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Women Become Entrepreneurs with Bag-Making Business

Volunteers help underprivileged women become entrepreneurs

Six people discussing cloth bags

Bag-making business thrives in Bangalore—growing from five to 15 employees in less than a year

The future is often bleak for women in India who lack basic literacy or vocational skills. Meeting their families’ basic needs is a day-to-day struggle, and they lack opportunities to create a better life.

Thirteen volunteers from Intel India set out to rewrite that scenario by enabling a group of underserved women in Bangalore to start their own business making and selling reusable cloth bags. The volunteers contributed hundreds of hours, helping the women receive vocational training and source materials, identify customers, and launch the venture. Funding for the project came from the Intel Involved Matching Seed Grants program, through which groups of Intel employees can apply for grants of up to $5,000 to launch their creative volunteer initiatives.

"One of the women abandoned by her husband is now able to live her life with dignity and meet her family’s daily needs. Another woman is now able to send her children to school."– Daisy Sharma, Intel Involved volunteer

Indian women show examples of some bags they made

The bag-making business initially provided employment for five women entrepreneurs. Less than a year later, 15 women were employed, and the business had expanded to a second location. Reusable bags are still the main product, but the women are also starting to use their skills to create and market other decorative items.

The results of this volunteer initiative are evident in daily lives of the new entrepreneurs. One woman abandoned by her husband is now living with dignity and providing for her family's basic needs. Another now has the funds needed to send her children to school. All of the women are gaining independence and financial stability, as well as confidence and hope for the future.