Udyogini, was registered in 1992 as a non-profit Society under the Societies Act 1860 to provide microenterprise management training to NGO staff and poor women mobilized by them in the states of Rajasthan, Bihar and Orissa. Its vision is to increase economic and social benefits to poor women in backward states of India. Its mission it to be a nationally and internally recognized provider of Business Development Services to poor women. It has FCRA registration and Income Tax exemption as well. Established with World Bank support, it had trained 300 NGO staff and 3000 women till 1996. Many of the NGOs trained are well known and have established enterprise programs for many years now. They are distinguished alumni of Udyogini’s training. Udyogini expanded its repertoire of business services to include marketing support to some of its NGO partners and alumni, particularly in the crafts sector. It organized exhibitions for and opened a small retail outlet in Delhi to sell the crafts of its partners. It also provided exhibition and event management services in the craft sector in Rajasthan to emerging entrepreneurs some of whom are now established exporters and small retailers. Udyogini has established enterprise promotion field programs for women embroiderers in Bikaner, Rajasthan; tribal women forest and agricultural producers in Mandla, Madhya Pradesh; and urban slum women migrants in Saharanpur, UP. The field programs are headed by team leaders operating out of field offices. It has separate support offices for Business Development Services for the field programs and state-wide clients in Jaipur, Jabalpur and Dehradun and fees are charged for services provided by these offices. It is a member of the All India Association of Craftworkers and Artisans (AIACA), a support institution. Products made by the women embroiderers of Bikaner supported by Udyogini bear the Craftmark certification obtained through AIACA. It has nearly 60 staff, mostly located in the state offices. Udyogini is headed by a Chief Executive Officer and its operations are managed by a Chief Operating Officer. It has a separate BDS Manager in Delhi who forms the BDS team with BDS managers of its BDS centres. Udyogini is funded by international donors, government of India and also corporates who provide small grants.
Udyogini’s programs are capacity-building and market development for poor women’s microenterprises. It activities in Mandla are: savings and credit for 150 women enterprise groups (WEGs) in 75 villages of four blocks; linkages with NABARD bank-linkage scheme to enable women to invest in enterprises; strengthening of WEGs for aggregation of agricultural and forest produce at the village level; cluster level trading centre operations for storing and trading aggregated produce; processing centers for oil, flour and pulses; microenterprise management training curriculum development, training materials development, training program delivery for grassroots women business development service providers (BDSPs), Udyogini staff and staff of other NGOs and government personnel; strengthening of women producers institution called UJAS that manages the trading and processing centers through the BDSPs; leadership development of the President of UJAS, a tribal woman, through a stipend fellowship that divests her of the responsibility of working as an agricultural labourer for one year so that she can concentrate on visioning and leading UJAS; selection of the President of UJAS as a member of the governing board of Udyogini to ensure that the Mandla program is responsive and accountable to producers. Udyogini’s Business Development Services (BDS) Centres, provide fee-based technical, financial and market services (research, information, training, workshops, referrals) to UJAS, to staff from other NGOs, to other producers’ organizations and market traders/small entrepreneurs in the sub-region.
Udyogini was established through a World-Bank grant meant for such a facility. Its clients and stakeholders for its BDS services have been other NGO staff (such as SEWA), government staff (in World Bank funded projects such as the District Poverty Initiatives Projects in Rajasthan and MP), self-help group leaders (from SEWA and Avani), NGO networks (Indo-Global Social Service Society), microfinance networks (Friends of Women’s World Banking), donor organizations (Oxfam, Action Aid, UNIFEM, Ford Foundation, DFID), corporates (ITC Ltd), producer companies (Aharam Producer Company, Tamil Nadu) and individual entrepreneurs (textiles and agricultural commodity trade) in the states of Orissa, Bihar, Gujarat, AP, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, UP and Madhya Pradesh. Thus it has demonstrated outreach capability to a larger number and variety of clients which will ensure sustainability. Udyogini has initiated business initiatives with community-based organizations in the additional MP districts of Seoni, Raisen and Chhindwara under a recently-won bid from a World Bank-funded project to the government of MP forest department. Udyogini’s BDS work (encompassing a widening repertoire of business services and client base) is an extension and expansion of its recognized core competency in enterprise training for local-level business promoters and producers.