It’s curtains for Mahila Mall in Kozhikode

Mahila Mall was opened in November, 2018, in Kozhikode with an aim to promote women entrepreneurs.   | Photo Credit: K. Ragesh

Mahila Mall in Kozhikode, claimed to be the first mall in Asia with an all-women crew, will be shut down soon as the Unity Group of the Kozhikode Corporation Kudumbashree that has been managing the venture is unlikely to renew the contract, which will expire in June, with the building owners. Secretary of the Unity Group K. Vijaya said that a few entrepreneurs, who are still remaining in the mall, were not ready to function under the Unity Group.

The mall was opened in November 2018 with an aim to promote women entrepreneurs and provide a permanent platform to professional ventures under the Kudumbashree fold. More than 70 women entrepreneurs had set up shops in the mall at that time, but despite the initial popularity, the mall failed to attract customers. The entrepreneurs locked horns with the management over failed publicity efforts and the rest is history.

The exodus of entrepreneurs started just a few months after the mall began functioning, and before the national lockdown in March 2020, most of the entrepreneurs had left the mall in search of greener pastures. The Kozhikode Corporation had initially claimed to have no connection with the mall, but during the last part of the previous council, then Mayor Thottathil Raveendran had convened meetings of entrepreneurs and had tried to resolve the issue by lowering the rent. However, the lockdown and lack of business had caught up with the entrepreneurs who expressed their wish to continue in the mall, but with a change of management.

The Unity group had converted the top floors of the mall into a Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana training centre and hostel for trainees around 18 months ago, which was opposed by the entrepreneurs. The training centre was then shifted to the old corporation building near the beach.

The mall may continue to function under a different management, but will certainly lose its speciality of being a ‘Mahila Mall’.

“We could have gone ahead despite odds if the entrepreneurs supported us,” Ms. Vijaya said, adding that Mahila Mall certainly served its purpose, that of creating more women entrepreneurs. “All those entrepreneurs who left the mall have not dropped business, but moved elsewhere,”she added.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 12:34:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/its-curtains-for-mahila-mall-in-kozhikode/article34542966.ece

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