By Yuvraj Malik Mint, New Delhi
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Amazon India has launched a series of workshops to familiarize women entrepreneurs across the country with the benefits of e-commerce. The workshops will train women and provide a dedicated storefront to sell products on Amazon.in called "The Saheli Shop."
Amazon timed the announcement with the opening of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad on Tuesday, which has women entrepreneurship as its central theme.
This initiative, called Amazon Saheli, is being rolled out in partnership with non-government social service entities Self-Employed Women Association (SEWA) and Impulse Social Enterprise.
The e-commerce firm will look to tap women associated with the two NGOs and woo potential women sellers through benefits like subsidized product cataloging, imaging, packaging and courier services, besides basic online training.
"We at SEWA believe in young women's' entrepreneurship using e-commerce. With minimal cost, e-commerce gives you reach to newer markets nationally and internationally... SEWA is happy to partner with Amazon which share the same vision to not only provide women entrepreneurs access to millions of new customers and become economically secured and will generate employment opportunities for many more young women," said Reema Nanavati, a social worker and founder at SEWA.
Gopal Pillai, director and general manager for seller services at Amazon India, said he expected the program to reach about 20,000 women entrepreneurs over the next few months. Amazon is also open more partnerships with women-focused agencies to expand the scope of the program, he added.
"We will initially conduct workshops at SEWA centers in Gujarat, Rajasthan and other areas where SEWA has a presence. SEWA is a prestigious institution that, in its over a decade of existence, has supported over 19 lakh women entrepreneurs," Pillai said.
The program will subsequently be expanded to empower women through other programs offered by Amazon India like ATES (Amazon Trained E-commerce Specialists), SPN (Service Provider Network), IHS (I Have Space) and Udaan, the company said.
Amazon said it held pilots for Amazon Saheli over the last several months where it on-boarded a small number of women sellers to initially kickstart The Saheli Shop webpage.
The special storefront is meant to feature products such as handicrafts, apparel, handbags and home décor items produced locally by women.
The move is part of an effort by Amazon India to feature and market differentiated products by a demarcated category of sellers on specially designed storefronts on Amazon.in.
The other such category is hardware and food products by start-ups featured on Amazon Launchpad webpage.