Chandigarh etc., in the next 12 to 18 months. It also plans to include alternate fuels like CNG into offerings after getting approvals from the regulatory bodies.

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JEWELLERY IS A VERY PERSONAL THING, MUCH LIKE STYLE: SUSHMITA SEN

In this exclusive interview, Sushmita Sen opened up about the latest collection of Zoya, her favourite piece from the collection and her thoughts on how jewellery adds on the personality of the person, among many other things.

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Sushmita Sen recently joined NewsX for an exclusive interview as a part of NewsX India A-list. In the exclusive interview, the actress opened up about the latest collection of Zoya, her favourite piece from the collection and her thoughts on how jewellery adds on the personality of the person among many other things. Excerpts:

Speaking about the latest collection of Zoya and what made her come on board for it, Sushmita said, “Zoya and its team, that I love, not the first time I’ve been a part of Zoya’s launches, in the past and beautiful ones for that. I think it’s just an old connection, an old trust and a beautiful collection that brings me here and of course, it’s house of Saturn. It just makes you feel like you belong to one of the most beautifully thought connections with India. It’s beautiful. It has unchanged elegance.”

Talking about the timing of the collection, she said, “Not just the festivities and the change of season but also nearing the change of a year. That always brings in a sense of rejuvenation and hope for better times. I think when you celebrate that and of course, needless to say, no matter which part of India you are in, people are usually getting married around this time now so, that also adds to it. I think it is a very special time of the year. I was born in it, I think it is lovely.”

Sharing her thoughts on how jewellery adds on a person’s personality and overall looks of the person, she expressed, “Jewellery is a very personal thing, much like style. Different people prefer different things. My sense of elegance is timeless. It has to be pieces that you can wear not just once in your life and never be able to wear it again. The way I see it is, if I did ever get married, I’d still wear jewellery that I can actually repeat rather than something really big and different that i never get to wear it again. That’s my take on jewellery. Of course with different people, it’s different but yeah, it is got to be timeless. It got to be something that is unforgettable for you. it marks a chapter in your life that you can celebrate often.”

When asked about her one special piece of jewellery, she said, “The first solitaire that I ever bought for myself. The whole world has been accredited for it, which is a mistake but I bought that for myself and saved up a long time to get it but it had to be 22 carats.”

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I always go to a place, soak in the vibe, and then think about what I can create: Nidhi Khurana

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Nidhi Khurana is a travel content creator who loves exploring offbeat places. Her content inspires young women to take the road less travelled when it comes to recreational travel. We hosted Nidhi for a frank interview for our latest series, NewsX Influencer A-List. Below are the excerpts from the interview:

We first asked Nidhi to describe her experience with being a travel content creator, to which she told us, “To be very honest, people think that travelling and content creation is an easy job and it is enjoyable, which it is at times, but when it becomes your job, it gets tedious. You are caught up in so many things that you actually forget to enjoy the place.” Summing up her experiences, she said, “So this is what happens with me. I love what I do, I love travelling, but at times I miss out on experiencing things because I’m busy recording them for my audience.” 

Nidhi believes that spontaneity is what keeps her going. She said, “I’m the kind of person who is very spontaneous about things. I do not preplan my shoots. I always go to a place, soak in the vibe, and then think about what I can create for this beautiful place, for my audience.” She also spoke about the technical side of content creation, “When it comes to shooting, editing, it is a whole lot of process, to be very honest. It, at times, takes a toll on you but I believe if you love something, if you’re passionate about something, you just do it.” 

We were then curious to know Nidhi’s views about the struggles that women often go through while travelling solo. Nidhi shared with us, “So, travelling as a woman comes with pros, as well as cons. Pros in the way that at times if there is a long queue and most of the people in the queue are males, and if they see you standing there, they, out of generosity, would let you cut to the beginning of the queue.” She then lists some tips for women travelling alone. “I have been travelling since two years ago but I have not really come across anything that would make me feel unsafe and the key point here would be you choosing the right place and the right moment. It’s on us how we keep ourselves safe because we cannot guess what the other person has in their mind,” said Nidhi. She also advised women to properly research their place of stay and carry pepper spray, among other things. 

For our next question, we asked Nidhi about her best travel experience, to which she narrated about her trip to Goa that she had to, unfortunately, cut short. “That was a very beautiful experience for me in the sense that I got to discover myself. I have been to Goa many times, but this time I had thought that I’ll be exploring the unexplored Goa – the Goa that is beyond beaches,” she said. Narrating the experience further, Nidhi said, “So, I went for forest hikes and I, literally, saw one of the most offbeat beaches in Goa. So this was one of my best travel experiences to date because I was able to rediscover myself as a person, myself as a creator.”

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