For the first time since working with Women on Wings, I had the opportunity of being a part of a consultancy session that was conducted for Apani Saheli Producer Company Limited (ASPCL). The experience was enriching and also gave me a deeper insight on how we work at the ground level with the social enterprises we partner with and what value we bring to them and the impact we create.
ASPCL has been set up by Pradan for dairy business in Dholpur, Rajasthan. In April a team of Women on Wings had assessed ASPCL and this first consultancy session that I was a part of, was for marketing.
With a population of around 25,000 and no big dairy player in Dholpur, there is an open market for ASPCL to explore and create a market for themselves. The major focus for sale of produce was to sell it to a wholesaler. The main issue hampering them was pricing. The Dudhiya (milk middle man) is one of the major competitors to ASPCL because he buys milk directly from the farmer and sells it at a cheaper rate in the market. He also offers the farmer advance finances. This resulted in loosing farmers and also became a loss making proposition for ASPCL.
We realized that the team was not clear on how to work and which direction to take to create a good market and revenue for themselves. In 2 days we supported them identifying their strengths and the two immediate focus areas. The outside in approach helped them identify the audience segment and build a strategy around it. Our team conducted a detailed study of the market and realized that there was a huge potential for retailing which was unexplored by ASPCL. We conducted a practical research with the ASPCL team to get them to understand the market that they could tab and improve their own business.
This helped them explore the newer pastures for expanding business and created a greater level of confidence amongst the team for retail selling. It even created a new passion and desire to improve upon the current situation and look at the newer avenues of retail selling. They also realized how important branding is for them to position themselves better in the market which would help them create a market for their product “Saheli Fresh”.
By the end of the 2 days consultancy session, the ASPCL team was very happy and had created plans and timelines for themselves and also requested for a next session on Branding.
It was truly a very enriching experience and it has strengthened my conviction of the great work Women on Wings does to help social enterprises grow and in the end create sustainable livelihoods for women in rural India.