Amazon Saheli empowers women entrepreneurs and artisans in the Amazon India marketplace
Amazon launched its special store for women entrepreneurs in November 2017. Today, women make and sell everything from diaries and notebooks to incense sticks, bread bins and men’s clothing to sarees on the Saheli marketplace. These products come from 13 partner NGOs around India that reach 80,000 women artisans across the length and breadth of the country.
Photo by Eric Mindling
Amazon Saheli has been set up in partnership with the pioneering social organisation, Self Employed Women Association (SEWA) and Impulse Social Enterprise among others. The storefront offers the women entrepreneurs and artisans who work with these organizations access to the Amazon India marketplace, as well as to the logistical infrastructure of the e-commerce behemoth.
To handhold women artisans and organizations through this entirely new experience, initial training workshops are conducted on how to manage their businesses online. In addition, a dedicated account manager is assigned to new ‘Sahelis’, to help them kick-start their enterprises. The benefits that an ‘Amazon Saheli’ reaps from the partnership are myriad. Apart from their products being highlighted in a separate storefront, product photo shoots and cataloguing services come as part of launch assistance provided to every partner associated with Saheli program. The program also provides tools and reports to help them save time and bandwidth on managing their online businesses and focus more on creativity and product innovation.
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Walking the talk on women’s empowerment
Amazon Community Centres are creating a ripple effect of change for the women in their vicinity.
Image: Meena teaching at an Amazon Cares Community Center
In several communities in the vicinity of Amazon Fulfilment Centres in India, women folk continue to be relegated to household chores, with almost no avenue to earn livelihoods and learn skills. But things are slowly starting to change. They say that when a woman is educated and empowered, it causes a ripple effect for the generation that follows. We see this in action every single day at Amazon Community Centres around the country. Amazon India has built Community Centres near its Fulfilment Centres around the country. Usually on the outskirts of metros, these centres are platforms for anyone from the community to come together, learn basic skills like computers, sewing, access the Internet and other digital education aids like LCD screens, DVD players, and e-content.
Women of the community often frequent Amazon Community Centres and that has opened many doors for them.
A huge part of the social initiatives at Amazon Community Centres focus on empowering women through skill development and exposure to learning tools. Skills include everything from sewing and reading to basic math and computer training that makes them employable for banks, shops, and local businesses. This in turn ensures financial freedom not just for the women but also their families.
One such example is the story of Meena, a young widowed mother of three from Haryana. Meena found out about the Amazon Community Centre from an erstwhile employee. She met the coordinator and learned more about the skill development opportunities the Centre offered. Soon, Meena polished her basic sewing skills and started stitching bags and blouses for customers.
Read more about Meena's journey.
Storming a male bastion
Storming a male bastion - an all women delivery station
An equal opportunity initiative launched in early 2016 helps to transform the lives of women in our community; creating unique employment opportunities for them and enabling them to become achievers in their own right. At a time when more women are joining the workforce and creating a niche for themselves, Amazon India’s only-women delivery centers stand out as shining examples of transforming lives and nurturing achievers. As part of the equal opportunity initiative launched in 2016, Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai played host to delivery centers managed and run exclusively by women.
A work day looks no different for the women manning these centers, be it sorting packages to whizzing off on two-wheelers to deliver them within a 2-3 km radius. With the trademark delivery bags in tow, the women delivery associates have arrived and how.
Read more about the women's story.