The Entrepreneurs Associates (tEA) brought smiles to the faces of 16 women street vendors on July 3, 2023, by extending zero-interest loans as part of their "Uplifting Women Street Vendors Programme" in Kohima, nagaland.
The event at the Red Cross Building in Kohima witnessed the philanthropic group Caring Friends, Mumbai, supporting the initiative to enable women street vendors to expand their businesses.
After observing the financial difficulties faced by women street vendors during the pandemic, tEA established this programme, through which over 1,000 women from Nagaland and Manipur have accessed zero-interest loans since 2021. Over 91% of the women shared their inability to relaunch their businesses due to exhausted savings.
During the programme, Neichute Doulo, CEO of tEA, encouraged the 60 women street vendors present to prioritise their financial planning.
He emphasised the importance of consistent savings, advising them to "pay themselves first" and consider long-term saving and planning rather than short-term gains.
Doulo also stressed the significance of providing quality service and exercising politeness in their dealings.
Neikule Doulo, Head of Communications at tEA, explained that the "Uplifting Women Street Vendors Programme" was developed after an in-depth study of the challenges faced by women vegetable vendors. As part of their ongoing efforts to empower and uplift women street vendors in North East India, tEA is currently training and working with over 6,500 women in Nagaland, Manipur, and Assam.
Lonyi Yalie, a street vendor and widow with three children, expressed her gratitude for the support she has received from tEA, which has changed her life, the media reported.
While she may not have acquired assets like other vendors, she is extremely happy that her profession and TEA's assistance have allowed her to provide a decent life for her family.
In addition to the zero-interest loans, tEA, in collaboration with Capri Global Capital Limited, launched the Specialised Accelerated Intensive Learning (SAIL) programme.
SAIL aims to provide intensive business inputs to women street vendors, targeting 200 promising women with the potential to adopt improved systems and technologies to achieve economic prosperity sooner.
Kezhosano Kikhi, a panel lawyer from the Nagaland State Legal Services Authority, highlighted the importance of the Street Vendors Act and encouraged women to organise themselves into pressure groups to fight for their rights and welfare.
Chunjanglu Gracy, Operations Supervisor at tEA, stressed the need for proper budget planning and capital management. Sentinaro Walling, Assistant Manager at EATACOL, also provided insights into the services available to women under this tEA vertical.
The programme was chaired by tEA's Community mobilizer, Azonuo Chietsu, while Bendang Walling, Pastor at Kohima Ao Baptist Arogo (KABA), invoked God's blessings. The event concluded with a vote of thanks from Lenu Neikha, Project Associate at tEA.