Shruti Jain is a soap and candle maker from Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh. She teaches the women of her neighborhood how to prepare handmade soaps, candles, and wax sachets, and sell them online.
L. Bhuvaneshwari is a mehndi artist from Coimbatore, with a BSc in Fashion Technology. She paints the hands and feet of brides and their relatives on their special day.
Janhabi Banerjee is a freelance content writer from Kolkata, earning just about enough from writing SEO-friendly content for companies and NGOs.
What do these women have in common?
A skill they have mastered and an unquenchable drive to expand their horizon and their business.
This is the typical creator-enterpreneur on Spark.Live - women (and men), often from India’s Tier 2 and beyond, who are coming online for the first time in their family’s history to offer a professional service that was till now limited to their immediate offline connections. None of the existing media platforms yet understands their need for discovering users who want to acquire the skill they can offer and a learning community they can nurture and grow with.
When we first started working with women creators from the ground in India, little did we know about their market pull. But as we began to organise classes and services, we came across lakhs of young and middle-aged women - constituting about 40% of India’s 1.4B population - who are raring to go, who want to learn vocational skills that will permit them to earn from home. These skills can range from soap-making to embroidery, from finance and accounting to baking. It became an interesting project for us to organise these skills under a single umbrella, offering opportunities to those accessing vocational education on the internet for the first time.
What we also discovered is the innate ability of women teachers to nurture students. And, very interestingly, we noticed many of our female students turn into teachers themselves on our platform after taking several courses - thereby completing the cycle of learning and becoming edupreneurs in their own right.
A remarkable aspect about working with women is that they form close communities and help each other - there’s space for everyone to grow and support their families and themselves. Statistics say that 12.6% of SMEs in India are run by women - but this does not take into account the vast numbers of women who are in the service and education sectors, where women can potentially own and run over 70% of education or social science-driven services, ranging from yoga, nutrition, therapy, dance and music to digital marketing, interior designing, fashion and beauty related services, graphic design, art, and culinary services.
In the course of our journey, we found out that the major hurdle in Indian women’s ability to upskill themselves was language. Of the 65% of women in India who are educated, less than 3% can communicate in English. For the others, education has to be imparted in the mother tongue - and this forms the backbone of what we do at Spark.Live.
Educating in the vernacular has its own challenges - services need to be streamlined and courses need to be written from scratch in a way that there is gradual growth in a student’s learning curve. It is a journey that we have just begun and are enjoying to the fullest, discovering nuances and patterns that we didn't know existed and offering practical lessons that can be turned into a repeat source of revenue.
Learn more to find out the thesis we follow, and our approach of blending Lifelong Learning, EdTech and Skill-development on Spark.Live.
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