2018: A toast to entrepreneurs
From supporting small businesses, launching Make in India startups online, reviving Indian arts to empowering women to own and manage viable businesses, Amazon has pioneered some interesting and successful initiatives to make 2018 a great year for entrepreneurs.
We look back at some stories that have inspired us with their ideology, business acumen and how they have changed the way we do business in India.
Local, Global, Glocal- blurring lines
The spark of an idea, or a garage experiment now has a great go-to-market vehicle in Amazon which has transformed balance sheets favorably for many start-ups. Entrepreneurs of small businesses can now reach customers anywhere in the world without any barriers. Like a Manish will tell you about how he transformed his 200 sq ft office full of natural herbs into a booming business that now sells to the US, UK and Japan through Amazon. A Roli Bhatt founded Adaayaa, is a home grown acompany that makes compostable Palm Leaf or Areca dinnerware. Her biggest challenge was navigating the unknown variables and intermediaries in the export market. She signed up with Amazon’s export partnership, and in 10 days her products were sold out in the US directly to customers.
Amazon gives products indigenous to India an opportunity to be on a level playing field with international brands and meet competition head on. Make in India seller Manjeet gave his two-decade old electronics business Tronica a facelift with a new online presence that has helped him overcome the stiff competition he faced from Chinese made products.
In fact the Small and Medium Businesses did excedingly well in the Great Indian Festival too:
Social, Sustainable and Savvy
Social enterprises were the order of the day this year and Amazon has played its part in propelling this phenomenon. Amazon Launchpad recently onboarded Phool, a brand conceived by Ankit Agarwal that makes incense sticks out of temple floral waste. They now sell an incense stick every minute online! LIFAFFA, a brand that fashions bags and accessories from upcycled rags, employs ex-ragpickers providing them a dignified livelihood and empowering them. The problems of waste management and poverty has been tackled with some savvy innovation and business smarts inspiring many to follow suit.
Women take charge
Living in a village trying to make ends meet, a housewife with an idea or a craftswoman with a skill she wants to use, every story is different but every one of these stories saw success with Amazon Saheli. Paliben now makes products at Gitanjali Stationery, Purnima is a supervisor at I Was A Sari and Hansiba has a fashion brand named after her. 2018 saw Amazon Saheli partner with many more NGOs from around India, allowing women entrepreneurs and artisans access to Amazon’s vast customer base and logistical infrastructure.
They Came, They Saw, They Revived
Handlooms and Handicrafts are celebrated on Amazon. The Khatri family have successfully revived the ancient and complicated Ajrakh block printing process. Rogan art is a lesser known form of painting on cloth. Mr. Abdul Gaffor practices this craft and hopes to train enough people and sell this art the world over. These artforms are able to reach more people and sell without middlemen, making it more profitable because of their presence on Amazon.
I Have Space
Kirana stores are the hallmark of the Indian ecosystem. What if they were given the opportunity for a secondary income as well as to attract more customer footfalls? This is exactly what Amazon does with I Have Space. Kirana stores are transformed into the last mile delivery partners and pick up points for Amazon in small neighborhoods giving the owners a scope for growth they didn’t know existed!
2018 was full of stories that inspired us to think big. Small enterprises can reach more people today, think of selling globally, turn a profit in a short span of time and receive logistical support. Amazon is breaking new ground and making ‘success’ an accessible dream for entrepreneurs!