Indian Women in Enterprise, Philippines (I-WE), a non-profit organization centered on women empowerment and economic recovery, supported this year’s biggest Holi celebration in Manila on March 11, 2023, organized by the Indian Cultural Association of the Philippines (ICAP), bringing in women-led MSMEs to join the celebration’s bazaar.
Known as the Festival of Colors, Holi is among Hindu’s most important festivals and celebrations of culture and collaboration. Since 2020, ICAP has been organizing and hosting Holi festivities in the Philippines, bringing together people to celebrate ‘unity in diversity’ through various activities: throwing vibrant colored powder, singing and dancing to Indian music and cultural performances, and enjoying Indian food and drinks from bazaars.
Majority of those who joined the bazaar this year are I-WE supported food MSMEs, as well as clothing and packaged food entrepreneurs. I-WE has supported these women-led MSMEs by providing business mentorship, particularly on digital marketing. “We are proud of these MSMEs who are now taking the centerstage in large events. From being cloud kitchen start-ups, many are on their way to becoming full-fledged MSMEs, making a name for their products and brand. We are thrilled to have helped them liberate their potential, and eventually reach their dreams,” said Sonia Mansukhani, Director Events, I-WE.
Shreeji Foods, an I-WE supported MSME, was among the largest benefactors in the Holi bazaar. Her street food delicacies and snacks had become popular among the Holi festival attendees. “After 3 years of pandemic, this is the first time that Holi was celebrated in the Philippines. We are happy that many attended and tried our products. This is such a wonderful opportunity, and we are thankful to I-WE for supporting us in our business endeavors and bringing us to special occasions such as this,” said Anita Joshi.
I-WE is known for supporting, nurturing, and mentoring women to reach their potential. In March 2022, in collaboration with Esquire Financing, Wadhwani Foundation, Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Co., Philippine Center for Creative Imaging, In Touch Community Services, StartUp Village and Workbank among others, I-WE launched Tech2Transform (T2T), one of its flagship programs designed to equip women-led MSMEs in the Philippines to develop and grow a sustainable business. Kavita Kowlgi, one of the finalists of T2T Batch 1, is one of the successful graduates of the program, representing I-WE and the Philippines at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. She was a cloud kitchen entrepreneur, but upon undergoing I-WE’s mentorship program, she is now a registered MSME capable of full event management and catering, with several products to her brand.