Changing Lives through Student Enterprise
Pavani Konda is a Media Production student at Coventry University and current President of Enactus, the student enterprise society. She tells us about her journey to founding a social enterprise tackling gender inequalities overseas, by way of a train journey across India…
“I joined Enactus Coventry to understand how to use innovative thinking to solve global issues. I was particularly interested in female empowerment and solving the huge opportunity gaps which leave women behind. I very quickly realised that it starts with social enterprise.
Luckily, there is a great social enterprise community at Coventry University and I work closely with The Enterprise Hub (the university’s business incubator) and national organisation Enactus UK.
Through their events and training programmes I’ve met like-minded individuals at university and beyond, they have mentored me throughout the process and of course, helped with funding my ideas too!
I founded Bloom Bodha with Enactus Coventry to create opportunities for women from low socio-economic backgrounds by giving them employment making hand crafted goods to sell locally and internationally. This way they develop a life-long skill, get paid a fair wage and gain independence to take control of their own futures.
I was lucky to get funding from Santander Universities, who partner with Coventry University, to go on a two week Social Enterprise incubation programme. This took place on a train ride around India to develop my enterprise skills further and gain more knowledge of local communities over there. It was such an amazing experience and crucial in helping us to grow BloomBodha.
The skills and funding allowed us to test the concept. We worked with over 60 women and a local NGO in a small Indian village – Telangana - to hold a ‘culture camp’ where we provided materials and held a making session. We also sold some of the products made back in Coventry, showing the concept worked.
Our next step will be to work with 10 more young women in India to create and sell hand bound journals and grow the social enterprise even further. I’m also learning about creating a social media presence for BloomBodha, so we can tell our story online and reach more audiences.”