06 Nov 2019 16:58 IST

IIM Kozhikode to turn around Kudumbasree’s Mahila Mall

Pro bono project will study the mall’s marketing model and suggest a restructuring strategy

The Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (IIM-K) is all set to overhaul the marketing model of the ambitious Mahila Mall in Kozhikode. The mall, a Kudumbasree venture, is claimed to be the first of its kind in the country and is being planned with the support of the District Kudumbasree Mission.

The Mall is the biggest venture of any Kudumbasree self-help group and is stated to provide jobs to 250 women directly and 500 women indirectly. The 36,000 square feet mall of five stories boasts branded outlets, supermarket, restaurant, boutiques, footwear shops, beauty parlours, banks, outlets for imported gadgets, handicrafts, babycare items, electronics and home appliances. It also houses conference rooms, training centres and underground parking facility.

However, the women entrepreneurs, who usually enjoy a spurt in purchases during the festival season and exhibitions, are seeing dwindling customer numbers in the off-season, resulting in an unsteady source of income for participating entrepreneurs and outlet owners. This has resulted in a financial crunch and difficulty in paying rent, electricity bills and the salaries of people employed in these outlets.

IIM Kozhikode has, under its Social Outreach Programme, reached out to the Unity Group in a coordination meeting held on Monday, to overcome this lacunae and to carry out a pro bono study of the Mahila Mall’s marketing model in order to revamp and restructure the strategy.

The project will be spearheaded by Debashis Chatterjee, Director, IIM Kozhikode and Prof. Deepa Sethi, Chairperson, International Relations, and Faculty in the area of Humanities & Liberal Arts in Management at IIM-K, and will comprise a team of six students who will take this on as a live project. The team will furnish a detailed report with corrective measures to overcome the lean trading patch experienced by Kudumbasree outlets.

In his message on this initiative, Chatterjee said, “Connections between society and educational institutions provide the best framework for inclusive growth and we at IIM Kozhikode strongly believe in this and make constant efforts to strengthen the social capital through our knowledge, expertise and skills. We will provide Mahila Mall with the roadmap to a sustainable business model.”

Enthused at the prospect of teaming up with IIM-K, Vijaya K, Secretary, Unity Group, Kudumbasree, said “Financial security is crucial to a self-help model like Kudumbasree. It not only encourages women to participate but is also vital in bringing social stability to households run by these enterprising women entrepreneurs. We hope that IIM-K, with its expertise and know-how, will help us in making Mahila Mall a financially sustainable role model in the true spirit of what the Kudumbasree project is known for the world over.”

Elaborating on the prospects of this association, Prof Deepa Sethi said: “Our team at IIM Kozhikode is excited to work on this live project which is an opportunity to do something meaningful for society. Our team will make efforts to take Mahila Mall to newer heights and provide it a global exposure. There is a lot of enthusiasm in the team with regard to this project.”