What started off as a small non-profit retail venture in 1994, which helped rural artisans sell their ethnic products, now under the brand umbrella of Mother Earth has made Neelam Chibber one of the successful woman entrepreneur of our country. She is not only responsible for tripling the revenues for rural artisans by making them entrepreneurs and owners, but also a winner of the India Social Entrepreneur of the year in 2011 by Schwab Foundation.
Neelam Chibber who is an alumnus of the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad has done her specialization in Product Design. This powerful industrial designer feels that today’s women do not put enough effort into networking and she rightly affirms that building a solid network is imperative for any business.
Chibber has also authored two volumes of stone crafts of India, which were published by crafts council of India. Chibber Co-founded IndusTree Crafts in 1994, which primarily dealt retailing of handicraft ethnic products. Now it retails all the products through the very well known umbrella brand called Mother Earth, which was launched in 2008.
It’s pitiful and would make any ordinary person hot under the collar knowing we live in a country, which has history of incalculable artisanal value, yet millions of people who have this unimaginable artistic value are still living below poverty line. Chibber created Industree Crafts with the sole purpose to provide these marginal artisans with much-needed market access. So that these artists can get the desired working capital and intrinsic knowledge about value added production.
Ethnic Handicraft products are a part of an old and invaluable untapped sector. Which is surprisingly the second largest rural income provider after ‘Agriculture.’ Through Industree Crafts foundation and Mother Earth, Chibber is slowly yet, surely making a blended capital model, which will create an ecosystem that pushes growth in this sector.
This model currently impacts 12,000 artisans at whopping five million USD in sales. Chibber is positive that with their model they would be able to impact 1,00,000 artisans by next 7 years.
After seeing the true potential of this market, Future ventures invested and an undisclosed amount in early 2008 and Mother Earth became the brand and the parent company. Mother Earth at present operates eight retail stores across India. Not so long ago, Mother Earth received an additional funding by Grassroots Business Fund and from Lok Capital to expand their shops in leading retail chains and wholesale markets. Industree under the brand umbrella of Mother Earth has now incubated 24 self- help group companies.
Chibber has successfully created a sustainable for-profit business and at the same time is building livelihoods of artisan community, which proves that with enough persistence, and undivided commitment to your idea, one day that idea can transform into reality.
If you too have entrepreneurial dreams or wish to have a venture like the ones listed above, you need to have faith in your Chatur Idea. You will always wonder who will fund this idea and from where will you find investors. In that case, you can participate in the #BeAChatur Contest and not only be mentored, but also stand a chance to win a whopping Rs.10 Lac funding for your dream startup idea.