Start-Ups

ALLIKA : FROM WEED TO WEALTH

Allika meaning Weave in Telugu, is a social enterprise that converts an environmentally hazardous weed into a useful product, while simultaneously creating employment opportunities and empowering women.

Abdul Mujeeb, the founder, established Allika in 2014 to address multiple social and environmental issues with an innovative solution that is being translated into a successful business model. Allika provides sustainable livelihoods to women from low-income household through the production of beautifully hand-crafted lifestyle accessories made out of the weed – water hyacinth.

The journey started when Abdul, an electrical engineer started his own institute to develop skills and education levels of young students. While he was looking for science fair project ideas for his students, he first learnt about water hyacinths (a form of weed that grows on water bodies), and its multi-purpose potential to create various utility products and crafts. He further researched on the severe negative effects of water hyacinth when it contaminates the water bodies. This series of events led to the shaping of an inclusive business model by Abdul with multiple positive impacts in a single solution.

Started off with six women initially three years back, the social enterprise engaged in employing over 70 women from rural parts of Andhra Pradesh state. The employed women are provided with training on the art of handicrafts creation from water hyacinth to create a wide range of products, such as, handbags, baskets, dining mats, files, home decor and other utility products. The women engaged with Allika are not only empowered economically, but also socially.

Additionally, eliminating water contaminant weed from lakes helps in preventing the lake pollution, promotes a clean environment and reduces the risk of disease spread.

Abdul started out on a journey to put water hyacinth to a proper use and restore the water bodies at the same time. Water hyacinth is known to clog waterways and greatly diminish the water flow in a region. The weed is known to cause floods by blocking the exit points of the water bodies. It has a lifespan of around 45 days, after which it starts decaying and contaminates the water.

BVIC is overwhelmed by the success of Allika and strongly believes that Allika will scale up across the country creating wealth from waste, spreading its positive vibes all along.

Key highlights :

Product : Sustainable and fashionable weaven utility products from water hyacinth (weed)

Social Impact :
  •   Women skill development
  •   employment
  •   reducing environmental pollution
  •   reducing health risks (Indirect)

Founder : Abdul Mujeeb

UMEED: FOR EMPOWERING WOMEN

Umeed is a social enterprise that promotes women empowerment and radically alter the mindsets that exist within the society. This is achieved through skill development training and knowledge transfer to women, to ensure immediate and lasting empowerment of women. Umeed creates a source of income for women from low-income communities and supports them in achieving the dignity, respect and empowerment. Umeed’s ultimate objective is ‘empowering women both socially and economically’.

Umeed was initially launched in Hyderabad as a pilot self-help group by its founders Gauri Mahendra and Udita Chadha. The women beneficiaries are chosen from low-income communities, who are trained in making simple, beautiful, and environmentally-friendly newspaper handicrafts. Their team ensures the quality of these products by undertaking stringent quality checks. Subsequently, these products will be put up for sale.

The objective of the social enterprise is also to instil habits of saving and budgeting in beneficiaries, which are less prevalent among such women. The team helps women not only in skill development, but also encourages them to takeup leadership role by training new joinees, participation in exhibition sales, quality control and suitable administrative roles.

Gauri and Udita, both are fellows of Teach for India program, discovered that the difficult living conditions of their students was having a detrimental effect upon their education. During their fellowship program, they realized that school children are being forced into child labour due to poor financial conditions of their families. This impact is not just felt in the schools or education alone, but also the potential value creation for the society.

Upon the completion of their fellowship, Udita and Gauri decided to take up this burning problem and started working on the solutions. Through their research, it was evident that the weaker role of the mother in the family is the root cause of this problem and they are found to be living most oppressive circumstances with no influence in the decision making of their children.

Having clearly understood the depth of the problem and determination to solve it, Umeed was launched by Gauri and Udita in 2014, to work for this burning cause.

BVIC supported Umeed by way of mentoring, seed funding their initiatives and supporting their marketing strategy. There is tremendous potential in Umeed’s initiatives to reach out to thousands of underprivileged women and achieve greater social impact.

Key highlights :

Product: Environmental friendly paper made handicrafts and utility products

Social Impact :
  •   Under-privileged skill development
  •   employment
  •   financial stability
  •   environment-friendly products
  •   overall empowerment of women

Founders : Gauri Mahendra and Udita Chadha

ISHMA : ART WITH A PURPOSE

Ishma Accessories works towards improving the livelihoods of the rural artisans working on traditional Handicrafts of India and preserving the art forms. Ishma-handcrafted Accessories, designs and manufactures body jewellery, cloud pendant & lacquered wooden jewellery with a focus on youth, while pursuing the cause of preserving Indian crafts. The products are designed with an intent of “Social Impact”

Ishma is founded by two fashion graduates Rekha Mutyala and Vaandhya Lakkaraju, with passion for out of the box accessories. Their days rolled on, from the endless hours spent on experimenting with various materials in college, trips to craft clusters and hanging out on the streets of Charminar to understand how beautiful things are made. Over time, they fell in love with creating soulful accessories that carry a story and sometimes a bit of our heritage.

