Amazon Saheli – A Step in the Right Direction

Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world” – Hillary Clinton

It looks like e-commerce giant Amazon paid heed to these words, and has launched a new initiative, “The Saheli Store” in its India business, for products curated by women entrepreneurs. According to a press release, Amazon Saheli, in collaboration with its partner organisations, will offer thousands of women entrepreneurs with access to customers on Amazon India marketplace. The dedicated storefront, The Saheli Store will feature unique items produced locally by these women entrepreneurs – starting from handicrafts, apparel, handbags, and home décor items.

Speaking about the initiative, Reema Nanavati who leads SEWA said,

“We at SEWA believe in young women’s entrepreneurship using e-commerce. With minimal cost, e-commerce gives you reach to newer markets nationally and internationally! It builds economic security, brings dignity and self-respect to young women entrepreneurs. SEWA is happy to partner with Amazon which share the same vision.”

This significant move comes at a time when the Global Entrepreneurship Summit is being held in Hyderabad, where more than 50% of participants are women. Entrepreneurship in India, among women is a rarity, rather than a norm. A NASSCOM report released this month shows women comprise only 11% in a base of 5,000 startups in India. The number of women entrepreneurs who have received venture capital (VC) funding is even smaller — only 3% of women-run startups are funded, according to Saha Fund. Women in India face many hurdles in their journey towards entrepreneurship- societal pressures, lack of funding, inadequate mentoring, lack of government support, inherent patriarchy which causes differential treatment- the journey for women entrepreneurs is not an easy one in India. A recent report by the World Bank says that India can grow in double-digits if more women participate in the product line of the Indian economy.

We applaud this step by Amazon, and hope that the Saheli store provides pathways towards greater success to many upcoming female entrepreneurs across the country!