According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2020*, it will take another 100 years to achieve gender equality based on the current rate of progress in the growth of female entrepreneurs in the ecosystem. Owing to the low literacy rate and skills among a large number of women in India, traditional methods to improve employment opportunities for them in the private and public sectors are necessary. Still, these alone will not be enough to increase female workers into the economic system. Organisations like Magic Bus India Foundation are focussing on the untapped opportunity for women; Entrepreneurship. One of the most powerful tools that can be used to nurture financial independence among women, as it has the potential to create jobs, fuel innovation, boost self-reliance and transform gender equations in society to transform India’s economy.
Magic Bus’ Entrepreneurship Development Programme supports aspiring entrepreneurs and helps stagnant micro-businesses to grow. This International Women’s Day 2021 we tell you the untold story of 22 year old Swapna Patil, Entrepreneur who graduated from the Magic Bus Entrepreneurship Development Programme. She runs a Computer Centre in Dabhad village, Maharashtra and is on her way to building her own fortune.
Swapna belongs to a lower middle class family with seven members. Her retired father, who worked in a Bhiwandi Municipal Corporation, had a difficult time raising his 4 daughters and a son. A family of seven living on a pension of Rs. 30,000 was arduous. “It was left to me and my sister to support our family,” explains Swapna. “While working at the MIT Computer Training Institute, I earned Rs. 6000 as remuneration. I managed to save a bit after spending on me and my brother’s educational expenses.”
Swapna enrolled in the Magic Bus Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) in Ambadi, Maharashtra, supported by TOMS Shoes. She believes she will be eternally indebted to Magic Bus for imparting the best skills, knowledge and guiding her throughout for the breakthrough in her career. “The sessions were very informative and helped me tremendously towards gaining an insight into business as also made me understand the drawbacks of the business. Later, Magic Bus’s EDP sessions taught me to learn to expand my business and make it more successful,” she assures. “The understanding, awareness and comprehension of the market study, marketing strategies, business documentation, to mention a few, have been immense learning lessons for me.”
Her association with Magic Bus has been longer than her training at the TOMS Shoes funded Entrepreneurship Development Programme Centre in Ambadi. She was a Youth Mentor, conducting Magic Bus’ sports activity-based life skills sessions with children for a year before going on to work as a tutor at the MIT Computer Training Centre for 2 years. During her time with Magic Bus, she developed an inclination to help children in her village. In fact, her business idea of opening a computer centre came from an early realisation that children and young people in her village had no access to digital learning.
Today, Swapna is slowly building her business while giving back to her community. She has single-handedly doubled her family income giving much-needed confidence to her younger siblings. She is also a role model for girls in her neighbourhood.
About Magic Bus India Foundation:
From 3000 children in 1999 in Mumbai, Magic Bus has transformed the lives of over one million children and young people living in poverty, taking them from a childhood full of challenges to a life with meaningful livelihoods. Magic Bus is one of the largest poverty alleviation programmes running across 22 states and 81 districts in India, impacting 4,00,000 children and 35,000 young people. We deliver sessions in close to 1363 schools and in 1961 communities. Since the Livelihood programme began in 2015, we have over 50 livelihood skilling centres and 7 entrepreneurship incubation centres in high-need strategic locations in India. Through these livelihood centers, more than 35,000 young people have been trained and more than 70% placed in jobs in the organised sector with an average salary of INR 12000. Magic Bus also has programmes in Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar with 8912 children in 40 communities and 31 schools. We have networking and fundraising offices in the US, UK, Singapore and Germany.