The power of women entrepreneurs

The year was 2008 when in the city of dreams Mumbai, three women came together and decided to become entrepreneurs. Gokarna Tayade, Lalita Patil and Nilima Chavan had a passion for cooking which eventually turned into forming a trust by the name Sankalp Mahila Audyogik Utpadak Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit (Sankalp) which has so far helped over 400 women to support their livelihood. Today Tayade is the president, Patil is the vice-president while Chavan is the secretary of Sankalp. Once slum dwellers, these three women were initially living a life of poverty and engaged in small activities like preparing sweets during Diwali or providing tiffin service in few households. However, they hoped for big achievements and to make that a reality, they decided to seek the help of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to set up the trust where several other women with similar financial background came together to cook food and serve people in the city. Sankalp works as a women-empowerment organization and helps underprivileged women whose families are displaced. Women in the age-group of 20-65 years are a part of this trust and they work as a team. They specialize in cooking and serving Maharashtrian food which is sold in three stalls (two in Bandra and one in Wadala) located in Mumbai’s posh commercial areas. They also provide canteen service in 14 sites of various offices. Besides that, they also take catering service orders for marriages, birthdays and other events. The centralized kitchens are located in Kurla and Vashi while the menu includes vegetarian and non-vegetarian items. The popular ones are chapati, bhaji, puran poli, bhakaris, vada pav and rice in the price range of Rs. 20 to Rs. 100. When these three women look back at their journey, they feel proud of their achievement. “I feel I have attained swavalamban. Now I take decisions on my own without being dependent on my husband,” said Chavan. The trust aims to grow bigger in the years to come and women are preparing for the same by reinvesting the profit earned from this business. “We want to serve more canteen sites in the city and also want to increase the number of women members. We hope to touch 500 women members in the next couple of years,” said Patil.