Sustainability for MSMEs: Frontier Markets is a rural social commerce platform offering products in over 3,000 villages through a network of around more than 10,000 rural women entrepreneurs called Sahelis who earn stable and growing incomes.
Sustainability for MSMEs: Wadhwani Foundation and its Wadhwani Catalyst Fund on Thursday announced a strategic partnership with last-mile distribution company Frontier Markets to support up to 10,000 women entrepreneurs in rural India over two and half years. Through its Saral Jeevan Sahelis initiative, local women from villages will be sourced, recruited and skilled, and then provided an opportunity to earn a livelihood. According to Wadhwani Catalyst Fund, the underserved $5-6 billion value e-commerce market is expected to grow to $40 billion by 2030.
“Rural women crave for sustainable livelihoods, but consistent opportunities for them are few and far. To fulfil their mission of empowering Sahelis, Frontier Markets to expand to new geographies (from the current 2 to 7 states), make a significant investment in their tech platform and add new Sahelis as they move to new geographies. The long-term objective is to catalyze the achievement of onboarding thousands of Sahelis in 5-6 years,” said a statement by Wadhwani Foundation.
The tie-up is looking at growing the income of these women entrepreneurs to Rs 7,000-10,000 per month for an independent and dignified life. “Frontier Markets is changing the way villages buy products and services, and the way business is done across the hinterland by building an army of rural women salesforce (or Sahelis), armed with smartphones and deep consumer insight. They are driving change, creating an impact while managing to make money and profits,” Sanjay Shah, Chief Operating Officer, Wadhwani Foundation – India/SEA.
Frontier Markets is a rural social commerce platform offering products in over 3,000 villages through a network of around more than 10,000 rural women entrepreneurs called Sahelis who earn stable and growing incomes. The products include clean energy solutions, home appliances including mobile phones, agri-products, FMCG and digital financial services.
“We are extremely excited about partnering with Wadhwani Foundation and the Wadhwani Catalyst Fund as they validate our mantra that investing in rural women is smart business and the key to driving sustainable development goals at scale,” Ajaita Shah, Founder and CEO, Frontier Markets. According to the foundation, the app collects customer data, showcases products, manages sales and inventory, while the entrepreneurs’ homes double up as stores or local touchpoints supported by branches of Frontier Markets, which serve as warehouses.