The principal objectives of Kudumbashree are a)Identification of poor families, b) Organizing women from poor families into NHGs (Ayalkkoottams), c) Encouraging thrift and investment through credit by developing informal banks of the poor, and most importantly, d) Improving incomes of the poor through developing vocational and entrepreneurial skills and by creating opportunities for self/wage employment.
Micro Enterprises Development & Marketing
Micro Enterprises Development is an important strategy of Kudumbashree towards economic empowerment of women. All members of Kudumbashree are encouraged to start ‘Micro Enterprises’ using local recourses, and financial aid, skill training, handholding and marketing support provided by the Mission. Today, there are around 30,000 Micro Enterprises (including Animal Husbandry &Agri related livelihood groups), around 50,000 Joint Liability Groups (Farming), more than 60 Construction Units and 8 Producer Companies/Consortiums(Agri/AH/Dairy/Apparel/Nutrimix/IT). The Micro Enterprises include a) Service Providers to Govt. Departments. / Public, b) Suppliers to Govt. Departments/ Public, c) Production / Service Enterprises addressing social needs or grabbing new opportunities, d) Social Start Ups and e) Traditional women enterprises
Importance of designing appropriate marketing strategies from time to time for the success of Micro Enterprises needs no emphasis. Currently, around 75% of the products are sold directly to the customers through Monthly Markets, Trade Fairs & Exhibitions,Home Shops and/or at the production point itself. Around 10% of products are sold to retail dealers while a little less than 10% of products are sold to Government Departments/Agencies. The remaining percent of products are sold through marketing agencies and to retailers/wholesale dealers.
The system for Micro Enterprises Development includes both
- Entrepreneurship Development (Skilling & Management Services) and
- Enterprise Development (Technical, Financial & Marketing Services).
Entrepreneurship Development involves
- a) General Orientation in livelihoods to all new NHG members
- b) EDP Training
- c) Skill Training
- d) Performance Improvement Training
- e) Accounting Training
- f) Audit support by trained CRPs (KASS)
- g) Handholding by Micro Enterprise Consultants
Enterprise Development includes
- a) Start Up Capital & Interest Subvention
- b)Technology Fund / Technology Up-gradation Fund / Innovation Fund / Revolving Fund / Crisis Management Fund / Community Enterprises Fund
- c) Clustering
- d) Marketing Support.
Kudumbashree has already become a Women Brand with a distinct line of 1000+ specialty,
- a.Food products
- b.Personal care products
- e.Bags / Umbrella
With a unique selling proposition of Ethnicity, purity & trust
Food Products include
- 1.Flours / Masala / Curry Powder / Chutney Powder
- 2.Pickle / Squash / Jam / Juice
- 3.Payasam mix
- 4.Fried & Ready to eat food items – Banana chips, Mixture, Pakkavada etc
- 6.Cakes / Bakery items
- 7.Organic rice (different varieties, rice without removing bran)
- 8.Agriculture value added products etc
Personal Care Products include
- 1.Hair Oil
- 2.Herbal Skin Care Oil / Thailam, Massage Oil
- 3.Bath Soaps
- 4.Dental Powder
- 5.Face Pack
- 6.Thali Powder (Herbal hair wash powder), SnanaChoornam (Herbal bath powder) etc
Organisational support of the Kudumbashree Mission to the Micro Enterprises in marketing is mainly in the form of organizing Trade fairs. However, it could be seen that only 30% of the Micro Enterprises participate in Fairs due to lack of facilities to take the goods to the point of Trade Fairs, excess transportation cost, personal inconvenience of entrepreneurs in attending the fairs and absence of ensured sales. But it can be seen that considerable portion of the sales of Micro Enterprises that attend the fairs regularly are through such fairs. This highlights the necessity of regular Monthly Markets and Trade Fairs, not far away from the point of production.
To promote the market opportunities of Kudumbashree products and to provide a steady and stable income for Kudumbashree entrepreneurs, Monthly Markets were introduced in the year 2007. Monthly Markets are temporary markets (exclusively for Kudumbashree products and farm produce) organized at Panchayats, which will be conducted on fixed dates of each month at fixed locations in the premises of the respective Panchayats for a duration of not less than three consecutive days. To make the system of monthly markets more sustainable, efficient and effectively organized, Community Development Societies have been given one time financial assistance to procure basic infrastructure to conduct Monthly Markets.
As part of brand image development and to promote Kudumbashree products across the nation, Kudumbashree conducts and participates in various Trade Fairs across the State and the country.
Festival Fairs and Saras Fairs offer considerable market to Kudumbashree products. Currently, Festival Fairs are being conducted during Onam and Christmas at a large scale in almost all Panchayaths/ Municipalities/ Corporations. As the entire State slips in to a shopping mood during such festivals, Trade Fairs are found to be very successful.Other than Onam or Christmas Fairs, District Level Trade Fairs cum Food Fests are also been organized during other festivals or special seasons. Saras Fair is a landmark initiative of the Ministry of Rural Development for promoting rural products and building capacities of artisans and entrepreneurs. Saras Fairs are now major national events attracting both national and international interests. Understanding the tremendous opportunities that Saras fairs brings, Kudumbashree has made it a norm to organize Saras Fairs within the State and to mark its presence at all other Saras fairs hosted across the country (including other national fairs such as India International Trade Fair and Aajeevika Mela). Kudumbashree has groomed a marketing team specialised to participate in such fairs so that the representation of Kudumbashree and its entrepreneurs is ensured across all fairs. Kudumbashree presents an impressive range of rural products in these fairs which include handicrafts, spices, curry powders, pickles, food products, garments, artworks, personal care products, kitchen utensils and other items of daily use.
