Handicraft business is an age-old means of earning for the people in and around my village. However, it has remained a secondary source of income because the middleman purchased the finished handicrafts at nominal prices while selling them at a fat margin. The situation was similarly dismal in most of the nearby villages engaged in other small-scale businesses as the attempts to negotiate higher prices with the middle agent had failed in the past.
Though I worked in a corporate environment in India, the sufferings of my village people kept me restless and I tried negotiating a fresh deal that again ended in a deadlock. Nonetheless, the meeting highlighted areas of self-improvement such as the lack of comprehensive understanding of different business functions and the importance of business networking. As a learning, I grabbed every opportunity to gain hands-on functional knowledge on the commercial side of the business. Later when I moved to Kuwait, my experience was amplified as I managed high-value contracts and interacted with international vendor companies. During my stint in the gulf, I also witnessed a lucrative market for handicrafts that sold at higher prices. I was fortunate to establish friendly terms with my Kuwaiti colleagues from business families who owned large retail merchandise outlets and were very interested in Indian handicrafts.
I realized that an uninterrupted supply of Indian handicrafts to the bigger middle eastern market would not only fetch a higher price to the craftsmen but also eliminate the middleman from the entire process. However, to pursue my entrepreneurial idea effectively, I want to build skills in broader business functions relevant in the Indian context while also establish local contacts to unify a wider supply network of handicrafts operating remotely in other Indian villages and towns apart from mine. A stronger supply would cater to the high demand in the middle east as well as create fresh markets, building a more sustainable handicraft business for Indian villages. Apart from learning at ISB, I want to network with other businesses and interact with government bodies at the ‘Centre For Innovation And Entrepreneurship’ to further refine my business plan. The ‘Bridge to India Scholarship’ would expedite the fulfillment of my business idea by reducing the financial obligations for myself and my family. Saving the scholarship amount, I want to invest in setting up a network of handicraft warehouses, which could cater seamlessly to the overseas buyers.