In its debut edition, the Times She UnLTD Entrepreneur Awards 2019 received over 5,000 entries from women entrepreneurs across India. One being Mrs. Dr. Megha Phansalkar, founder of Women on Wings’ business partner Tisser Rural Handicrafts, who successfully was amongst the winners.
The award is an initiative of leading newspaper The Times of India and recognizes women entrepreneurs who are multitaskers and achievers, not only in their homes but also in their businesses. Over 5,000 contestants had to showcase their talent, hardship, businesses and also how they plan to take it forward. Women from across India who had all forayed into the world of entrepreneurship in pursuit of their passion. An esteemed jury panel shifted through the entries, interviewed contestants and finally selected 18 women as winners in three categories; food, fashion and beauty. Dr. Megha Phansalkar was amongst the winners in the fashion category.
Supporting artisans and art
Working with Self Help Groups through the National Rural Livelihood Mission in the World Bank, Dr. Megha Phansalkar regularly visited rural areas. That is where she witnessed the rich crafts of rural communities. Seeing the poor livelihoods of the artisans and the dying crafts, Dr. Megha Phansalkar decided to create a unique network to support both the art and the artisans and founded Tisser Rural Handicrafts (Tisser). Dr. Megha Phansalkar: “Our slogan is ‘You purchase the product and through proceeds we support the art and the artisans’. We have come a long way; from 100 artisans and limited products when we started to 10,000 artisans and 300+ products from across India. And we still have a much longer way to go, because our aim is to involve 50,000 artisans in future.”
Girls benefit through education
Tisser (French for ‘to weave’) and Women on Wings are collaborating since 2015 in their joint goal of engaging more women artisans. Tisser generates livelihood for its weavers and artisans through end to end support. Profits earned from sales will in part go back to ensure a better life for the rural communities and to support the girl child’s education of weavers and artisans.
Dr. Megha Phansalkar, picture right