A major drawback of Micro Enterprises of Kudumbashree is that they are not able to concentrate more on production as they are entangled with the challenges of marketing their own products. Basically, marketing is to be done at a different place of production and to be conducted by a different group. Along with expansion of the production base of the Micro Enterprises, widening of the market network should be seriously considered. Hence, marketing intermediaries may be used in transferring the products from the hands of producers to the final consumers. Such marketing intermediaries compromise the distribution channel or supply chain. These distribution channels minimize the gap between point of production and point of consumption. The distribution channels are a vital constituent of aMicro Enterprise’s comprehensive marketing strategy. They assist in expanding the product reach and availability of products, as well as in increasing the revenue.
Currently, a unique model of distribution channel, namely ‘Home Shop’ is in place in Kudumbashree in some of the Districts. This concept was originated in Edakkara block in Thrissur district. They serve the role of retailers who buy the products from the manufacturers and then re-sell the products charging a specific rate of commission to other distributors - Home Shoppers who either directly sell the products to customers or through Home Shops. Home shops are community based distribution network that ensure steady income to the producers. Home shops has three basic factions, production faction (enterprises of local origin), marketing faction (Kudumbashree women called as home shopper, who markets the products from home and facilitate door to door delivery) and Operations and Administration department (Home shop Management Unit – oversee the logistics, supply and smooth operation of the Home shop system)
This model needs to be fine-tuned and expanded. Home Shop will define the customer base in the Block/District and locate the reliable sources of products. The establishment of regular flow of products from manufacturers to customers is the corner stone of this activity.
Direct sales at the point of production and Trade Fairs are the major platforms currently being utilized for marketing Kudumbashree products. Even though such direct sales by entrepreneurs themselves is possible only due to the low volume of production commensurate to the local demand, direct selling of goods has its own advantages like non-payment of commission to intermediaries. But once the level of production is augmented, this practice will not be effective to sell the products. Hence, a mix of direct sales to customers and sales through market outlets would be a more plausible option for Kudumbashree products. The success of Kudumbashree products even though sold only trough Trade Fairs shows that the customers are attracted to the products and there is scope for widening the market network. This highlights the necessity of Kudumbashree’s own common market outlets at conventional points, owned and operated by consortium of Micro Entrepreneurs. Since independent outlet for each ME is not workable, common outlets for the MEs in a locality is advisable business strategy. Process have been started by Kudumbashree to establish Kudumbashree Basaars in line with Supply Co Super Markets in all District Headquarters in 2017-18. Even though the market response to such permanent outlets is not known, it may be assumed that the main hindrance for the profitable operation of these outlets would be the lack of variety of goods to meet the demands of ordinary customers.
To create permanent marketing space for Kudumbashree products and to bring all Kudumbashree products under one common marketing outlet, Kudumbashree mission is initiating Kudumbashree bazaar – a single brand chain of outlets for all Kudumbashree products. 14 Kudumbashree bazaars, one per district and a series of Mini bazaars will be setup in districts to cater to the rising demand of Kudumbashree Products.
E-commerce is fast gaining ground as an accepted and used business paradigm in the State and elsewhere in the country. More and more business houses are launching ‘E-Commerce portals/web sites’ providing functionality for performing commercial transactions over the web. It is reasonable to say that the process of shopping on the web is becoming commonplace even in Kerala with an internet penetration of around 35% and increased consumer awareness.
‘Kudumbashreebazaar.com’ is the online exclusive E – Commerce portal of Kudumbashree, a general purpose e-store where Kudumbashree products (selected products) can be bought from the comfort of home through the Internet. The online portal will provide an online marketing platform for Kudumbashree products where customers can browse the catalog and select products of interest. Apart from Kudumbashree’s own portal, Kudumbashree products will be made available in Mahila E Haat, Amazon, Amazon Saheli, Flipkart etc.
When most online portals focus on large-scale and retail products, the vast segment of small-scale producers are left out and they do not get an opportunity to compete in the national or international market. Kudumbashree portal not only provide consumers with a variety of products of small scale producers at their doorstep, but also empower women entrepreneurs.
‘Cafe Kudumbashree’ is the common brand name for Kudumbashree catering units and Food Fests, which is one of the most successful ventures of Kudumbashree. Kudumbashree Food Fests organized as part of seasonal celebrations mainly showcase traditional food products from all over the State. The variety of products from snacks to biriyani and juices to payasam will titillate any foodie. The quirky names of dishes offered at these Food Fests are sure to tease one’s imagination even as mouthwatering smell permeates the air. Food Fests offer a platform to enterprising women as well as to offer the public a taste of homely unadulterated food. Kudumbashree also join hands with major trade exhibitions, in and around the country in a view to promote Café Kudumbashree, the food and hospitality brand of Kudumbashree, that caters the ethnic cuisine of Keralite taste.
District Missions facilitate district level food festivals. The district mission will bear the facilitation and infrastructure expenditure to conduct the food fest. The 20% of the sales turnover is collected from the participating café units as commission and will be utilized to conduct more number of food fests at the district level.