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The network of women

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Wobeda offers a complete package to start a small scale industry. At meetings, newcomers are full of questions — How to start a small scale industry? What is a viable project? How to approach the government? Wobeda provides the answers. “We begin from scratch. We guide them right from how to prepare a project report, approach banks for loans, avail of Government subsidies, manage accounts and human resources. We get the bankers and auditors to talk to them. And, guide them on how to get a licence to run the unit, export-import procedures … and provide marketing support by helping them participate in exhibitions,” explains Sudha.

Along with regular sessions on EDP, they also conduct motivation classes. The members meet and share their experience every month at MSME office on Patel Road. S.R. Padma, joint-secretary of Wobeda, recalls her 15-year-journey fondly. “I started making fur dolls as a hobby with an investment of Rs. 85. Today, it’s my livelihood. I employ six people at my unit. I also cater to the customers in the U.S. and U.K. through agents in Tirupur and Karur. The contacts I got through Wobeda helped in the growth of my business.”

Wobeda’s vice-president K. Malligaa runs a unit in Thudiyalur. “With arecanut sheaths we make cups, plates and trays. Locally, I supply to temples, marriages and festive occasions. I also take export orders now,” she says. Sudha runs a hand embroidery unit that specialises in designer blouses and saris. “We empower middle class women by turning them into entrepreneurs. We encourage a lot of group activity and bond as a team. There is collective growth and we feel confident,” adds Sudha.

And, their only advice to homemakers is, “Stop watching TV, especially mega serials. Use the free time productively and start a business venture.”

Wobeda has a shop at the SHG Complex in Town Hall that sells products of members. It is a registered NGO and has no outside funding. A life membership costs Rs. 1,500.

For details, call 98946-08670, 98432-54715 and 98422-20535.

PHOTOS (CENTRESPREAD & COVER): K. ANANTHAN &

M. PERIASAMY

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