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BACKGROUND

During its first year, the center aims to create a supportive ecosystem for tech entrepreneurs, to help them build and scale tailored inclusive tech innovations for the challenges faced by the artisan communities in India.

India has a rich cultural heritage and handicrafts contribute to both its culture and economy. From mere shelf decoratives, handicrafts have transformed to daily usables. Handicrafts is a labor-intensive industry with a high potential of employment for the poorer sections of the society in rural areas. Indian Handicrafts industry is considered as the second highest employment providing industry after agriculture. Employment within the sector increased from 65.72 lakh in 2005-06 to 76.17 lakh in 2010-11. Exports in the handicrafts industry gave a rise to 26,590.25 Cr in 2018-19 from 23,029.36 Cr 2017-18, displaying potential of market expansion in this sector.

The biggest problem for artisans is accessing efficient markets to sell their wares. Their current distribution channels comprise of local exhibitions, rural cooperatives, or through the local arts & crafts middlemen.

Artisans across the country have thrived to keep our traditional handloom and handicraft alive. But in terms of economic gains, artisans seldom fall prey to the middlemen nexus. Middlemen traders procure products from artisans at abysmally low prices, often increasing markups and selling those products at exorbitantly higher prices.

Digital interventions can help in allocating more resources to the areas in need, and giving artisans work and financial identity which can be leveraged for a host of services and solutions.

Inclusive tech products can play a crucial role in identifying and plugging data leakages, maintaining records of products, building credit linkages with banking partners, and bolstering the overall rural entrepreneurship landscape. With the introduction of modern technologies of design and product innovation, the change is necessary for the informal sector to uplift the overall financial conditions of the artisan community. Inclusive technologies can boost livelihoods, resilience, and access to services through more appropriate solutions enabled by alternative data and at affordable prices due to lower-cost digital operations.

 

 

PROPOSED PROBLEM STATEMENTS

Catalyst Incubation Program is a 6-month intensive incubation program, with each month focused towards working on a specific aspect of the startup. The first two such cohorts of the program are focused on incubating startups building tech products for India’s artisan communities, solving problems around:

  • Forward market linkages: Helping artisans sell their wares to a much larger pan-India or possibly global market using digital and easily scalable solutions.
  • Access to credit: digital financial solutions that ease artisans’ access to formal sources of credit, thus helping them grow their business
  • Supply chain and logistics: solutions that help digitise end to end supply chain for artisans, helping them reduce breakage, pilferage and improving overall product quality.
  • Upskilling: solutions that help artisans access modern design techniques and fashion trends to help them create up-to-date products.
  • Marketing and branding: tech products that can help solve packaging issues for artisans at scale. At the same time, educate them about basic marketing techniques, product pricing strategies etc.

 

 

APPLY NOW

If you are an entrepreneur, passionate to change the lives of India’s largely neglected artisan community, and create valuable business opportunities for yourself and the community, then Catalyst AIC is the right platform for you.

Apply to our program to avail following benefits:

  • Research and Development: Access to a dedicated research team from Catalyst AIC, to help you do real-time product pilots, gain valuable customer feedback and use the same to improve your products.
  • Access to Capital: Leverage our wide network of investor and donor partners to access untapped capital to scale your business further.
  • Deep domain expertise: Catalyst AIC’s mentor pool is tailor-made to help startups developing inclusive tech products for India’s last mile. Leverage years of experience that mentors bring in, to fine-tune your offering.
  • World-class infrastructure: Unparalled plug and play infrastructure for you and your team, providing the necessary startup office environment that energises you to work for more.

APPLY TO THE PROGRAM BY FILLING THE FORM BELOW: