Sisters in Solidarity: Breaking the Bondage of Marginalised Women in India

Abstract:

Set in November 2015, the case follows Sisters in Solidarity (SiS), a social enterprise established to emancipate marginalised women in Lucknow, India. SIS was an offshoot of Study Hall Education Foundation (SHEF), a non-profit organisation that promoted feminist pedagogy in the educational establishments under its wings. SHEF also provided high quality education to underprivileged girls from the slum areas through the Prerna Girls School (PGS). The mothers of PGS students, deprived of economic opportunities due to lack of skills and education, suffered in a vicious cycle of poverty, domestic abuse and oppression. Observing the positive outcomes that education and employability brought about in the lives of their daughters, these mothers approached SHEF for help.

Shibani Sahni, daughter of SHEF’s founder, spearheaded the establishment of SiS, which aimed to emancipate the women by improving their employability through vocational training. The enterprise had three business units—DiDi’s Foods, DiDi’s Driving and DiDi’s Creations. However, while the food unit of SIS had evolved into a self-sustaining and profitable unit and the driving unit was a cost neutral vertical integration that helped SiS achieve operational efficiency, the creations unit (the crafts and fashions business) was struggling and unprofitable.

Sahni had to overhaul the business strategy of DiDi’s Creations and turn the unit around. Resources were stretched; she would have to revisit all the business segments in the portfolio to sustain profitability and growth. More importantly in order to support more beneficiaries, SiS would have to scale up, but Sahni must assess the organisational readiness for this to take place.

This case offers an opportunity to learn about revenue growth strategies, profitability evaluation and divestment decisions and various expansion strategies available for a social enterprise. The case would also be helpful in understanding the elements of sustainability and scalability essential for social enterprise.

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·       The Case (SMU-17-0005)

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·       The Case (SMU-17-0005)

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·       The Case (SMU-17-0005)

·       Teaching Note (SMU-17-0005TN)

19 May 2017

Author:
Lakshmi Appasamy,
Saumya Sindhwani, Singapore Management University

Industry:
Food and Beverage, Public Sector and Non-Profit, Retail and Wholesale, Tobacco,

Year Completed:
2017

Temporal Coverage:
2015

Education Level:
Executive, Postgraduate, Undergraduate,

Data Source:
Field Research

Geographic Coverage:
India