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Walmart to train women entrepreneurs

FILES-US-RETAIL-EARNINGS-WAL-MART Walmart has announced the second edition of women entrepreneurship development programme | AFP

Walmart, the global retail major, is giving a leg-up to women entrepreneurship in the country through a programme that will train them to become a part of modern organised retail. The US headquartered retail behemoth has announced the second edition of women entrepreneurship development programme which aims to sharpen their skills to build robust businesses.

Some of these women entrepreneurs will end up as suppliers for Walmart's stores. Walmart is present only in the cash and carry, that is wholesale format in the country. It has 21 stores across nine states. The company supported 32 women entrepreneurs in the first batch, out of which ten have already become suppliers with Walmart.

“As much as 80 per cent of customers for retail and even in Walmart are women. In that case, encouraging women to become entrepreneurs makes a lot of sense. In the US, a research was carried out a few years ago where women-owned business products were perceived to be of higher quality by the customers. So, I would say, all in all, it’s a strategic move," says Krish Iyer, president and CEO of Walmart India.

In 2011, Walmart in the US decided that it would source $20 billion from women owned businesses over a five year period. For international markets, including India, the target was to double the base. Iyer says that they have already achieved the target. More than 40 women owned businesses are currently supplying to Walmart India.

The programme will mentor women owned businesses that are 51 per cent owned, controlled and managed by women. They need to generate a minimum turnover of Rs 10 lakh and have to be in existence for 3 years or more. Women owned businesses that have seen maximum participation include food, handicrafts and home décor. 

During the programme, the women owned businesses will undergo capacity building training, mentoring and technical support customized to the needs of their businesses. These training modules will cover all key areas for better understanding of running a business—marketing, finance, business strategy, operations, legal and compliance, social networking among others. 

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