Unlocking the power of women in India

Improving the livelihoods of women in rural India

Back in 2021, AkzoNobel India launched Project Indradhanush. It had one overall objective – to improve the livelihoods of women in rural India. 

Since then, the initiative has enjoyed considerable success. Focused on providing vocational skills training to women to help them become professional painters, more than 600 are now working as empowered painters or paint entrepreneurs. The project has also raised awareness for the opportunities that are available among 15,000 women in 200 villages across three states.

“Every single one of our women entrepreneurs is much more than a solo success story, because they’re also inspiring other women in their communities to become financially independent,” explains Rajiv Rajgopal, Managing Director of AkzoNobel India. “It’s about taking the male-dominated paints business in India towards a more diverse and inclusive future.”

Another key aspect of the initiative is the setting up of Indradhanush paint stores in existing shops run by local women entrepreneurs. This involves making Dulux products available in establishments such as grocery stores, whose owners are keen to expand their business.

All store owners are offered a two-day Entrepreneurship Development Program and, earlier this year, we inaugurated our landmark 100th Indradhanush store in the state of Tamil Nadu. 

Another landmark soon followed. As well as the paint stores, three Indradhanush paint dealerships have also been established – the latest of which is the first Dulux dealership in India to be owned and operated by a women’s self-help group.

Adds Rajgopal: “We firmly believe that empowering women is the first step to building a more equitable future. By unlocking livelihood-linked vocational skills in decorative painting, project Indradhanush aims to empower women to become independent and realize their entrepreneurial dreams.”

It's certainly an opportunity the four entrepreneurs from the women’s self-help group have grasped with both hands. Previously blue-collar construction workers in their village, they’re now building exciting new futures in the paint industry. 

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