ITC Shares

Local expertise creates global footprint

8 March 2018
Matthew Wilson, International Trade Centre

Women in India see their handiwork go international via IKEA

In February 2018 International Trade Centre Executive Director Arancha González and her team entered a small building in a little village in Mandya, India, to see entrepreneurship at work.

Twenty women – some with their young children – were seated in a long room full of looms used to weave fabrics for homeware, and using traditional techniques to create beautiful designs. Their products, through the support of Industree Foundation, will find themselves in IKEA stores and living spaces around the world.

The set-up provides a micro-ecosystem of empowerment, skills upgrading and market connection. For ITC, it provided lessons learned that can be shared with ongoing and future projects, such as our work with women in Ethiopia under ITC’s Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa (SITA) project.

Many of the women were taking home an income for the first time in their lives.
Many were gaining new expertise or translating their knowledge into marketable skills. All of them were increasing their confidence, and their contributions to their family income while also finding dignity in work.

These photographs offer a brief glimpse into the beautiful and unique work of these women, showing how local expertise can create a global footprint.