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Empowering subsistence women entrepreneurs in India: Insights from Lijjat, Mulukanoor and MPWPCL

Bhavani Shankar Saripalli (Department of Marketing, Indian Institute of Management Indore, Indore, India)
Vinaysingh Chawan (Department of OM & QT, Indian Institute of Management Indore, Indore, India)
Srinivas Gunta (Department of Strategic Management, Indian Institute of Management Indore, Indore, India)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Article publication date: 10 July 2018

Issue publication date: 13 February 2019




Empowerment of women by social enterprises in emerging economies has received attention from researchers. This paper aims to study three social enterprises in India that aim to empower subsistence women entrepreneurs.


A comparative case analysis of three social enterprises is done to develop understanding of systems and processes adopted by them. Sources such as published journal and news articles, case studies, success stories and official websites are used for data collection.


The study found that all three organisations strive to increase the asset base of members by organizing disempowered subsistence producers lacking market power; extending services throughout the value chain, i.e. from raw material supply to marketing of products; ploughing back regular incomes and bonuses through mechanisms acceptable to all members; and empowering subsistence producers to gain market power and ability to choose. The interventions give market exposure and voice to the concerns of women producers. These organisations successfully leverage the strength of their relations with civil society and markets in sustaining the business. Women empowerment was found to be achieved through regular income, collective voice, ability to take decisions and creation of social value.

Research limitations/implications

This paper does not take into consideration enterprises promoted by government.

Practical implications

A conceptual framework is suggested in this paper along with insights for organisations interested in collectivising subsistence women for empowering them.


The conceptual framework provided in this paper enriches the understanding of social enterprises working with the objective of women empowerment.



Saripalli, B.S., Chawan, V. and Gunta, S. (2019), "Empowering subsistence women entrepreneurs in India: Insights from Lijjat, Mulukanoor and MPWPCL", Society and Business Review, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 71-92.



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