Investing in Women Entrepreneurs in Africa Wins
Enhancing the Creative Agency of Artisans in Rural India
R.I.S.E. Artisan Fund, an initiative of Realize Impact and Sprout Enterprise®, announced that the fund has invested in Loomers India Private Ltd, a social enterprise based in India, operating the brand platform Karghewale and empowering emerging artisan entrepreneurs to build robust creative enterprises.
Working with weavers, most of whom are graduates of WomenWeave’s The Handloom School where they have completed an intensive curriculum in design, entrepreneurship and management, Karghewale helps these young creative entrepreneurs, leveraging their skills in textile design and production, to bring handwoven textiles of exceptional design and quality to new markets.
“As a brand, Karghewale represents a community of exceptional creative entrepreneurs in 12 states of India,” said Sourodip Ghosh, co-founder of Loomers India Private Ltd. “Working collectively, on the supply side, we are able to aggregate purchasing power for sourcing raw materials, as well as, to leverage technology to deliver affordable business and legal services supporting these growing businesses. And then, on the demand side, we aggregate production capacity to meet wholesale demand and buyers’ requirements for timely delivery.”
Karghewale delivers an array of support services to these entrepreneurs, including links to the international, sustainable fashion market; sourcing yarns and dyes for bespoke fabrics; technology for business marketing and management; management information services and expertise for accounting and reporting; as well as design development of new collections.
“Our vision for Karghewale,” added Nivedita Rai, co-founder of Loomers India Private Ltd., “is to create an enabling creative crafts ecosystem where any artisan with entrepreneurial dreams can find all the resources he or she needs to transition from a production worker to a creative entrepreneur. This is how we envision our impact at scale. Karghewale as a managed marketplace is just the beginning.”
Launched in December 2020, Karghewale has received investment from StartUp India Seed Fund Scheme, as well as CIIE.Co, and is part of Upaya Social Ventures Dignified Jobs Accelerator 2023 cohort. As co-founder of Karghewale, Nivedita Rai is also one of the 21 impact entrepreneurs who received early stage capital investment from Acumen Angels in 2022.
“Karghewale’s goal, in addition to building the agency and ability of artisans, is to transition them from wage-weavers, earning ₹7,500 a month, to weaver-entrepreneurs earning upwards of ₹15,000 a month,” noted AB Chakravarthy, Upaya’s India Country Director. “By working with early stage enterprises, like Karghewale, Upaya Social Ventures builds and scales businesses that create thousands of jobs.”
To date, Karghewale is working with more than 120 creative entrepreneurs who create employment directly for more than 350 weavers, and indirectly for more than 1000 spinner, dyers, and ancillary workers who support the weavers by winding bobbins of weft yarns, or threading warp yarns on the loom.
R.I.S.E. Artisan Fund was created by Realize Impact and Sprout Enterprise® to invest in early- stage enterprises creating sustainable livelihoods for rural communities with few economic alternatives. Sustainability, women’s empowerment, and climate change are key investment themes of the fund.
Named as one of the Transformative 25 Funds in 2022, R.I.S.E. Artisan Fund has been recognized by Integrated Capital Investing for transforming finance to benefit people and the planet.
For more information, please contact Ellen Fish at [email protected] or visit:
R.I.S.E. Artisan Fund www.riseartisan.fund
Sprout Enterprise® www.sproutenterprise.net
Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation (IFC)
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Director, MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative
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