New Delhi: Government eMarketplace [GeM] and Self Employed Women’s Association [SEWA] inked a Memorandum of Understanding [MoU] for the advocacy, outreach, mobilization and capacity-building of last-mile women-led micro and small enterprises, women entrepreneurs, SHGs, Associations, Cooperatives, Collectives, Not-for-Profit Section 8 Companies, and various Voluntary Organizations [VO] as sellers and service providers in public procurement.
The MoU was signed by PK Singh, CEO, GeM, and Rehana Riyawala, Vice-President, SEWA in New Delhi on 19 May 2022.
GeM will train SEWA members to assist and enable women-led micro and small enterprises, women entrepreneurs, SHGs among others, with GeM processes related to seller registration and on-boarding on the platform, upload/ update of product/ service catalogues, acceptance of orders, participation in bids floated by Govt buyers, fulfilment of orders and invoice generation to receive payments directly into their bank accounts through the unified online national public procurement platform.
Vernacular language-based training curriculum in print and digital media for women entrepreneurs and SHGs based on the requirement of the participants will being developed by GeM in consultation with SEWA. Training sessions will be conducted through in-person and virtual training modes for SEWA members in district and block-level, who in turn will train last-mile women entrepreneurs and SHGs with various buyer and seller functionalities on the GeM portal.
GeM has sought to address the twin challenges of “access to markets” through GeM Outlet Stores and “access to finance” through GeM Sahay application for such under-served seller groups. Marketplace filters and icons on product display page for Women MSE entrepreneurs have been enabled on the portal to help government buyers meet the 3 percent [%] procurement target set aside for women-led MSEs in accordance with the Public Procurement Policy for MSEs [PPP-MSE] for promotion of women-led micro, small enterprises.
Further, GeM has created 200+ handicraft, handloom and office accessories product categories, along with 8 dedicated outlet stores to showcase and promote products made by women entrepreneurs from the informal sector. Creation of “Stitching and tailoring”, “canteen and catering”, “housekeeping” service categories tailored to generate employment and business opportunities for women in urban and rural areas are also available on the portal.
Social inclusion being one of its core values, Government e Marketplace [GeM] is focused on increasing participation from last-mile women-led micro and small enterprises, women entrepreneurs, and SHGs who face challenges in accessing government markets. Last-mile under-served seller groups in rural areas, namely; women-led micro and small enterprises, women entrepreneurs, SHGs and others such as khadi and tribal entrepreneurs, farmer producer organizations [FPO], Startups, artisans and weavers, divyangjan and Hunar-Haat craftsmen, bamboo producers, and allied stakeholders’ such as Corporates, Private Companies Colleges, Scientific and Technical Research Institutions, and Universities, among others in public procurement will benefit from this MoU.
Speaking at the ceremony, PK Singh, CEO, GeM mentioned that “inclusion is a core value at GeM, and this partnership will leverage the wide network of women entrepreneurs through SEWA to ensure the inclusion and participation of last-mile women entrepreneurs and women SHGs on GeM”. Presently, 1.31 lakh+ women MSE entrepreneurs are registered on the GeM portal and they have fulfilled approx. 5.7 lakh+ orders worth INR 10,752 Crore in gross merchandise value.
Rehana Riyawala, Vice-President, SEWA said that “the signing of MoU with GeM will usher access to an untapped market in public procurement for millions of women entrepreneurs from the informal sector”. Engagement of last-mile women-led micro and small enterprises, SHGs among others with Local Bodies, Panchayati Raj institutions located in block and district-level will spur hyper-local procurement of goods and services leading to employment- generation and wealth-creation in rural India.
The MoU will align the untapped entrepreneurial energy of last-mile producers and service-providers in rural India with local government buyers. Social and economic inclusion of last-mile women-led micro and small enterprises, women entrepreneurs, and SHGs from the informal sector in public procurement will lead to integration of local value-chains through “Vocal for Local” and “Make in India” initiatives of the Government, thereby furthering the aim of ensuring a self-reliant “Atmanirbhar Bharat”.