In a bid to lend a helping hand to women entrepreneurs, artisans, and weavers whose businesses have been severely impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon India has announced a new initiative ‘Stand for Handmade’.
Under this programme, eight lakh artisans and weavers from the Amazon Karigar programme and more than 2.8 lakh women entrepreneurs from the Amazon Saheli programme can avail a 100 percent waiver on Amazon’s fees for 10 weeks. New sellers joining the two programmes will also be eligible for this benefit, the company said.
Battle for survival
The handloom and the craft sector is one of the biggest generators of employment in the country. A majority of the sector has always relied on conventional distribution channels for marketing and sales.
Due to the lockdown imposed by the government to contain the spread of Coronavirus, countless artisans, weavers, and women running small businesses cannot access markets.
Time has come for these entrepreneurs, artisans, and weavers to embrace digital channels. In this scenario, ecommerce titan Amazon claims that its new initiative will help alleviate the economic damages.
The tech giant has created a ‘Stand for Handmade’ storefront to help generate customer demand for locally crafted, handmade products from Karigar and ‘Saheli’ sellers. (The ‘Saheli Store’ is a dedicated storefront on Amazon India featuring unique items produced locally by women entrepreneurs.)
Amazon has also partnered with 22 government emporiums and five government bodies including Himadri Emporium (Uttarakhand Handloom & Handicraft Development Council) and Shabari Chhattisgarh State Emporium to facilitate greater reach among customers. The move is expected to benefit 10,000 artisans and weavers associated with these organisations.
Speaking about the initiative, Manisha Panwar, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Uttarakhand Himadri Emporium, said, “We work with over 10,000 artisan families to support indigenous crafts of Uttrakhand by guiding the artisans and promoting their specialised products with consumers. The recent lockdown has left our artisans devastated. In a step to bring these crafts to wider customers across India, we are happy to partner with Amazon Karigar.”
Gopal Pillai, Vice President, Seller Services at Amazon India said, “The artisan and weaver community and women entrepreneurs have been amongst the most impacted by COVID-19. We understand the need to help revive their business to keep the rich heritage of Indian art and craft alive and our Stand for Handmade initiative is a step in that direction. The initiative will help generate demand for their products online while helping them with working capital needs as they look to rebound from the economic disruption caused by this unprecedented pandemic.”
(Edited by Athira Nair)