Guwahati, Jul 18 (PTI) The crisis caused by the
COVID-19 pandemic hit North Eastern women entrepreneurs ,
disrupting their supply and marketing chains, forcing them to
move towards digital marketplaces.
The entrepreneurs are now mainly focusing on digital
marketing, diversifying distribution channels, adjusting the
product/service offering, re-adapting operation, and revising
the pricing strategies to turn the COVID-19 induced challenges
within their business environment into opportunities, a report
by Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit
(GIZ) in partnership with the Union Ministry of Skill
Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), said.
The primary economic impact of the pandemic on women
entrepreneurs was muted demand of customers, delivery
constraints, a crowded online marketplace, and changed
The report titled ”Women Entrepreneurs”-Resilience in
times of COVID-19 is a part of GIZs ongoing project of ”Her
and Now-Empowering Women Entrepreneurs”.
“Women in the North East have been more significantly
affected due to geographical and infrastructural conditions
and the ease of doing business there is lower as compared to
the other states with the pandemic induced disruptions hitting
them harder”, project head Ullas Marar said.
Limited infrastructure, lack of regulations, and
competition in transportation services made it difficult for
the entrepreneurs to connect with the rest of the country, she
Many entrepreneurs had to put production on hold as raw
materials were not available and women associated with the
food processing industry faced significant hurdles during the
Inventory management posed another challenge and its
impact was mostly felt in the sectors of food processing,
textiles, and handloom, and handicrafts, the report said.
During the lockdown, low demand and limited market
access made it difficult to sell the produce and stock up new
items, resulting in piled-up inventory, overcrowded
warehouses, and reduced liquidity.
“Lockdowns were imposed at short notice, leaving no
time to secure the inventory and we were not able to access
the warehouses for regular inspections, which resulted in huge
quantities of perished food products”, Manipur-based food
processing entrepreneur Laishram Prabha Devi said.
In the initial days of the pandemic, marketing posed
a major challenge to entrepreneurs and the most dynamic
changes have been observed in this sector with women making
efforts to create a digital space to market their products.
“Redesigning the distribution strategy was essential
for most women entrepreneurs to guide their businesses through
the pandemic and a majority of them pivoted to online
distribution channels”, according to the report.
Social media turned out to be very useful for selling
products or services with Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp
becoming the most prominent platforms due to the ease of
transaction and high usability of customers.
Beyond social media, several women entrepreneurs created
their online store, enabling them to serve customers on a more
structured approach, providing a clear overview of the product
range, options for online payment, and transparency on terms
Collaborations with e-commerce platforms served as
another approach for continuing and extending distribution
networks and provided the opportunity to extend business
reach, to serve customers pan-India, and reduced the level of
technical knowledge required compared to hosting a private
website, the report pointed out.
“To survive in the post-pandemic world, there is only
one way-adapting and evolving”, said Alaka Patowary, a
handloom and textile entrepreneur from Assam.
Many entrepreneurs also made adjustments to the
product or services offered as there is a need to “rethink,
redevelop and redesign products so that they can find a place
in the essential commodities segment”, Tripura- based
handicrafts entrepreneur Anjana Bhattacharjee said.
“It is undoubtedly the need of the hour to prepare for a
future that is sustainable and structurally more viablewe
have spent more than a year in response mode. Now is the time
for recovery, to ensure that our business is ready to thrive”,
Assam- based entrepreneur Daisy Brahma said. PTI DG
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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