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From Struggling Artisan to Successful Entrepreneur: How Swakalpa Revived Radhakanta’s Handloom Business

Subarnapur, 07-05-2024 – Over 2 million handloom weavers in India struggle to keep their age-old craft alive due to limited market access and traditional business models. While there are various government schemes and initiatives aimed at supporting handloom weavers, implementation challenges and inadequate financial assistance often hinder their effectiveness.

Radhakanta, from Subarnapur Odisha, is one such weaver who devoted 13 years of his life to the heritage of weaving and yet found himself struggling with the harsh realities of sustaining a handloom business. The lack of market connections and entrepreneurial guidance made it difficult to sell his products. Also, a major hurdle to his business expansion was the lack of credit access.

Navigating these difficulties posed a great challenge to Radhakanta until Swakalpa entered his life. He received training and mentorship guidance about different aspects of setting up a handloom enterprise. The program also supported him in legal assistance with Udyam Aadhar registration and business modeling.

With the right guidance, Radhakanta established his enterprise, Radhakanta Handloom. He also secured a loan of INR 50,000 from the Bank of Baroda enabling him to acquire essential machinery for scaling his operations.

He received support in formulating branding strategies, cataloging, and creative marketing to showcase his craftsmanship to a wider audience. Swakalpa also facilitated market linkages through exhibitions, bulk buyers, and e-commerce platforms. The program linked him with esteemed brands like Tisser India and Dunguripali Farmers Producers Company which significantly expanded his business reach.

Presently, his business boasts an annual turnover of 5 LPA, yielding a net profit of 1.5 Lacs. Serving as a beacon of hope within his community, his enterprise has created employment opportunities for two individuals. Swakalpa has connected him with technology like Kosha AI which helps in authenticating his products and getting fair prices for his hard work. Swakalpa also linked him with Bharat Pe giving him access to a unified QR code for seamless payment solutions.

“I am proud of uplifting my family, community, and my State through our traditional craft,” says Radhakanta, beaming with pride over his handloom products.

Swakalpa is a self-employment training and entrepreneurship development programme, led by the Odisha Skill Development Authority and World Skill Center, funded by Asian Development Bank, and implemented by Palladium India. It aims to train 10,000 youths in self-employment and establish 1,000 micro-businesses in Odisha, with a focus on ensuring 25% female participation. 

About Editor in chief

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.
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