By Lydia Paulraj
Pots of piping hot dal, bowls of sliced cucumber, dishes with freshly cooked sabzi and a number of steel tiffin carriers sit on a plastic table in Anita Hature’s kitchen. The food is neatly portioned into each compartment and the dabbas are soon ready for delivery. They will be sent to offices and homes in Pune’s Hinjewadi suburb where many IT/BPO workers wait for a good home-cooked meal.
Anita’s meal service was born of necessity. As a single mother caring for her school-going son, she desperately needed to bring home an income.
A natural inclination towards cooking and a rising number of busy professionals in the neighbouring IT hub struck her as a good place to seek out a living. She began to take orders for breakfast, lunch and dinner and charged for every meal delivered.
For a long time, Anita could only cater to a limited number of individuals as she did not have enough money to invest in buying more supplies. Although she had a bank account, she had no rental agreement and regular source of income which are prerequisites to avail formal credit. In other words, she knew of no one who would provide her with financial assistance.
When help arrived, it took the form of a message on a radio show, where she heard of DeAsra, a not-for-profit association that supports entrepreneurship. For the first time Anita realised that there were people who were ready to help her.
Anita sat down and worked out how many utensils and groceries would be needed to start her business.. Through DeAsra, she applied for a loan from Rang De for a loan which would cover the cost of the necessary purchases and transportation of dabbas. With support from our social investors, we raised the required funds and disbursed it to Anita.
That was 10 months ago.
On a recent visit to Pune, we met with Anita and were glad to hear that the business was faring well. The timely infusion of capital had helped her purchase all the things she needed and expand her business.
Anita is meticulous about her work: she maintains her accounts on a daily basis and at the end of every month, she sends a bill to her customers who make the payments directly into in her bank account. She also uses digital transactions to pay her monthly loan installments to Rang De.
Completely digitising her business transaction also allowed Anita to come out of the demonetisation phase unscatched, avoiding the fate of other small traders and business owners who heavily depended on cash transactions
Anita Hature’s experience is a fine example of how microcredit can sustain a small urban business and create a positive impact on profitability. We hope to extend support to more women like her who engage in remunerative self-employment and need a helping hand from time to time.
You can support women entrepreneurs across India at Rang De by investing Rs 100 or more here