Kozhikode: Kerala's all-women 'Mahila Mall', touted to be the first such initiative in the country, is all set to be more professional as the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (IIMK) has stepped in to overhaul its marketing model.
An ambitious initiative of the state's women self-help group 'Kudumbashree', the Kozhikode-based 'mahila mall' houses a series of shops run by women entrepreneurs in its five-storey building.
The 36,000 square feet mall boasts of branded outlets, supermarket, restaurant, boutiques, footwear shops, beauty parlours, banks, outlets for imported gadgets, handicraft, baby care, electronics and home appliances.
It also houses conference rooms, training centres and underground parking facility and is stated to provide jobs to 250 women directly and 500 women indirectly, Kudumbashree officials said.
However, the women entrepreneurs who enjoy a sizeable footfall during festive season and exhibitions, are currently experiencing dwindling customer numbers in off-season, resulting in an unsteady source of income.
This is resulting in a financial crunch and difficulty in paying rent, electricity bills and the salaries of the people employed in these outlets.
IIM Kozhikode, under its Social Outreach Programme, has reached out to the Unity Group of Kudumbashree in a coordination meeting held on Monday, to overcome this lacunae and to carry out a pro bono study of their marketing model to revamp and restructure the marketing strategy for Mahila Mall.
The project will be spearheaded by Debashis Chatterjee, director, IIM Kozhikode and Deepa Sethi, Chairperson, International Relations and faculty in the area of Humanities and Liberal Arts in Management at IIMK and will comprise a team of six students who will take this as a live project, an IIMK press release said here.
The team will furnish a detailed report with corrective measures to overcome the lean trading patch experienced by this Kudumbashree outlet.
On the initiative, Debashis Chatterjee said connections between society and educational institutions provide the best framework for inclusive growth and we all at IIM Kozhikode strongly believe in this and make constant effort to strengthen the social capital through our knowledge, expertise and skills.
We would provide the road-map to sustainable business model to Mahila Mall.
Excited at the prospect of teaming up with IIMK, Vijaya K, Secretary, Unity Group, Kudumbashree, said financial security is crucial to a self-help model like Kudumbashree."
It not only encourages women to participate but is also vital to offer social stability to households being run by these enterprising women entrepreneurs.
"We are hoping that IIMK, with its expertise and know-how, will help us in making Mahila Mall a financially sustainable role model in the true spirit for what the Kudumbashree project is known world over," she said.
Elaborating on the prospects of the association, Deepa Sethi said the IIMK team would make efforts to take Mahila Mall to newer heights and provide it a global exposure.
"There is a lot of enthusiasm in the team with regard to the project," she added.