During the COVID pandemic, the economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic was devastating to entrepreneurs. Many small businesses were severely affected, and some didn't manage to survive.
Initiatives such as the "Livelihood Support of Covid-19 Pandemic Affected Low-income Community through Solar Energy Interventions" project have helped support entrepreneurs during this difficult time.
Under this project, SNV works with energy nexus women lead productive use of energy interventions to ensure the food security and livelihood improvement of COVID 19 pandemic affected Low-income communities. Hosne Ara Nila is one such entrepreneur who has managed to expand her business with help from this project.
Meet Hosne Ara Nila
Hosne Ara Nila is a working woman from the Jhenaidah district in Bangladesh. She has been running her small tailoring business from her home for six years. Hosne has always dreamed of expanding her business but felt unprepared to take on the expansion due to a lack of capital, marketing, and business promotion knowledge. Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic significantly decreased the sales and orders received. With support from the "Livelihood Support of Covid-19 Pandemic Affected Low-income Community through Solar Energy Interventions" project, Mrs Nila had the opportunity to buy two new electric sewing machines.
Women using solar sewing machines
Hosne Ara Nila's tailoring business
She received facility and capacity development training to help with market promotion, business record keeping, opening trade licence and help to develop her infrastructure. She has also onboarded six new employees, increased production, and started providing training for local women and adolescents free of charge. Now, she is receiving more local orders and is preparing readymade items leading her business towards more profit. She has realised her dream of expanding her business and has started to supply products to the wholesale market of neighbouring districts as well. Alongside the business benefits, the installation of solar PV on her rooftop is helping to reduce her utility bills. With the formation of Covid livelihood support fund (LISF) and Cooperative, she has the means to access more finance. She has an opportunity to develop a network of other entrepreneurs in the same situation.
Mrs Nila's new employees and trainees have benefitted from improving their skills, positively impacting their livelihood. Mrs Nila is hopeful about her business, and she dreams of inspiring and bringing changes to other women's lives. She said, 'Big changes start from small initiatives.'
Livelihood Intervention Support Fund (LISF) Cooperative Formation and Business Skill Development Training is part of SNV's ongoing energy project titled 'Livelihood Support of COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Low-Income Community through Solar Energy Interventions", funded by the Energising Development Programme.
To learn more about this project, visit the project website.