International Labour Organization
South-East Asia and the Pacific Multidisciplinary Advisory Team

ILO/SEAPAT's OnLine Gender Learning & Information Module

Unit 2: Gender issues in the world of work

Emerging gender issues in the Asia Pacific region

Rural women workers

Good practice example: Promoting entrepreneurship among women

The Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka (AWAKE) in India was founded in 1983 to develop entrepreneurship among women by voluntary efforts of successful women entrepreneurs. The activities of AWAKE, which is also participating in an ILO project on Promotion of Entrepreneurship among Women in Small and Cottage Industries in Asia, include:

Voluntary business counseling: One-to-one counseling is provided by members who are themselves successful entrepreneurs. Interested women can walk into the AWAKE office for counseling on how to start a business or specific problems related to a business in which they are already involved.

Eye-opener activities: The Entrepreneurship Awareness Program to stimulate interest in entrepreneurship has so far been offered to 10,000 women. Other activities include business idea labs, product-based workshops and seminars.

Business start-up training in urban areas: The training modules have been built up by members who share their experiences and expertise with trainees, motivating them to become business aspirants. Development of entrepreneurship among rural women is carried out by sensitizing and encouraging other agencies in rural areas to conduct and carry on with Awareness and Entrepreneurship Development Programs started by AWAKE. Orientation programs for NGOs motivate them to work in this area.

Management training is conducted both for members and non-members. A "business savvy" program helps improve management skills for practising entrepreneurs.

Networking with other agencies: AWAKE has been closely networking with government and international agencies and offering sensitization programs for NGOs. This ensures a committed and knowledgeable support system, ranging form financial, infrastructural agencies to NGOs and local support agencies. It also ensures that policies of government and development agencies are directed towards support and development for women entrepreneurs.

Business incubator for women: A full-fledged production facility for food processing is available, with necessary licenses for women to start off in a small way, to standardize products, to market under their own brand names, and to acquire sufficient confidence and a market niche before launching their own facilities in due course. Women using the facility are also provided the necessary training in all aspects of business management.

Research and resource center: To support its various activities, AWAKE has built up a large data and information base and encourages its use for research.

Talent bank service: From the store of talent among its women entrepreneurs, and together with a panel of professorial experts, AWAKE provides services for evaluation, troubleshooting and the like.

Technology transfer: AWAKE conducts regular hands-on training, study tours, technology transfer, feasibility studies, and the like.

[Source: Women Entrepreneurs: An Occasional Bulletin of the Project on Promotion of Entrepreneurship among Women in Small and Cottage Industries in Asia, No. 1, New Delhi: ILO-SAAT/SWEDECORP, August 1995, cited in Lin Lim, More and Better Jobs for Women: an action guide, Geneva: ILO, 1996.]

Module Homepage

For further information, please contact the South-East Asia and the Pacific Multidisciplinary
Advisory Team (SEAPAT) at Tel: +63.2.815.2354 or Fax: +63.2.812.6143

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This page was revised  by SF. It was approved by WRB. It was last updated on 2 November 1998.