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Government Grants: Free Money for Those Who Don't Mind Asking (Nicely)



There's a quiet hum of entrepreneurial energy in our bio-region. Many individuals, both women and men, are working tirelessly on their business ventures. Yet a surprising number face a common hurdle: a lack of awareness or difficulty accessing government schemes designed to support them. That's where AVAG steps in, acting as a bridge between our entrepreneurial community and the resources they need to thrive.

Ditch the Dishes, Embrace the Dividends Recently, we surveyed our women's groups and discovered over 400 members actively involved in small and medium businesses. This sparked the idea for an "Orientation to Entrepreneurs in the Bio-region" event.

The goal was simple: connect our business community with the resources available from state and central government schemes. With 175 participants – a mix of individuals already selling, trading, and producing, as well as those with creative business ideas – the event proved to be a resounding success.

Export Exposé: How to Sell Your Macrame to the Masses (Worldwide!) We invited key figures to shed light on the available support. Mr. Arul, General Manager of the District Industrial Center (DIC), provided a clear roadmap for starting a business, with a particular focus on empowering women to achieve independence and contribute to the national economy. He even distributed flyers outlining the various schemes and how to access them, including options with and without subsidies ranging from 25% to 35%.

Representatives from the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) added another crucial layer. They emphasised the importance of product distinctiveness, standardisation, branding, labelling, and packaging. Beyond offering guidance, they expressed a willingness to support our craftspeople by facilitating participation in state and national fairs, and even assisting with export registration.

A Nodal Point for Progress The event wasn't just informative; it fostered collaboration. AVAG was approached by participants with the request to become a nodal NGO for local craftspeople. This designation would grant a free or subsidised stall at exhibitions, providing direct access to buyers – a golden opportunity for our talented artisans.

The positive feedback was overwhelming. Craftspeople expressed immense value in the program, and women in small businesses requested entrepreneurship training. The need for skill development workshops was also highlighted, underscoring the comprehensive support system that's taking shape.

Empowering Women's Health This commitment to community well-being extends beyond business. Cancer awareness and screening programs are another crucial area where AVAG bridges the gap. Despite rising breast and cervical cancer rates, societal taboos often prevent open discussions. To combat this, we collaborated with government healthcare providers to offer free screenings during our Harvest Festival. Over 250 women benefited from this initiative, receiving checks from the Government Primary Health Center for cancer and other lifestyle diseases.

We further extended our reach by partnering with the Cancer Trust in Pondicherry. This interactive session provided a safe space for 75 women to ask questions and gain valuable knowledge. This enthusiastic response reaffirmed our commitment to spreading awareness and empowering women to take charge of their health.

The Power of Connection At AVAG, we believe in fostering connections – between individuals, businesses, and vital government resources. By bridging these gaps, we create a fertile ground for entrepreneurship to flourish and empower women to live healthier, more fulfilling lives. 


Written by Nadia Akcadurak