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"You Cannot Start a Business, Stay at Home." Three Women Say "Not Anymore!"

When Sarvari told her husband that she was eager to run her own business, her husband responded, “You cannot start a business. You’re meant to be at home. This kind of work requires strength and intelligence and is meant for men.” How often do aspiring women entrepreneurs hear this? The Buzz Vyapar Program was started for this reason - to support women who want to follow their dreams, to break gender barriers that women entrepreneurs deal with, and to enable them to take charge of their own lives.

Sarvari, Suzanna Begum and Khushu live in Yelachahalli, Hosakote taluk, Bangalore Rural District. All three of them come from families who are agricultural labourers. After completing the Buzz Vyapar training in December 2021, they immediately started their own independent businesses. Sarvari began her own tailoring business which earned her Rs. 6000 a month while Suzanna Begum and Khushu ran their own incense stores which earned them Rs. 1500 a month each.

Sarvari was always concerned with the amount of waste that the local factories produced and would often discuss how to resolve this with Suzanna and Khushu. This catapulted into them deciding to start their own Scrap Merchant business, which means that the three of them would partner with a local factory to recycle their waste and sell the products made out of it.

On enquiring, they first found a factory they could partner with. But it required them to pay an advance of Rs 20 lakhs to the factory. This outrageous amount was beyond what they had imagined and this disheartened them. A short while later, they learnt about a furniture factory in their village that was willing to partner with them for a payment of Rs. 75000, which was also just the amount of money they had.

They received a lot of discontent and unsupportive criticism from their families because their work was perceived as “uncouth” and “unladylike”. While discussing this with the Buzz Field Associate, Sangeetha, Sarvari asked, “What about all the agricultural labour we do? That is also physical work.” This made the three of them realise that the difficulty that their families had in accepting them as business entrepreneurs was due to the fact that they would now step out of their homes to run their business unlike with tailoring and incense-stick making, which they did within the walls of their homes. To this the three women said, “The Shakti is in us and we are going to show everyone who thinks otherwise.”

Sangeetha joined the three women in convincing their families. They pooled in, using all of the savings they collectively had, which summed up to Rs 75,000 exactly. Now there was no looking back, they began their business in July 2023.

Surprising everyone, within just three months of starting their business, they have made a profit of Rs. 30,000! Sarvari, who is the only full-time partner in this business, earns Rs. 18,000 per month in addition to the money she earns from tailoring. Suzanna and Khushu work part-time who each earn Rs. 6000 per month.

Their business idea and model is unique and impactful because it is sustainable for them economically and environmentally. They are doing a lot of good for their community by reutilising the enormous amount of waste the factory produces to make items like bottles and bags.

The Buzz Vyapar program was designed with this in mind - to tap the untapped potential and ideas that women possess. These three women enjoyed the program because a sense of solidarity was established when they witnessed other keen and interested women who saw possibilities that were beyond what was written for them. Now they’re writing their own futures. In the future that Saravari, Suzanna Begum and Khushu have written for themselves, they’re going to own a godown within a year!

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