A solar power company delivering viable electricity solutions through decentralised renewable energy mini-grids, wanted to spur socio-economic growth in rural and semi-urban areas. They wanted to create an ecosystem to encourage this segment of people to become entrepreneurs on the back of reliable supply of energy. Our work as knowledge and implementation partners was to bring rural women into mainstream employment through setting up of micro-apparel manufacturing centres.

We designed and executed a programme based on an entrepreneur-led model here. The first step was developing a site selection framework using certain basic criteria:
– choosing a location for the manufacturing centre close to a solar plant to ensure a steady supply of electricity, – within a radius of 200 kilometres from the market,

The focus was on selecting married women to train since the study suggested that such selection would help maintain high retention rates. We covered 8-10 villages under outreach to encourage women to visit the centre and gauge their interest in joining the programme. Selected candidates were charged a monthly sum of Rs 100 to ensure accountability and retention. This 20-seater centre, in Kamalapur near Lucknow, trained women in apparel making over six months. Our on-ground training partner trained women to use automatic machines. Post this we worked on a job-order model securing bulk orders from vendors (wholesalers or retailers) in Lucknow which in turn were executed by these women over the next few months as part of on-the job training.

The program had far reaching socio-economic impact as it saw women from orthodox families venture out of home into mainstream employment. As a result they were now empowered to improve personal livelihood and educational aspirations. In parallel, it highlighted the importance of creating market linkages for rural entrepreneurs as a crucial component for any skilling program. Our approach demonstrated that a well-designed model is imperative, but motivating and building trust with women is as important to mobilise them. During the course of the programme we saw women build personal relationships with each other and work together with complete solidarity. The company was able to make the first crucial step in solving problems of migration, gender gap in mainstream livelihood opportunities and unemployment in Uttar Pradesh. The Kamlapur centre served as the anchor in that area, enabling the energy service company to be sustainable enough to provide energy at community level covering more beneficiaries. Also, the client is now confident of replicating the model for similar projects in other locations.

No. of women in program: 20 women
Centre location: Kamlapur, Uttar Pradesh
Increase average income: Rs 2000-3000 per month from Rs 200 per month
Age bracket: 21+ years


A Nashik-based company in the construction industry wanted to bring unskilled and semi-skilled youth into their value-chain through a model of micro-entrepreneurship. They were trying to bridge the gap between those who are unemployed inspite of graduation or ITI courses (as they lack the right skills), and job demand in the construction sector. Sattva’s role as on-ground implementation partner was to create, design and manage a skilling programme for the company across eight locations to mobilise this segment and encourage them with cost-effective business ideas for employment.

We designed an integrated curriculum combining theoretical and practical aspects of roofing and entrepreneurship. This was initiated with a framework to mobilise and train youth to bring them into the programme that spanned four months. Our foremost step to achieving this was a selection form with ‘must-have’ and ‘may-have’ criteria. The former ensured all candidates wanting to join the programme should have at least completed primary education and aged between 18-38 years. The latter selected youth based on their interest in becoming entrepreneurs, willingness to take a loan, prior experience in the construction sector and overall motivation to join the programme in order for us to understand their future plans for livelihood generation. Technical training involved working on a 6×6 shed as a practical exercise while classroom sessions involved simulation exercises, group activities and case studies. On the last day of training we brought in the company’s dealers from its local ecosystem and sales team to give candidates a better understanding of business and dealership. We handheld them as they set up enterprises including helping with financial and market linkages. We diversified opportunities for candidates breaking them into the following buckets: dealer/sub-dealer, contractors, enterprises apart from roofing; self employment: home based sales agents; employment: skilled labourers/roofers.

Our on-ground partners played an important role in identifying the right candidate for the programme – those with a strong will to commit to investing time and energy to grow in life. All candidates were certified by NSDC and CIDC at the end of the programme declaring them as ‘Masters in Roofing and Fabrication’ to help them access jobs or business opportunities in the market. More importantly, we have piloted a collaboration with an FMCG company who is providing loans to our candidates in Nashik at subsidised rates and helping them scale their business.

The multi-regional project, undertaken in collaboration with the company, successfully demonstrated that micro-entrepreneurship is a viable solution to creating future jobs in a country where we require to train 500 million people by 2022. It is also a must-have extension of any skilling programme to reduce placement attrition. We have experimented in the first year, replicated in the second year and will scale in the third year. The intervention thereby proved its potential as a fertile ground for social investments. The programme added to the company’s value-chain with an inflow of candidates who started enterprises or became dealers. This ultimately spurred the company’s sales. Therefore it successfully showed that a company’s CSR initiatives can positively impact rural entrepreneurship as well as contribute to business.

Age Group: 18-38 years

Mobilised candidates
Jamshedpur: 36
Burdhman: 36
Kharagpur: 32
Nellore : 52
Tumkur : 38
Madurai : 46
Jaunpur : 51
Saharanpur : 35