How to wrap up an amazing week in India….

It was my third visit to India for Women on Wings. And this time I had three assignments in one week, in three different parts of the immense country. So, a lot of travel was involved.

Diving into costing & pricing
First, I had a 2-days finance workshop with Manjari Foundation, a new business partner of Women on Wings. Supriya and Ronald from the Women on Wings team in India, travelled with me by train to Dholpur city, in eastern-most parts of the state of Rajasthan. With the team of Manjari Foundation we made a deep dive into costing and pricing of paneer, ghee, butter, mava, milk, pulses, spices and stitching. We also did a peer analysis by visiting shops in Dholpur with interesting conclusions. Also, we were present at the opening of a new honey production facility of Manjari Foundation. Many hundreds of empowered women from villages in the neighborhood were gathered at the opening event and I was very grateful to join.

Follow up previous assignment
My second assignment was at Jute Artisans in Lucknow to get insights in their progresses since July, when I had worked with Jute Artisan’s founder Anjali and her team on finances and sales. Together with Ronald we worked on costing & pricing and managing working capital. The return flight to Delhi was an adventure in itself; due to bad weather the plane could not land at Delhi airport, just one hour from Lucknow. Instead, it was rerouted to Ahmedabad, a mere 2,5 hours further south west, where we had to wait for the weather in Delhi to improve. So instead of 7PM, we reached Delhi by mid night…

Field assignment
The next day I travelled again with Supriya. We did an assessment of a potential new partner in Ranchi, in the state of Jharkhand. The organization is led by a strong Belgian woman and her Indian management team. We also met 25 empowered women who make the most beautiful handcrafted products. The Women on Wings team will look at all our findings during the field assessment and will decide if this organization is matching all criteria to become a business partner.

Feeling lucky to share expertise
Overall an intensive week; fruitful meetings with different business partners, nice chats with mentioned colleagues and good impressions of different regions of rural India. When you work as an expert at Women on Wings, you mostly work with the social enterprises that employ rural women, you do not often meet the women themselves. But this time I met empowered women at all three assignments! I am very grateful and honored to share my financial expertise with Women on Wings, I feel so lucky!

Gwen Windhorst
Finance expert

Picture: Gwen and Supriya with two artisans at field visit in Ranchi