Over the past couple of weeks, I along side a dozen other Intuit employees, had the incredible experience of partnering with Team 4 Tech and Connecting Dreams Foundation to deliver a entrepreneurial workshop to women living in rural India (just north of Delhi). I've been home for a couple days now and have had a chance to process a bit of what we experienced--the places we visited, the people we met, and the friendships we made.
The process to create and deliver the content for the course was not too dissimilar to how we create products and services at Intuit ... it started with people; talking with them and seeing them in their environment. We only finalized the curriculum after we met these women in their villages--after saw their shops, met their families--and even sung and danced in their homes.. In just a few hours, our team started to feel more connected and felt a love for the people and their rich culture--it was both inspiring and humbling.
In anticipation of our visit, the village covered their main road with messages in English. The village had just under two-thousand people and presented one of the warmest welcomes I've ever experienced.
After our welcome, we were set up to have three interviews with different owners of micro businesses/shops in the village. Our first women entrepreneur ran a tailoring business equipped with a catalog of clothing choices customers could choose from.
When interviewing, our team discovered some key insights that helped us shape our lesson plan.
1. They all LOVE their job. When asked about "they're favorite part of the day" they all referred to their time working in the tailor shop, making clothes for the their local customers.
2. Goals. Efficiency when scaling their business was not as meaningful as the opportunity to employ more women.
3. Support systems are needed in order to thrive. In order to thrive as a micro business, these women needed the support of their husbands--and family. As shown in the picture, the business represents a community of women working together.
As our team finished up the interviews, I spent some time hanging out with the men and boys of the village. We didn't get to communicate much, but they seemed to be glad we were there.
Our first day in the village was an incredible experience. As I shared on Twitter, it was a customer interview and "follow me home" I'll never forget. We finished the day inspired and excited to teach these women of rural India. Their passion for developing their business was only matched by their resourcefulness and determination to be successful and help their families.