Rugs and Beyond Invited to IIM to Share Its Entrepreneurial Journey with a Focus on Handicrafts

One of India's premium B-schools, IIM-Shillong recently hosted its annual event - Emerge 2018 based on Entrepreneurship. There were several speakers invited from all across India to share their entrepreneurial journey with the students of IIM- Shillong while inspiring aspiring entrepreneurs.

Shillong, India, November 22, 2018 --( No story is complete without any sheer struggle or obstacle. Entrepreneurs focus on solving a problem and find an opportunity in the same. That’s exactly what Rugs and Beyond did when it saw a huge gap in the Indian Handmade Carpet industry and wanted to be an aggregator between local weavers and end customers. Founded by Sakshi Talwar, upon her return from the U.S. and quitting her high paying job, the company focuses on empowering local artisans and craftsmen. Emerge 2018 is an annual event organized by IIM-Shillong focused on entrepreneurship. IIM-Shillong is the 7th IIM and is one of the premium management institutes in India. The beautiful Campus that it is set in is not only scenic but also provides a conducive environment for students to study and focus on their Post graduate degree.

IIM-Shillong was founded in 2008 and this year they commemorated 10 years of their presence with scores of students graduating from this beautiful campus while securing high paying jobs. There were several speakers invited to the Emerge 2018 event to speak on a variety of topics like finance, future of Handicrafts, Entrepreneurship, etc. Amongst various speakers like Sandeep Sangaru (Sangaru Design Objects), Ms. Sona Puri (India Craft House), Dilip Barooah (Fabric Plus) and Dhiraj Thakuria, Ms. Sakshi Talwar, Co-Founder of Rugs and Beyond was invited to speak on Entrepreneurship with focus being on the Handicraft Industry.

The Indian Handicraft Industry is the 2nd largest in India after the Agricultural industry. India employs 22-25 million people in the handicraft industry which is huge. The discussion was based upon the real facts and the problems faced by local weavers and artisans. According to Sakshi Talwar, GI (Geographical Indications) Tags should be added to every handicraft product in accordance to from where the product originates from. This would not only ensure authenticity of the products but also prevent other countries from imitating such products and producing the same at cheaper prices. Apart from this, Ms. Sakshi also emphasized on the marketing and branding of “Made in India” products. It is so crucial to focus on the intricate craftsmanship involved in the making of these products and put India on a global map.

Some of the other solutions provided at the discussion of Emerge 2018 event was providing Micro loans to these artisans and provide capital adequacy through recognition of credit rating system. On the other hand, access to technology is really crucial. India should create an environment for MSME’s in order to partner with their global levels on innovation while adapting new technology. With the advent of everything technological and influx of digitalization, Rugs and Beyond was started as an Ecommerce company to provide a platform to these weavers and local artisans. While there is a lot more to do, one thing is clear that these local weavers and artisans need to be motivated monetarily and non-monetarily as well to keep the heritage of Indian handicrafts going.

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