Empower 100 women as food entrepreneurs in India

Aug 14, 2014

Celebration of entrepreneurship

We are progressing, albeit slowly, towards resources to support 100 entrepreneurs.  We are delighted to acknowledge our donors who have continued to pledge support and committed to monthly giving. The journey however is far from over and we hope to reach our goals in the next six months.

The entrepreneurship program had surprise visitors in the last three months. Visitors from Copenhagen School of Business, Denmark and the Business School of the National University of Singpore, who expressed their interest in writing a case study about the project. 

Also, the ECO Kitchen is now part of a collaboration established by the Anna University, Chennai, to explore needs of children in Chennai city and to develop suitable strategies and products that would boost their health status.

The project plans to establish a training centre in Chennai for entrepreneurship development with special focus on KATHIR and for building supply chain for the production. 

We will be featuring in the America Tamil Medical Association conference (August 2014) at Washington, DC as a project of note from Tamil Nadu.

It has been very fulfilling few months and indeed a celebration for the spirit of entrepreneurship :)


Feb 26, 2014

Progress until December 31, 2013

Kathir's core philiosophy is to provide resources and skills; create markets; and strengthen product range on sale. We could not as hoped significantly increase the number of entrepreneurs in this half year (July to December 2014), however we made significant strides supporting the existing entrepreneurs and improving the product range.

The readers will recall that the project set a fundraising goal of 100 carts (40000$) and has until date raised a little less than 22000$. By augmenting community donations we have as on date supported over seventy entrepreneurs,and the project is still hopeful of reaching its desired target by end 2014.

In October 2013, a series of workshops conducted in partnership with several non profits in Chennai city allowed us to address 4270 individuals of whom over 200 were identified for second level entrepreneurship training. 49 individuals have been selected for the KATHIR opportunity and they await required resources to establish the franchise. In the meanwhile we have enhanced the product range, introducing a delicious and nutritious vegetable rice, which has not only increaed the total sale volume for the entrepreneurs but has also created a new market: take away.

During the year 2014, we are proposing to establish a new opportunity - KATHIR CAMPUS - that allows individual entrepreneurs to set up a food service business within small offices and pantries, on exclusive basis. 

Your support is more critical than ever for the entrepreneurs in waiting. Please view our updated page on details of how this project works at http://www.ecokitchen.org/eco/kathir.html

Jul 25, 2013

Progress report as of June 30, 2013

Women's Day event promoting KATHIR

We are pleased to report that the geographical area of the KATHIR project is now extended to suburban Chennai following augmentation of the delivery fleet and demand therefrom. ECO Kitchen conducted several community outreach sessions during this period.

International Women’s day 2013

ECO joined hands with the NGO SUEB to celebrate the international women’s day 2013 on March 8th.  Over 300 women participated in the KATHIR reach-out campaign. From this single event, 35 women registered for the entrepreneurship training on food handling, sales, hygiene, finance literacy, customer satisfaction etc.

Advocacy Programs

We met officials from the state authorities and law enforcement agencies to continue informing them about the goals of the project and to provide an enabling business environment for the women entrepreneurs. We also met with the various people’s representatives and police departments to mobilize their support, and they have pledged their support for this project.

Progress and milestones

ECO Kitchen has identified 20 women who have completed the training and are awaiting the award of micro franchise “KATHIR”. With the available funds, we have inducted 6 entrepreneurs and appeal to all readers to share this report with their friends and also support the project again this year to reach the goal of 100 entrepreneurs. Our financial goal was to reach 40000$, we have reached 21000$, with a remainder of 19000$. We have made meaningful progress with our goal as we have so far inducted 63 entrepreneurs commensurate with the funds raised.

Future plans

We will be introducing a new variant of the entrepreneurship, “Kathir Campus” a captive plan for small businesses to support women entrepreneurs with a safe location. Vending will be exclusive to that business – staff and visitors.  Entrepreneurs will use either carts or furnish available pantry space. We expect that the women will earn similar income through this model. 

Mar 4, 2013

Reaching newer milestones

The project has kept its focus on women entrepreneurs. Currently 52 women have graduated to become successful entrepreneurs, and we have crossed an important milestone of creating over 50% of our target both for implementation and funding. March 13, 2013 is a 30% bonus day for contributions made to the project through Global Giving and we request you to consider talking about us with your friends. 

The project also has considered those women who enrolled to become entrepreneurs but could not, or would not, given certain circumstances, primary amongst which is an hesitation from their family to be supportive of entrepreneurship. For them, we have extended the food services opportunity as ECO Kitchen signs up catering orders at work places and private residences for parties, and these women are trained to become food services agents. Over fifty three women currently serve in this role.

Community Outreach: 


ECO Kitchen observed World Aids Day at Nungambakkam Girls High School, Chennai on Dec 1st 2012. The Number of participants were 450 students of very limited means. The programme was conducted to create awareness about HIV/AIDS among the adolescents. It also aimed to alleviate the stigma that prevails in the minds of common people. The participants were provided with gifts and delicious breakfast and lunch with support from Cognizant Technology Solutions.


The women entrepreneurs and their children who are students of corporation school were given the opportunity to celebrate and welcome the New Year. It was held at Chennai High School, Vannyateynampet ( Eldams road) on 2nd January 2013. The number of participants were 250. The New year celebration was followed by fine lunch and 18kg cake cutting and distribution of the same. We also took this as an opportunity to honour the students who participated and won prizes in the World Aids Day 2012 programme. 


As part of ‘Endrum Punnagai’ programme, the students were brought for an exposure visit on 20th February 2013. 60 students from Chennai High school, Adyar were the participants. The purpose was to communicate to the students about the livelihood opportunity provided and the services rendered by ECO Kitchen. This would help in reaching the people of their surroundings and communities and to disseminate the opportunity available through KATHIR to the community at large through these children. Nutritional quiz was conducted to enhance the knowledge of students on the food that they consume everyday


Oct 22, 2012

New partnerships, enhanced opportunities!

We had a very productive quarter between July and Sep 2012 reaching out to other non profits that assist women and offering to partner with them. The highlights for the quarter are -

  • Entrepreneurs reunion meeting- 27 partners attended the meeting- August
  • Total No of entrepreneurs- 65 ( average meals off take 40 meals per individual, up by 30%)
  • NGO meetings- for period July-Sept- 12 meetings ( includes all meetings conducted through NGOs)
  • All meetings are successfully generating potential Kathir entrepreneurs.
  • NAAM foundation and EQUITAS NGOs have taken steps forward to introduce all women ( differently abled and destitute women) to ECO Kitchen. Training is presently being offered and locations being identified. NAAM Foundation inductees will be in December 2012 during their annual meeting.
  • NGO meeting held on 15th Sept 2012 at Chennai, called on all NGO partners and CBO ( Community based organisation) partners to be part of the world food day event.
    We had proposed to increase awareness about KATHIR to the citizens of Chennai and planned an event for the WORLD FOOD DAY. Over 30.000 meals were donated on October 14, and through the generous time of students who volunteered at the event.
    More information on the WORLD FOOD DAY activity, in which we met the imminent needs of the hungry for that day, and offered them hope for tomorrow through the entrepreneurship also received support from Rotary clubs in Rockville, USA and Madras Midtown. We received a delivery truck through them, a significant addition to the project reducing the cost of operations, and also over the next one year through their members have committment for sponsorship of entrepreneurs. This tracks well with the generosity of the benefactors via Global Giving.
    A special thanks to all of you, donors, who have made the project possible. We have a long way to go and we will continue to seek your support.


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Project Leader

Aylur Kailasam Ganesh


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Map of Empower 100 women as food entrepreneurs in India