Rarely do we see businesses acknowledging the efforts of the people who help them do what they do –– local communities with their skills, expertise, and various learned techniques allow various brands and companies to reach newer heights. While the consumer may see the brand at face value, a much deeper story of local people awaits to be narrated.
Not all organisations fall into this category, of course, and we believe that those who do truly value their roots and the local communities should receive recognition. We came across four such startups that not only thrive on novel ideas, but also give the local communities their due diligence.
These startups have been part of the Ladakh-based Naropa Fellowship Programme that aims to encourage socially and environmentally-conscious entrepreneurs from the Himalayan region. Founder of OYO, Ritesh Agarwal extended support to them through his INR 1 Crore pledge to support entrepreneurs from small towns.
Giving the women of Kashmir and their skills the attention they deserve, EcoKash is a sustainable fashion brand that aims to preserve the authenticity of Kashmiri handcraft and clothing tradition. Putting Kashmiri art and culture on display, the startup appropriately merchandises Kashmir and all that it has to offer.
Find EcoKash here.
II. My Pahadi Dukan
The Himalayas are teeming with hidden gems –– this may be food, fashion, wellness items and more. The small businesses based here have a lot to offer, and My Pahadi Dukan makes it possible for them to sell beyond their geographical constraints. This startup is an e-commerce platform for these very businesses to expand through the medium of internet. Essentially, while the businesspeople of the mountains expand, we get to experience their goodness sitting hundreds of miles away.
Find My Pahadi Dukan here.
III. The Himalayan Chocolates
Skilled women from the villages of Kullu-Manali trained in the art of chocolate-making are the backbone of The Himalayan Chocolates. The mission to empower women from the region is always on, and the organisation works on the pace of the women. Moulding, infusing and packaging processes are non-mechanised and give the women a chance to work their way forward.
With flavours like Ladakhi Roasted Barley, Himalayan Pink Salt, Kashmiri Almonds and more, The Himalayan Chocolate blends craft and taste perfectly.
Find The Himalayan Chocolates here.
Founded by founded by Syed Faayiz Qadri, Rifat Amin and Saurav P. Satish, Zarin is a Kashmiri startup that provides a supply to the Himalayan rainbow trout - they have partnered with FreshToHome, and will now sell the fish to consumers across the country. Relieving the Kashmiri fishermen of some of their hurdles, the startup allows them to gain autonomy by having the assurance of a running business.
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