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Hello Kate Rushton  Kate Rushton I sincerely regret the delay in response. I wish to share that we have completed all the required ground level research and prepared the feasibility report having inputs from tribal women, consumers, domain specialists, consultants, local authorities etc who are residing in and around the village Jonha in Jharkhand from where we shall start this project. Below mentioned is the broad overview of our plans to grow the business in the first 3 years:

1) Level 1 (0 to 1 year)- Investment and Inception Phase: We shall implement the conclusive discussions and in-principle agreements that we have obtained from all major stakeholders given below. Further, we shall fully start the business operations and provide direct employment to around 100 girls / women who are at risk of trafficking and livelihood to at-least 100 additional households by working with them on contract basis. We shall provide refurbished clothes, sanitary pads made from them etc. at a very low cost so that they can protect their dignity and maintain hygiene.

(A) Collaborators:

• Arch Academy of Design (for designing and creating portfolio)
• Sales Express (for sales training of tribal girls & women)
• Self-Help Groups of Women (for ground level execution)
• Multiple Training Partners (for giving work related training)
• Multiple Donors of raw materials
• Labor Intensive Industrial Units (willing to support in sales of products)
• Finance and Legal Experts
• Multiple Local NGOs
• Journalists (willing to help us with geo-economic and political intelligence, handling of threats/conflicting situations at ground level)
• Marketing Partners (for handling our marketing activities. Mix of Pro-bono and paid services)

(B) Workers:

It may take anything between 6-8 months for the facility to become operational. Hence, initially we shall be allowing the women workers to take the material at their homes and give us back the finished product as per the guidelines provided by a cross functional team of merchandize manager, woman self-help government leader etc. The workers shall be supplied with necessary machines, materials and will work on salary basis.

(C) Retail Space Owners:

Within the 1st year we shall finalize the lease agreement with owners of retail spaces in urban or semi-urban areas.

(D) Manufacturers & Service Providers:

We have shortlisted various service providers / manufactures who would help us in constructing the facility. Within 1st we shall have the showrooms as well as the facility (around 4,000 sqft area) ready with all equipment such as sewing machines, washing machines, Water harvesting systems, IT infra etc.

Level 2 (2nd year of operations)- Sustenance and Scaling-Up Phase: We have identified 5 locations in the cities of Jharkhand state and 4 locations in tier 2 and 3 cities for showroom and facility. We shall have at least one more facility which will provide direct employment to tribal women & girls in the militancy affected regions.

Stores will be able to cover their operational expenditure and we shall be investing in education and/or life skills to girls & women. We have planned to include around 500 girls in the education program. Here is a partial list of measures that shall be taking to ensure that the business builds a formidable brand equity and mind share of the consumers.

1) Fashion shows in association with leading designer: The models (tribal girls or professionals) shall wear clothes of second hand shops refurbished especially by the designers for the occasion. The proceeds of the day goes for educating more girls and providing employment to more women.

2) Shop For a Cause - Online presence: The website of Aahan shall have dedicated area for online purchase of finished products.

3) Mobile App: With mobile app we shall aim to reach out to a wider audience base in the “youth” category. It is a major segment and we shall attract them with a range of options at a low cost.

4) Labor Intensive Industrial Units: The industrial units have a huge labor force who have huge demand for inexpensive clothes. We already have discussed with some labor intensive units to allow us space for few day to sell the products.

Level 3 (3rd year of operations)- Global Expansion & Diversification Phase: In this year we shall have our store in metro city of Delhi and major expansion will come by exporting products outside India. The application for obtaining license shall be moved in the 2nd year of operation so that we can commence our exports from the 3rd year.

We will diversify and provide girls & women training to make organic soaps, liquid soaps for hotels, hospitals, incense sticks etc. We have discussed it with 3 hospitals and two restaurants to support our initiative by buying these products from tribal girls. It will provide financial independence and prevent a large number of girls from getting trafficked or married off at an early age.