Amazon India today announced the launch of Amazon Saheli, a new pioneering program aimed at empowering and enabling women entrepreneurs across the country to sell their products on the Amazon.in marketplace. In collaboration with notable organisations that work to encourage women entrepreneurship, the program is in line with Amazon India’s vision to transform the way India sells. Currently, the partner organisations include SEWA (Self-Employed Women Association) and Impulse Social Enterprise. Amazon Saheli, in collaboration with its partner organizations, will offer women entrepreneurs’ access to nationwide customers on the Amazon India marketplace, the most visited and transacted marketplace in India.
Thousands of women entrepreneurs associated with these partner organisations will be able to offer their products to Amazon.in customers through a dedicated storefront, ‘The Saheli Store’. The store will feature unique products produced locally by these women entrepreneurs. Initially comprising handicrafts, apparel, handbags and home décor items, the store will gradually scale up to on-board women entrepreneurs selling in different product categories. Besides offering the registered women entrepreneurs an unparalleled reach to customers, Amazon Saheli will help them gain world-class logistics and fulfilment facilities to help their businesses soar. Women entrepreneurs under the program will be able to enjoy a slew of benefits such as subsidized referral fees, free imaging & cataloging during launch, account management & post launch support and enhanced discoverability & differentiation of products through specialized storefronts.
Mr. Gopal Pillai, Director & GM, Seller Services, Amazon India said, “As a part of our commitment to transform how India buys and sells by enabling small entrepreneurs to scale up, we have now focused on the challenges faced by Indian women entrepreneurs to gain visibility and access to resources. E-commerce is an important enabler for small businesses offering tremendous opportunities to women entrepreneurs to benefit from the digital economy. We are delighted to join hands with partner organisations such as SEWA and Impulse for Social Cause that have done remarkable work to aid marginalized women entrepreneurs and help them scale up for a multiplier impact. Through Amazon Saheli we aim to bring a change in the lives of thousands of women entrepreneurs with the help of our partners.”
Speaking on the initiative, Smt. Reema Nanavati who leads SEWA said, “We at SEWA believe in young women’s’ entrepreneurship using e-commerce. With minimal cost, e-commerce gives you reach to newer markets nationally and internationally! It builds economic security, brings dignity and self-respect to young women entrepreneurs. SEWA is happy to partner with Amazon which share the same vision to not only provide women entrepreneurs access to millions of new customers and become economically secured and will generate employment opportunities for many more young women. “
Hakhibrn Ahir, a postgraduate in Arts from a village in Santalpur, Gujarat – is a seller on Amazon under the program. She is a teacher but also continues their family’s embroidery tradition and sells her embroideries on Amazon as “Hansiba. Paliben used to collect waste from the streets in Ahmedabad and feed her family. Today she is a seller on Amazon – selling stationery made from recycled waste paper through her co-operative ‘Gitanjali. This is freedom from poverty, hunger – we call second freedom- life of dignity.” Smt Nanavati added.
Commenting on the launch of the program, Jay Carney, Senior Vice President – Global Corporate Affairs, Amazon Inc. said, “Promoting entrepreneurship among women has become a key focus area for companies everywhere – globally and in India. E-commerce and specifically the e-marketplace model is a great avenue for women entrepreneurs to benefit from the fast-growing digital economy. We are very encouraged by the creativity and drive we see among India’s women entrepreneurs and are excited to see how Saheli can inspire their innovative spirit.”
Amazon Saheli will be conducting extensive training and skill development workshops to help women entrepreneurs understand nuances related to online selling and, develop skills & capabilities necessary to grow their business on Amazon.in. The training workshops will comprise of sessions on listing of products, imaging & cataloging, packaging & shipping, inventory & account management and customer service to name a few. The workshops will be free of cost and will offer several exclusive benefits including assisted onboarding and mentorship programs. The program will subsequently be expanded to empower women through other programs offered by Amazon India like ATES (Amazon Trained E-commerce Specialists), SPN (Service Provider Network), IHS (I Have Space) and Udaan.
Amazon India conducted a pilot for Amazon Saheli in Nagaland earlier this year in association with NSDC and Government of Nagaland. Around 50 independent women entrepreneurs attended the workshop for a period of 2 days. All the participants were trained on different processes to take their products online.
Amazon India, over the course of one year, partnered with various government bodies like DC Handloom, Ministry of Textiles, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), Gujarat Tribal Development Department, Government of Telangana and The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development of India (TRIFED) to supplement the efforts of the government to uplift artisans & SMEs across the country. The company has created specialized training modules, conducted workshops with on-ground staff and shared learning resources to help them start & grow their businesses online.