“Malala Yousafzai once famously remarked, ‘We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.’ This sentiment rings true worldwide, as we have yet to bridge the gender gap in numerous facets of life. Despite India’s recent surge in startup culture, with leaders emerging and businesses booming, we still have a long journey ahead. However, one beacon of hope shines bright: the rise of women entrepreneurs.
Despite facing significant challenges such as limited access to financing, social and cultural barriers, and a lack of support and resources, women in India are breaking down barriers and building successful enterprises from the ground up. From ideation to production, seed funding to securing loans, marketing to delivering services, women are making their mark across all sectors. It is no surprise that women are capable of such feats – their grit and determination have always turned the tables. This is where the story of Pracol begins.
PraCol.com’s focus is on onboarding Women Entrepreneurs whom they call as “Prayojikas “who have existing products and brands but are struggling with outreach. These women are in the early stages of their business and need support in marketing their products in a supportive ecosystem. PraCol helps these women by leveraging its network and expert marketing strategies through its platform.
Pracol stands for Prayaana Collective : A women collective founded by Dr.Chandra Vadhana, who is a serial social entrepreneur and a highly successful women achiever. Her own struggles with entrepreneurship in the early days inspired her to create an environment that provides a helping hand to women attempting entrepreneurship without much support. But, that was just a beginning.
Today PraCol is managed by a dedicated team of fellows and women leaders, led by Ms. Nisha Soman – the COO of PraCol. According to Ms.Nisha, the future of women entrepreneurship lies in rural regions of India, as these women entrepreneurs create economic opportunities for themselves and their communities, contributing to the overall development of the region. However, rural women face significant challenges when it comes to starting and growing businesses, including limited access to capital, training, and networks. Despite these obstacles, with the right support and resources, rural women entrepreneurs can overcome these challenges and build successful businesses. PraCol aims to provide rural women entrepreneurs with training, mentorship, a free platform, technology, and infrastructure to help create new economic opportunities, build stronger communities, and promote gender equality.
PraCol.com whose tagline is ‘Do Good While Shopping,’ is the in fact a business vertical of Prayaana Labs – a non-profit organization that recognizes the potential of budding entrepreneurs, promotes their brand online, and cultivates a loyal customer base for them. PraCol.com which was launched in 2019 is thus India’s first women empowerment-driven e-commerce platform with Unity, Sustainability, and Empowerment as its foundational concepts.
Unity is represented by the coming together of women from diverse backgrounds, as only by working together can women truly solve their collective issues. ‘If you’re fighting alone, you have a tough journey ahead of you. But if you fight together, it gets easier.’, says, Ms. Remya, the Digital Marketing team member.
Sustainability is another major focus for PraCol – “our core intention is to steer clear of unethical practices and prioritize environmentally friendly and sustainable goods and services”, says Ms. Sakshi Kumar, who heads the customer care. In fact, they even sell several upcycled products on their website.
Finally, Empowerment is undoubtedly the most crucial pillar of the PraCol process, ensuring that women have the tools, resources, and support they need to succeed. “Pracol gave me a second innings in life and provides me with flexibility of working from home”, says Ms. Chitra Prem, who restarted her career after a long break due to family building.
PraCol has set its sights on achieving its Vision 2023, which includes 1000 Prayojikas and 1 million customers. While this goal may seem ambitious, the momentum and support that PraCol is receiving suggest that it may soon become a reality. PraCol is already transforming lives, with many satisfied customers and happy vendors. However, despite its progress, PraCol still has a long way to go. You too can become a part of the PraCol family by making a purchase at pracolshop, or by helping PraCol grow by becoming a Prayaana fellow.
In conclusion, PraCol’s mission to empower women entrepreneurs and create a supportive ecosystem for them has the potential to transform the lives of thousands of Prayojikas and contribute to the overall development of rural India.