Following the Recipe of Success

Rout's successes as a microentrepreneur are her immaculate networking skills and presentable demeanor. These two qualities have helped Rout transcend through different stages of her microenterprise. Having started her food preparation and supply business, Rout utilized her networking skills to convince people for availing her service and grew the clientele by branching out through existing clients.

Being a Christian woman in predominantly Muslim city, Rout has faced hindrance in becoming acceptable to her prospective market. Prejudices against minority religions, especially those related to hygiene, once restricted Rout's ability to grow her clientele. However, with her networking skills, Rout was able to find channels of inclusive and accepting clients that would gauge the food prepared by Rout on its taste and presentation, and not on the religious identity of the person who prepared it. She feels that there is growing pluralism in the society, and the concern about having food prepared by a Christian woman is decreasing. While she might not realize it, Rout herself is playing a significant part in doing away with that barrier for her community's social and economic inclusion. She has formalized an effective marketing techniques, and has printed business cards that are passed on to clients for referrals, and are distributed among target areas by her son as well.

Rout plans to scale-up her business in terms of operational size and product services. At the moment, Rout runs her business from the kitchen at her home, but if her profitability continues to increase, and financial support carries through, she would expand into a designated restaurant with takeaway and eat-in facilities. She believes that having a restaurant will be more beneficial not only financially, but also as an area for engagement for the society around her, where people can have an area to interact among each other. Simultaneously, a scaled-up restaurant will allow Rout to provide cooking and baking classes to girls in her neighborhood that have the passion for starting their business but have not mastered the culinary art yet. To diversify her market and expand business further, Rout offers cooking service at clients' doorsteps which allows her to further lower her costs by transferring the utilities and cutlery expenses to the clients by using their kitchens.

Rout's business has had extensive impact on her family's livelihood in terms of quality of housing and studies of her children. The house she lived in was lower than the ground level and would be flooded by water from the street drains. Utilizing the profits generated by the business, Rout was able to make improvements at her home to ensure that it is not lower than the ground, and protected from flooding. Her kids are now studying, with the eldest having completed her B.A. and younger ones have completed their I.Com and F.A., and plan to study further. Apart from this, Rout's family has expanded its social engagement as a result of her interaction with clients and she is now more integrated with the wider community around her irrespective of their religious affiliation.

Rout's contribution to her community is twofold. Her effort is creating greater space for women in her community, and also countering stereotypes held regarding Christians by the society. By providing food and cooking service to households in the community around her, she is sharing the burden of a task otherwise typically performed by women, and serving as an excuse to keep them at home. The ability to avail home-made food, or to have it prepared in their own kitchen, is allowing women to utilize their time in other activities, especially jobs geared towards economic gains. Another great contribution by Rout for her community is that the confidence that she is developing for other Christians among majority religious groups. By close interaction with people of other religions, she humanizes the presence of Christian citizens in the country that are often alienated due to religious prejudice. This is a major contribution towards reinstating the social fabric through increased interaction in the society that has been marred by differences of creed.

"Rout's successes "


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