Women on Wings’ partner Kalapuri was welcomed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The two teams had not met in person before and had done all strategic brainstorming on growth plans virtually. Until early March 2022 when finance expert Anita Joosten travelled to Kolhapur, to work with Kalapuri’s team on structuring its finances.
Over weeks prior to the 2 days’ physical workshop, Anita had worked with the Kalapuri team in a few online sessions on financial topics so both parties were well prepared. Women on Wings will use its learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to work in a more hybrid model. Whereas before the pandemic Women on Wings’ experts would always travel to partners to work on business related topics on the spot, post pandemic they will combine online and on-site sessions to use the available time the most effective. To gain initial understanding about a certain topic can be discussed online, however it can never replace on-site sessions during which the teams deep dive and brainstorm on a topic.
Anita worked with the Kalapuri team on its costing and liquidity forecast. Anita: “Knowing your cash and bank balance at the beginning of the month and knowing what comes in and goes out, and when, will help the team manage its liquidity in a more structured way and act accordingly when required. There are fixed and variable expenses but also unexpected ones, and fluctuating income from sales, so it may seem difficult, but creating a liquidity forecast really helps. We spent a lot of time on understanding the reason and reasoning behind numbers and forecasts and the importance of professional accounting. Before we knew it, time was almost up, and we decided to finish the costing and forecast sheet during this workshop. We will continue to discuss the liquidity forecast online every 2 weeks.”
About the partnership
Social enterprise Kalapuri provides a platform to Indian artisans to grow, nourish and create an identity of their rich skills and unique products. It works in 25 villages in Kolhapur district in the Indian state of Maharashtra and over 80% of its artisans are women. Atish Chavan, co-founder of Kalapuri: “Since September 2021 Kalapuri and Women on Wings are joining hands to increase the number of jobs and create livelihood opportunities for women. Since September 2021, we have had many online sessions to work on building our businesses strategy, and our marketing and finance plan. Thanks to those we were already able to look at our business in a more professional way, but to have Anita come and work with us for a few days on our financials was even more helpful to work towards our next steps.”
Resume travel to India
Being at the partner’s office and seeing how the actual work is being done, bring different discussions. A lot of the advisory work can be done online but sitting together and taking time to brainstorm on a topic truly results in more and deeper understanding. Starting January 2022, Women on Wings’ experts resumed travel to India after a full travel stop for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Anita Joosten was the third expert to come to India since February 2020. Before the pandemic, she was traveling quite frequent to India to work with Women on Wings’ partners on structuring their financials. Anita brings tremendous financial experience, having worked at ING Bank, one of Netherlands leading banks, in positions like Branch Director, Business Relationship Manager and Consultant Cash Management Business Banking.