OdishaPlus Bureau

The World Skill Center in Bhubaneswar witnessed the inspiring Swakalpa Sahajog ‘Small Loans for Bigger Smiles’ event aimed at empowering nano entrepreneurs through access to credit. This event served as a beacon of hope and inspiration, underscoring the transformative power of small loans in nurturing thriving businesses and fostering smiles of prosperity.

The highlight of the event was the distribution of bank loan sanction letters by Shri Subhanga Kishore Das, Deputy Principal World Skill Center, to more than 40 mentees infusing them with the capital and confidence needed to expand their horizons. He commended the resilience and dedication of Swakalpa mentees highlighting their role in taking the Swakalpa initiative forward.

In a strategic stride towards bolstering the entrepreneurial ecosystem, Swakalpa forged key partnerships with industry giants such as Bharat Pe and Meesho. The collaboration with Bharat Pe provides Swakalpa entrepreneurs with access to a unified QR code for seamless payment solutions and opens avenues for additional financial support, underscoring a commitment to their holistic growth. Similarly, the partnership with Meesho extends a digital platform for Swakalpa mentees to showcase and sell their products effectively, leveraging the power of e-commerce to reach broader markets.

Rajiv Ranjan Guru, Mission Director, Sustainable Environment Resource Institute & Advisor, DIVAVI Gaon Ka Bazar; K Millan Patra AGM Local Head Office State Bank of India; Aswini Behera Assistant Manager SIDBI and Biswa Prakash Rout, Area Sales Manager, Bharat Pe, spoke on related topics at the knowledge sessions.

The event also provided a platform for the Swakalpa beneficiaries to share their stories of transformation.

“The commendable progress of Swakalpa is inspiring. Witnessing empowered entrepreneurs from every corner of Odisha is a source of immense joy. We extend our heartfelt wishes to all the entrepreneurs under the program. Their passion and dedication will elevate the initiative to a new height,” said Dr Subhanga Kishore Das.

Joining the event, Sandeep Lanjewar, Director Palladium India added, Palladium is honored to spearhead this visionary initiative, uplifting individuals at the grassroots level and integrating them into our nation’s economic growth agenda. It’s truly gratifying to witness numerous Swakalpa Entrepreneurs receiving recognition from financial institutions as truly bankable businesses. Over 50 of them have now been granted loans by these institutions, a significant step that will propel their businesses to new heights.”

Swakalpa is a self-employment training and entrepreneurship development program by the Odisha Skill Development Authority, Govt of Odisha, led by World Skill Center and supported by Asian Development Bank, with Palladium as an implementation partner. The program aims to equip 10 thousand ambitious youth with the necessary skills and knowledge and establish at least one thousand micro-businesses in the state of Odisha, ensuring a minimum 25% representation of women at all stages.