Chanderiyaan: Weaving Digital Empowerment into the Indian Handloom Industry

by: Bishakha Majumdar, Sriparna Basu, Shilpi Jain

Publication Date: May 16, 2018
Length: 20 pages
Product ID#: 1-234-089

Core Disciplines: Base of the Pyramid, Information - Technology & Management, Social Impact, Sustainability

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Third place winner of the WDI 25th Anniversary Case Writing Competition in 2018.

Chanderiyaan, an initiative of the Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), aimed to bring digital connectivity and empowerment to the handloom industry in Chanderi in north-central India. Chanderiyaan’s focus had grown beyond just the digitization of the indigenous handloom business, and was now a full-fledged organization involved in the design, manufacture, marketing, and sales of handloom saris and other dress materials. As DEF prepares to celebrate its 15th anniversary, founder Osama Manzar wonders whether it is time to make Chanderiyaan an independent, self-sustaining social enterprise.

The case elaborates on the handloom industry in India, as well as Chanderiyaan’s development as a social enterprise, including its interventions and services. It illustrates the dynamics of a social enterprise as it grapples with the issues of scaling wide versus deep, while pursuing a sustainable social model.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Identify the characteristics of a sustainable social and business venture.
  • Recognize the drivers of social value within a business enterprise.
  • Identify the drivers and consequences of digital access, adoption, and empowerment in a community within an emergent economy.
  • Recognize the drivers and challenges of an enterprise branching off from a parent organization.
  • Analyze the problems, opportunities, and overall dynamics of the handloom industry.