Ishma designs bright and colourful jewellery, including anklets, bracelets, neck pieces, ear-rings and finger rings and more. Ishma products are handmade and their revenue directly benefits the rural ingenious artisans, those help in actualizing their designs. They feel the responsibility to help them in bettering their lives and protecting the continuity of these art forms.
Industrialization and mass production affected these traditional art forms and artisans find it difficult to carry on with the traditional crafts that are no more able to fulfil their basic survival needs. Over a period, the visibility of these unique art forms and crafts declined, as more of the artisans moving out of their traditional family bread earner.

Being deeply aware and concerned about these dying art forms, Rekha and Vandyaa, coming from the background and experience in design and fashion, took up the cause with passion and determination to revive these art forms through social enterprise mode. The founders carried out elaborate research and field trips to Kondapalli and Nirmal, Nimmalakunta, Kondapalli and Banjaras hamlets, before launching their product line of soulful jewellery brand ISHMA.
The aim is reviving Indian handicrafts, at the same time, making them affordable for the major populace.

Ishma is planning to collaborate with 25 craft clusters in and around Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to make an impact in approximately 2500 families in its first phase.

BVIC has incubated Ishma and provided them with mentoring and funding support. In a vast country like India, there is a burgeoning need for social ventures like Ishma to create local multiplier effect across the country and preserve dwindling art forms of India.

Key highlights :

Product:  Handicraft and traditional art form based fashion jewellery and utility products

Social Impact :
  •   Livelihood improvement and additional income source for artisans and craftsmen
  •   preserving art forms and awareness among youth about our heritage
  •   crafts and art forms

Founders : Rekha Mutyala and Vaandhya Lakkaraju

Rubaroo : Conversations for Social Change

Rubaroo means coming face-to-face. Rubaroo is a Hyderabad based organization that works with young people. The purpose is to build social leadership skills with and among young people to construct a just and equitable society.

Rubaroo endeavors to initiate a journey of self- discovery that breaks the barriers within and unleashes an individual’s hidden potential. Once within this journey, one can lead towards change in self and the society by taking informed decisions for the betterment of all. Each young person who is equipped with this life-skill will be able to contribute to the society by being a responsible and active citizen.

The social enterprise achieves the purpose by facilitating conversations and experiential-learning processes in our workshops, volunteering opportunities, exposures, camps, film-screenings, and many other activities. They also aim at creating a community by building capacities of teachers, educators, parents, facilitators and care givers of young people to enable them to support young people’s leadership abilities in creating and sustaining an inclusive and equitable society.

In our society, social exclusion based on caste, creed, gender and class are rampant. This influences various amenities and privileges one has access to. We all are living within our own boundaries, which also lead to stereotypes, judgments and intolerance towards others. One of the reasons for this is the lack of exposure to and conversation about such issues. Even if youth want they do not know how to engage. This motivated Neha to be part of a process that provided youth the means to understand self and explore society from a key stakeholder lens. Youth need a non-threatening and non-judgmental space where they can understand self, better. Creating a 5th space beyond family, friends, leisure and career where they can explore their ‘self’ and ‘society’ in order to unleash their leadership potential.

Rubaroo was set up in 2013 by Neha Swain and was joined by Monisha Vemavarapu subsequently. Rubaroo aims to build spaces where school and college going young adults are nudged to explore and link their academic learning with realities around them. Both of these need to go hand in hand to make education truly democratic, personal and meaningful for any child or adult, as well as for the parents and teachers. Such spaces become critical in their growing-up phase, as adolescents are often handed-down values and beliefs from their family, their friends or other spaces they spend their time with.

Rubaroo believes that change begins by offering a space, where an individual is allowed to challenge and question all that they have known about themselves or have been told about, by people around them. Because only by breaking their own ‘stories’, and challenging them, they unleash leadership within to become conscious decision makers. Rubaroo’s vision is to create an inclusive, just, and equitable world where individuals transcend boundaries through a genuine engagement with the self and the society. It works with the mission of creating a platform, that is a safe and inclusive space for young people to access opportunities of learning and self-development.

So far, Rubaroo has had meaningful engagement with youth by reaching out to over 1330 participants in the past one year, partnered 9 schools, 4 colleges and 10 organizations, in diverse segment of institutions.

BVIC mentored and supported Rubaroo through seed funding for their expansion and greater out reach. Rubaroo is a unique organization and is being appreciated by wider range of audience for their holistic mission and approach.

Key highlights :

Service :  Works with young people to build social leadership skills and construct a just and equitable society, through campains, workshops, trainings, camps and exposures

Social Impact :
  •   Youth leadership and development
  •   just and equal society
  •   capacity building of facilitators

Founders : Neha Swain and Monisha Vemavarapu