The Experience of Pilot E- Business Project. (Enhancing income and economic opportunities through Textile Handicrafts) Kinzang Tobgyal Project Manager Ministry of Trade & Industry Outline of the presentation: Brief on the project Women Participation in the project Achievements of the project Challenges in women entrepreneurship development Opportunities in women entrepreneurship development Internet & Textile products Rural Women Cooperatives-opportunities Brief on the project: The pilot E-Business project was formalized & signed in October 2003 with funding from WIDF & UNDP with funding of US$212,180/-. The project is implemented by PPD in the two project sites of Khoma and Radhi in eastern Bhutan. The project has extensive collaboration with National Handloom Development Centre, Handicrafts Emporium and the rural weavers. Brief on the project continued: Overall objective: Economic empowerment of rural women through expanded economic opportunities. Strategies: Empower rural women by skills intervention in terms of product development, product diversification, quality improvement and branding of the hand woven textiles. Networking of the rural women artisans. Brief on the project continued: Provide market access for the artisans products. Strengthen the intermediary level of handicraft traders. Provide access to raw materials such as yarns, dyes through private public partnerships. Study the modalities and feasibility of e- business. Women participation in the project: Weaving as an art is predominantly carried out by women. A total of 43 rural weavers are registered as members in the project. Two weavers Groups have been formed based on location and product type. The management & administration of the groups are being done by the weavers themselves. Women participation in the project: These weavers are trained on product diversification, natural dyes, creative weaving & dyeing, designing and product adaptation. Since the initiation of the project, a new range of products have emerged in the market leading to enhanced income. The formation of the groups have ensured the continuity of the project activities and these 2 Groups are currently involved in supplying textile products to the Handicrafts Emporium. Women participation in the project: Apart from the registered weavers, another 205 weavers were trained on various aspects of product development. Another 66 women (not necessarily weavers) were trained on business planning, Group formation and marketing. As of now the registered members have requested the Ministry for assistance in formation of Cooperatives. Women in Bhutan are generally hardworking and can take up any business challenges given the right atmosphere. Project achievements Training on natural dyes and processes Product Development & Designing workshop/training Creative Weaving Training Creative Dyeing Training Creative Weaving & Dyeing Training: (for western and central Dzongkhags) Pricing and costing analysis workshop for handicraft traders. Project achievements Establishment of Yarn Bank at NHDC- The recovery rate as of now is almost 100%. Formation of rural weavers group in both the project sites. Plantation of natural dyes in both the project sites. Over 50 contemporary products were developed using traditional designs. Was awarded the SEAL of EXCELLENCE by UNESCO for 2 products out of 4 submitted. Project achievements Successfully established linkages between rural weavers, NHDC and Handicrafts Emporium. Supported production infrastructure to NHDC, Handicrafts Emporium and rural weavers. Developed a website for the Handicrafts Emporium (www.colorsofbhutan.org) As of now the rural weavers from both the project sites, the NHDC and Handicrafts Emporium have earned a net profit of US $ 58,000/-. Project Achievements In order to provide rural weavers & traders market exposure and networking opportunities, the project participated trade fairs and study missions abroad. Singapore Fringe Festival- Participated by officials from MTI, Handicrafts Emporium, Textile Museum and a rural weaver. • Gave opportunity for the designers from Singapore to create contemporary products using fabrics from Bhutan. • Live demonstrations were held to showcase weaving skills and techniques. • Networking of Handicrafts Emporium and designers initiated. Project achievements Study Mission to Chang Mai, Thailand. Attended by Handicrafts Emporium, NHDC, Rural weavers and MTI. • Visited various textile production centers, dyeing houses and textile outlets. • Attended short sessions on dyeing methods and designing. • Attended the Seal of Excellence judgment as observer. • The mission was successful as some products were replicated and also plantations of dyes were undertaken. Project achievements Santa Fe Folk Art Market- The project by then has developed over 50 product ranges and it was appropriate to participate in such festival. • Provided a platform for test marketing of the new products. • Out of the 96 products taken almost 90% were sold. • Attended short training on costing and quality analysis. • Provided recommendations on market needs which guided the production in project sites. Women entrepreneurship development- Challenges! Traditionally perceived as home maker often playing “Dual Role”. Lack of Policy focus on enterprise development. Small domestic market and weak entrepreneurial base. Nascent stage of promotional institutions. Low literacy level among women population. Lack of financial resources, often rural credit requires collateral security. Sector specific constraints. Women entrepreneurship development- Opportunities! Increasing importance given to private sector development by the government. Recognition of women’s role in the national economy. Huge potential for micro, small and medium enterprises. Fairly broad based traditional knowledge and skills. Weaving is a way of life for majority of the rural women in Bhutan. Women entrepreneurship development- Opportunities! The image of Bhutan in international market as environmental hotspot –inflow of high class tourists. The emergence of business development service providers such as BPS, AMS and schemes introduced by FIs. Niche products for high end markets. Internet & Textile Products The use of internet has huge potential for developing and promoting textile products. However selling of textile products through E- Business project (Online) has been hindered due to the following: Lack of policy/laws on e-commerce/e- business Lack of online payment system/credit cards Inability to touch and feel the textures of textile products Internet & Textile Products Variation in colors of product on the web and the actual product Low usage of ICT within the handicraft sector Handicrafts as a whole is highly informal sector Lack of focal agency for the overall development of handicraft sector. Rural Women Cooperatives-Opportunities Huge potential for poverty alleviation in the rural areas Information sharing and skills transfer Better access to market (collective marketing) Sourcing of raw materials Enhanced productivity Thank you!
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