rural
FMCG

Project Shakti: Enhancing livelihoods through micro-entrepreneurship

Over 160,000 Shakti entrepreneurs work with the FMCG giant in 18 states. They have the authority to market HUL's products both directly to local residents' doorsteps and to small retail stores in their nearby villages
Project Shakti: Enhancing livelihoods through micro-entrepreneurship
Project Shakti: Enhancing livelihoods though micro-entrepreneurship

Women in Indian villages can develop an entrepreneurial mindset and achieve financial independence thanks to Project Shakti. In accordance with this concept, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) imparts training to the female micro-entrepreneurs in rural areas known as Shakti Ammas, on the fundamentals of distribution and become familiar with HUL brands. Shakti Ammas have the authority to market HUL’s products both directly to local residents’ doorsteps and to small retail stores in their nearby villages.

The Shakti micro-entrepreneurs are coached by HUL’s team of Rural Sales Promoters (RSPs) to better run their enterprises. This involves instruction in fundamentals and problem-solving techniques as well as improving their communication and negotiation skills.

By hiring and training sales representatives from villages, the FMCG giant also assists in providing Shakti entrepreneurs with training in sales, marketing, and accounting. Technology integration has made it possible for Shakti entrepreneurs to directly transmit incentives to their banks, assisting them in breaking into the mainstream banking sector.

In order to empower Shakti Ammas to bring about a good change in their villages, HUL is currently aiming to make a bigger social effect by holding workshops on nutrition awareness, garbage recycling, women’s empowerment, and other topics.

Covid-19 resilience

During Covid-19 lockdown, HUL’s key concern was to support Shakti entrepreneurs in remote rural areas as travel limitations disrupted the distribution and delayed its operations. The FMCG company’s regional sales teams and distributors established cutting-edge methods of demand capture and fulfilment for the Shakti channel to guarantee a continuous supply of stock to Shakti entrepreneurs. The company swiftly made the changeover to telephoning for order taking and made sure to efficiently meet rural demand for key products.

In addition to receiving hygiene kits and training on good hygiene habits, HUL’s rural sales promoters also received a Covid-19 care package as part of their medical insurance coverage. The rural sales promoters went beyond their typical responsibilities to support Shakti Ammas by spreading information about handwashing and preserving appropriate hygiene throughout the pandemic. To ensure their well-being, the company also built up a mobile application with a daily monitoring procedure.

Impact

Over 160,000 Shakti entrepreneurs work with the FMCG giant in 18 states. The livelihoods, self-assurance, and self-esteem of rural women with improved skills and entrepreneurial mindsets have been significantly done by Project Shakti.

Read more: Axis Bank, PayNearby partner to take banking services to rural areas

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