Achiever's Success Story
“Rashmi Dhariwal, Co-Founder & CEO, SETU”
Introducing Rashmi Dhariwal, a multifaceted personality of an entrepreneur and a social activist! An engineer by qualification, she previously worked for 11 years with a prestigious Corporate before starting her own social enterprise. She is among the list of 100 most successful Indian women entrepreneurs in MSME. She was also selected for the top 20 “The Game changers- FICCI FLO Women Startup awards” in Feb-2021. She is also an eminent speaker & gives special lectures on Entrepreneurship and Sustainability at many MBA, Technical & Design institutes and has been a TEDx speaker too.
15 years ago, Rashmi was leading a comfortable life when she came in contact with an artisan community, who had expertise in hand weaving fine fabrics with intricate designs. The lack of access to market and technology-driven competition were taking their toll on the artisans. Their art was dying along with their spirits. She says: “That made me realize there was a lot more in life and that I should try to make a difference! There had to be a bigger purpose of my being.”
This was the moment when she left her job and founded SETU with the mission of empowering the socio-economic standing of underprivileged artisans. The main motto is to make them self-sustainable! ‘SETU’ in Sanskrit means `the bridge’. As indicated from the name, SETU acts as a bridge between the underprivileged/marginalized artisans and the international markets, at the same time, working for social, economic and environmental well-being of the artisan community. SETU identifies rural and minority artisan communities in need and provides skill training workshops, product design, capacity building, infrastructure and machinery to enable them to engage in trade. SETU also liaisons with international markets to export products that these communities produce, providing full market access. They especially focus on women empowerment. SETU’s network is associated with over 10,000 artisans, over 40 groups and spread in 16 states of India.
SETU has created a significant impact towards economic, social & environment sustainability. Their spectrum of activities include women empowerment, sustainable development, infrastructure development, community mobilization, capacity building, health camps, environment protection and awareness workshops.
In her fray towards making the world a better place, Rashmi also founded a charitable Society called SETU-Society. The basic aim of the Society is to perform works of charity, implement social & economic welfare projects for the weaker sections of the society.
“I have seen the lives of people transformed through our work and that makes me proud! I feel that I am finally doing justice to the purpose of my existence. Every person should develop a feeling of giving back to the society, not necessarily in monetary terms only, but by servicing the society in other ways. Lend a helping hand to the needy by making them self-sustainable so that they can carve a life of dignity for themselves,” says Rashmi!
Her message to the youth is: “Always follow your passion! Remember that when you follow something good, with full desire & righteousness, all hindrances disappear. You can always make a difference in this world, however small it may be!”