Neelam Maheshwari

Neelam Maheshwari.

I had spent a decade working with women in rural India before I joined GGS. Foremost learning I had at first was to find out that how remarkably similar have been the struggles for justice across the histories, geographies and race and gender. There was a single day during the GGS studies that I did not go home feeling challenged, enlightened or just incrementally motivated to find ways to bring such brilliant learnings into my work back at home in India, after I finished my PhD.

I have been specifically interested in marrying feminist vision with the field of entrepreneurship along with dimensions of identity and poverty alleviation. That led me to launch Navodyami*–as the first and largest ever program in India that serves as an ecosystem to accelerate Microentreprunerus. It is important to mention that In India about 70% population works in informal sector and over 80% of which is comprised of women**. Navodyami Program set out to empower artisans run units in remote rural areas to sell in market at better terms. Program scaled to cover four states to cover over ten thousand small entrepreneurs. Navodyami has been the pursuit of realizing feminist vision in everyday action to enhance livelihoods for the marginalised. Amon other things, I headed and taught courses in a unique post graduate program in Social Entrepreneurship. In absence of existing course material that looks at entrepreneurship through feminist perspectives, I had created several content, case studies and courses that were a confluence of what all I studied at GGS and my own work in India.

*Navodyami in Kannada language means the new entrepreneur.

**Census 2011, GoI

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