According to a recently released report by Project Her&Now, GIZ titled “Women Entrepreneurs’ Resilience in Times of Covid-19”, extending marketing activities to additional channels was one of the most prominent remedial measures adapted by women entrepreneurs in India to deal with operational disruptions after the Covid-19 virus outbreak. The report further highlights that in the post-Covid times, 82% women entrepreneurs reworked their marketing strategies to include new digital solutions; even those who did not have a social media presence before the pandemic, created accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to get in touch with their customers and expand their reach.
For instance, the report highlights Jaipur-based entrepreneur Preeti Rathore, Founder, Amritatva (formerly known as Ambrosia Farms) – an enterprise that is into the cultivating, processing and selling of oyster mushroom as well as value-added vegan and gluten-free mushroom products like mushroom powder, mushroom cookies, chocolates, etc. – is one woman entrepreneur who reaped the benefits of adapting a social media centric and a ‘digital-first’ approach to her business in the pandemic period.
Elaborating further on the topic, Preeti Rathore says, “Since the inception of our enterprise in 2019, we had been selling through few retail outlets and local farmer markets. However, when Covid hit last year, reaching out to customers physically was no longer possible. Hence, we decided to spend most of our time and energy in creating awareness to our potential customers via digital channels. Thanks to the social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram — which emerged as saviours — we started sharing knowledge sheets to bring in more awareness regarding the health and nutritional benefits of oyster mushroom, importance of organic and vegan diet, among various other related topics. This outreach through social media gave us good exposure, and orders for our oyster mushroom products began trickling in, which in turn helped our enterprise to sustain and grow at a healthy rate.”
Apart from Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, Preeti’s enterprise is quite active on YouTube as well – where she uploads videos mostly related to cooking and recipes with Oyster mushrooms and other types of medicinal mushrooms. Additionally over the last few months, she has conducted multiple webinars (which she likes to call ‘mushroominars’) and workshops to train several people on mushroom cultivation and consumption; for these workshops, she drove traffic mostly organically through social media handles of her enterprise.
When it comes to designing posts or editing short videos for social media, Preeti is using free-of-cost simplistic online tools like Canva, and is being aided by her husband Maanveer Singh – who hails from a marketing background and is now the Co-Founder and an active partner at Amritatva. Due to the consistent social media outreach, knowledge-giving and comprehensive digital marketing efforts put in by Preeti and her husband, Amritatva has been able to grow its customer base by 40% and potential customer reach by over 200%, since the start of the pandemic last year!
Notably, Preeti Rathore was a part of Project Her&Now’s Entrepreneurship Support Programme in Rajasthan in 2020, which helped her substantially to scale up her business and to identify and implement various new ideas related to digital and social media. ‘Her&Now – Empowering Women Entrepreneurs’ is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and in partnership with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), Government of India. In Rajasthan, the Her&Now Project is running in partnership with Startup Oasis.
Armed with greater entrepreneurial wisdom after the Her&Now programme, Preeti is now looking forward to further diversify Amritatva’s product line by adding more organic grocery items, medicinal mushrooms like porcini and shiitake mushrooms and various other mushroom-based home food products such as pasta and soups. She will be also launching a full-fledged e-commerce store of Amritatva soon.
As regards to social media activities in the future, she is planning to engage with her target audience and acquire more customers via Instagram and FB Live sessions and by leveraging short videos on Insta Reels and IGTV. In the long run, she envisions leading by example in inspiring and enabling many people to switch to a sustainable and organic lifestyle. Over 79% of women entrepreneurs, like Preeti, switched to digital marketing and social media marketing during the pandemic to grow their businesses. To learn more about them, click here: https://herandnow.in/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/HerNow-Report-on-Women-Entrepreneurs-Resilience-in-Times-of-Covid-19.pdf