Ms. Sharmila Lama (Sharupa Digo Hastakala Tatha Krishi Farm)
Entrepreneurship can serve as a tool for both financial and personal empowerment for women.
Sometimes women start a business due to “pull factors” such as recognizing and exploiting a
perceived market opportunity, or other times it could be due to “push” factors such as having no
employment options or out of necessity like caring for family members and earning a livelihood.
Sharmila was one of the lucky ones to be selected and receive the vocational training from
Socio-Economic Empowerment of Disadvantaged Women and Girls of Southern Lalitpur (SEED
Project 2017-2019) implemented by Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs’ Associations of Nepal
(FWEAN) with the financial support of Finn Church Aid (FCA)/Women’s Bank Finland.
FWEAN is a not for profit organization that seeks to redefine the outlook of women
entrepreneurship - from contribution to economic growth and poverty alleviation towards the
participation of women at all levels in the socio-economic sectors. FWEAN conducts training
and workshops sessions to empower women to create entrepreneurship opportunities for them. It
was one of these training that Sharmila attended as part of the project which changed the course
of her life. Since then she has been regularly utilizing her achieved skills for extra income
generation. In addition to basic and advance level vocational trainings, the project also supported
in marketing the crafts produced by her and facilitated her to formalize her enterprise.
Sharmila attended another training as well, but the one that caught her attention was bamboo
handicraft. She found the idea of crafting objects from a bamboo novel and decided to attend a
month-long training session and later she also received advance level training enhancing her
skills. She realized that she enjoyed what she was doing and even came up with her own ideas
for crafting that went beyond her training. She received positive responses from this event, and
with the newfound motivation and determination, she was certain that this was what she wanted
to pursue. As a woman with no prior education or exposure to entrepreneurship, SEED Project
implemented by FWEAN played a major role in helping her set up her business. She learned
about the basics of entrepreneurship from looking after promotions and marketing to quality
maintenance, and financial management through the project. The organization provided her with
the guidance and advice she required to run her business and the necessary training that she
needed to upgrade her handicraft skills. It has been almost 2 years since Sharmila started her
handicraft business and she is thankful to FWEAN for economically empowering her.
Business during COVID-19 and Adapting to E-commerce
The nationwide lockdown that lasted months meant that Sharmila had to rely on online sales to
keep up her business. In an effort to address the crisis that was happening, Federation of Woman
Entrepreneurs’ Associations of Nepal (FWEAN), together with Enterprise for Management,
Economic Reform and Gender Equality (EMERGE) and Thulo.com launched “MA-UDHYAMI”
campaign as a part of the project “Revitalizing Women’s Businesses Amidst COVID-19
Pandemic”. The project is being funded by the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID). Her products were selected by FWEAN to be promoted under the
campaign to support in her business continuity. She is thrilled at the response she has received
because despite the lockdown she has been active in fulfilling the online orders of her products.
In addition to partaking in such a campaign, Sharmila hopes to attend more online
entrepreneurship related training in order to keep up with the trends of e-commerce. She believes
that the learning never really ends as an entrepreneur and that one is never too experienced or old
to acquire new business tricks.
Something to learn from Sharmila
If there is something that Sharmila learned as an entrepreneur is that nothing is impossible. When
Sharmila first started, she had no idea that her business would grow and become her main source
of income and pride. She did not have the necessary education nor the knowledge to become an
entrepreneur, but this did not stop her from becoming one. One of the most helpful strategies that
entrepreneurs can develop, especially if they are are new and inexperienced, is to learn from a
mentor which was what Sharmila did. She sought assistance from FWEAN, who helped her
develop strategies, create business and marketing plans, and introduced her to a wider network of
contacts. Entrepreneurs that are new to the game will often make the mistake of thinking that
they can do it all by themselves, but the reality is that at some point, they will hesitate and
second guess themselves. Mentors not only answer questions, but they can help provide insight
and helpful tips. Sharmila believes that mentorship is crucial, and aspiring entrepreneurs should
consider getting a good mentor.
View all products of Sharupa Digo Hastakala Tatha Krishi Farm: https://thulo.com/sarupa-dhigo-hastakala-tatha-krishi-firm/
Story Covered by: Ms. Jaani Kandangwa
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