OREANDA-NEWS. October 21, 2015. For nearly three years, Ford has empowered women from seven villages near the Chennai plant with a tailoring training program which has now benefited more than 600 women. A significant number among those trained, including Viji, one of the beneficiaries recently featured in the Ford Fund newsletter, have started leveraging the training as an additional source of income for their families.

In its third phase in 2015, the program has evolved to identify sustainable avenues of income for the women through the creation of Self Help Groups (SHG) and the enterprise hub. The first of two planned enterprise hubs just recently opened in the area.

Speaking at the inauguration of the enterprise hub, P. Senthil Kumar, vice president, Powertrain Operations, Chennai Engine Plant, said, “With the successful launch of the enterprise hub, we are proud to have empowered the group of women to become future entrepreneurs.” 

Run in association with Hand in Hand India, the key objectives of the enterprise hub is to ensure that the women are aware of current market trends to make suitable decisions. Apart from continuing to train, the new enterprise hub will identify and maintain sustainable market linkages, through which their respective products can be sold.

Nearly 50 women will be empowered through various activities at the enterprise hub, receiving additional skill training, such as mat-making, terracotta product making and banana-rope making.

This year, the overall scope of the program has been expanded to reach out to nearly 1,000 women from neighboring villages. They will be trained in several other components, such as enterprise training and financial literacy.