Amazon India’s exclusive platform for women entrepreneurs

Amazon India launched its Saheli store which is a dedicated storefront on to display women entrepreneurs’ products and facilitate to sell their products to Amazon customers across India. I Village, which was recently assessed by Women on Wings, is one of the women led social enterprises that sells its products on Amazon Saheli.

Jeff Bezos committed to India
Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is committed to investing in India. He spoke at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad which had women entrepreneurship as its central theme. The Amazon Saheli initiative will feature items produced locally by women entrepreneurs. Initially including handicrafts, apparel, handbags and home décor items, the store will steadily scale up to on-board women entrepreneurs selling different product categories. To primarily kick start “The Saheli Shop” webpage Amazon held pilots for Amazon Saheli over the last several months where it on-boarded a small number of women wholesalers. I Village is one of the social enterprises that was on-boarded by Amazon Saheli.

Amazon Saheli and I Village
I Village products are all manufactured in villages of Bulandshaher, Uttar Pradesh, handcrafted by women using traditional techniques and skills. Amazon India has welcomed the women led social enterprise on its Saheli platform and since then, I Village has seen a steep rise in its sales. Roopa, who handles online sales for I Village, recalls how this association came about: “I came across a video that spoke on Amazon Saheli. We applied for a spot and soon the team at Amazon reached out to us and within a month we had started our online sales. Right from helping capture quality images and to cataloguing they helped us set up our online store.” Extensive training and skill development workshops will be conducted by Amazon Saheli to help women entrepreneurs understand online marketing and improve skills and capabilities necessary to grow their business on Amazon India.

Increased visibility
Amazon Saheli has surely increased the visibility of I Village in the market and has helped them procure large orders. For instance, the women at I Village worked hard to complete one order of 500 units within a week and earned 1.5 lakh rupees by doing so. A huge amount for them. Roopa also mentioned the support team at Amazon Saheli is highly responsive. This is of great help to I Village’s online presence. The social enterprise is doing so well that its products are being featured on the buy box. This means that products are gaining popularity and customers can easily purchase them at the click of a button.

I Village vision
The vision of I Village is “To establish and grow a social enterprise for women empowerment in India that offers high-quality products and services and contributes to the general upliftment of society, specifically by generating employment for rural women and empowering them through social and financial independence.” I Village empowers women and encourages them to earn a living. Its efforts have helped many women become first-time bread earners and provide for their families. Women on Wings and I Village are currently in the process of defining how the two social enterprises could collaborate and contribute to each other’s missions. An assessment and field visit to villages in Bulandshaher, is part of this process.

Picture: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos meets I Village’s Roopa during his visit to India in January 2020