After successfully running a bank and a business school for rural women entrepreneurs, Mann Deshi Bank is now all set to form its own chamber of commerce at Mhaswad in Satara district, 180 km away from Pune. It is formed coordination with Mann Deshi Foundation has formed the first Mann Deshi Chamber of Commerce for Rural Women in India (MCCRW) in partnership with 'President Clinton Foundations’ initiative - Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) based in New York, USA.
MCCRW is first of its kind for rural women who have been created to provide women entrepreneurs in rural areas with mentorship, knowledge, and support through policy advocacy. The chamber of commerce will organize monthly workshops for members, and eventually provide targeted support to address each member’s specific needs. The announcement was made on Tuesday by Chetana Sinha, founder chairman, Mann Deshi Mahila Bank and CEO Rekha Kulkarni in Pune.
Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) helps its members articulate and develop commitments that fit their goals. CGI will help develop business plans. CGI supports the development of commitments by forging partnerships, facilitating cross-sector discussions, providing members with networking opportunities, and recognizing and showcasing members' work. However, CGI neither gives nor receives funds associated with member commitments and does not engage in their implementation.
Commenting on this, Sinha said, "This chamber of commerce will help to provide rural, female micro-entrepreneurs with mentorship services, access to markets, a network of like-minded peers, advocacy tools and increased access to capital. Majority of these women are from marginalised community. Mahila Bank with its innovating product has been able to provide financial services i.e. savings, loans, pension & insurance to street vendors. The capital provided by the bank has to go hand-in-hand with the women’s' business goals.
Mann Deshi was the first institution to set up a rural bank in India in 1997. Mann Deshi Foundation and the Bank are operating in Maharashtra and Karnataka. In 2006 Mann Deshi started the business school program for rural women with the founding sponsor of HSBC.
The women entrepreneurs graduating from the Business School will benefit from the services of the Chamber of Commerce to conduct their business. The bank has listed more than 155,000 women as clients and the Business School enabled more than 46,000 women to benefit from the graduation program.