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A 52-Year-Old Rural Woman Does Market Study, Starts A Business and is All Set to Scale

Can someone transform their life in their 50s? When 52-year-old Rathnamma told her family that she wants to do something on her own, her son asked her to sit at home and not venture out into the unknown. But how could she do that anymore after realizing that she could script her own story?

After taking Buzz Women’s Self Shakti training in 2019, Rathnamma convinced her family and started a cloth business. Unfortunately, Covid played spoilsport and she had to give it up. But the pandemic couldn’t dampen her spirits. Post the pandemic, when she found out about the Vyapar training, Rathnamma immediately enrolled herself.

The failure of the first initiative gave her a perspective on what she needed from the training. Rathnamma eagerly absorbed all the concepts of how to build a business, market products and find connections to scale. She curiously asked a lot of questions and by the end of the training, she decided she would start a masala powder business.

This time Rathnamma would not start the business blindly. She wanted to do a lot of groundwork. Will there be demand? How will I find customers? How do I market the products? With these and many more questions, she approached Nagalatha, our field level Facilitator for the Vyapar programme.

Nagalatha gave her inputs on how Rathnamma could do a basic market study to find out if there is a demand for masala powders. She also told Rathnamma that beginning the business in her own village, among her own friends and relatives, could be the first step.

The seriousness with which Rathnamma approached her business showed – she went out to the village and enquired about what masala powders are people buying, will people be open to buying her products and more. Having found out about her market, she started with Sambar powder. Her friends and relatives bought, they referred her to more people and soon she got orders as big as 25 kgs. She now employs two women from the village and has been making profits of Rs 5000 every month. And now the chance to scale up has come knocking on her doors.

Seeing how effectively Rathnamma started the business and marketed her products, the local Sthree Shati Self-Help Group has offered to support her in buying a machine for making the powders. The machinery costs Rs 3 lakhs and the Sthree Shakti group is willing to invest 1.5 lakhs. For the rest of the funds, the group inspired her to apply for a subsidy from the Gandhi Krishi Vigyana Kendra (GKVK). Seeing how much confidence the Sthree Shakti Group has shown in her by itself is a great recognition for Rathnamma’s entrepreneurial skills.

She hopes that the funds come through and she can scale her business. And she humbly proves that yes, you can transform your life, whatever be the age.

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