Dharma Life - Making Profits through Rural Entrepeneurs

Gaurav Mehta MBA2010 founded Dharma Life in 2009, with an aim to promote self-employment in rural India. Hindustan Unilever’s Project Shakti, which taps women self-help groups and invites them to become direct-to-consumer sales distributors, comes closest to what Dharma Life does. It, however, has a different business model. “We recruit people with basic education, who are in need of money and don’t have a full-time job. We typically recruit subsistence farmers and women,” says 34-year-old Mehta, who invested $200,000 from his personal savings into the company.

Dharma imparts sales training to its recruits. “The idea is to create entrepreneurs out of these people,” Mehta says. Zaitun, affectionately called ‘bua’ (aunt) by villagers, is one of the 2,000 entrepreneurs who work with Dharma. They earn a monthly income between Rs 2,000 and Rs 8,000 depending on their sales.

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