Tata Chemical Society for Rural Development (TCSRD), started by Tata Chemicals to initiate and support community development programmes, is training community members to promote entrepreneurship in Dwarka.
This effort has given birth to two new businesses in the district, Dwarkesh Foods Foundation, run solely by women and NIRANTAR Group Masala unit, run by the differently abled community members.
The units had a grand opening ceremony today, on the occasion of Founders Day, a day to commemorate the birth anniversary of the industry legend and visionary, Sir Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata.
The opening ceremony was attended by dignitaries such as Pabubha Manek, MLA, Jitubha Manek, Member Dwarka Nagar Palika, and Tata Chemicals’ representatives, N Kamath Vice President (Manufacturing), Tata Chemicals and Alka Talwar, Chief – CSR & Sustainability, who joined the event virtually.
TCSRD through its Rural Entrepreneurship Development Programme (REDP) aims to create an inclusive ecosystem. This programme imparted holistic training to these community members, focused on food processing techniques, technical and mechanical training to operate machines, and on hygiene and safety procedures to be followed.
“Protecting, nurturing and uplifting communities has been the defining goal of TCSRD. These entrepreneurial ventures are a testament to our efforts to create an inclusive environment that gives opportunities to all. The drive to learn and become financially, and socially independent that these community members have exhibited, encourages us to further our community development initiatives. We would like to express our gratitude to the Dwarka Municipality who supported us with the space to set up plants in their premises and the Department of Social Security for helping us connect with members of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) group.”, said Ms. Alka Talwar, Chief – CSR & Sustainability.
Dwarkesh Foods Foundation, a section 8 company owned and run by 10 women from Self Help Groups (SHGs) will manufacture snacks and offer a line of 18 different products with varied taste and flavours of Okhamandal. This social initiative aimed at women empowerment is supported by TCSRD and District Industrial Commission (DIC), Khambalia. The production unit with a capacity of 400kg/day was set up collaboratively by the women with a total investment of Rs. 45 lakhs, out of which Rs 10 lakhs were invested by the women and Rs. 25 lakhs from DIC.
Dwarkesh Foods Foundation as a venture began in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, but TCSRD motivated and guided the women to complete all legal and regulatory requirements online, including GST registration, FSSAI certification, Section 8 incorporation certification etc.
With the rise of Dwarkesh Food Foundation came the requirement of ingredients such as besan and other masalas. To supply ingredients for producing food, the NIRANTAR Group Masala unit was set up with an investment of Rs. 3.5 lakhs from TCSRD. The unit will be run and managed by 11 differently abled community members, an idea that stems from TCSRD’s efforts to foster an equal opportunity environment. The unit has two processing machines and has a production capacity of 100 kg/hour.
Furthermore, to scale up the ventures, the unit members were also given training in marketing and branding, given the importance of communication and from October 2020, the women have been going from village to village in the district to market their products. Going forward, the businesses will aim to expand further and reach out to a larger market across India.
These community members have not only shown the spirit of true empowerment but are also an inspiration to other members. Moreover, these two models will create a circular value chain, from producing raw materials to manufacturing final goods to sales in the Okhamandal region, giving an impetus to the ‘Vocal for Local’ vision.