An Engaging Focus at OSAFII with President Dibyajoti Patnaik

A spotlight on OSAFII's efforts towards entrepreneurship development of women in Odisha's rural areas.

By Debamitra Mishra 

Amidst the vibrant ambiance of OSAFII’s 5th Conclave, there is an air of celebration and purpose that speaks about the exemplary prowess of Odisha’s women from rural heartlands of the state.

The significance of this annual gathering is not lost as Mr. Dibyajyoti Patnaik, President, OSAFII reflects on the journey that led them here. “It’s a great feeling that we are hosting the 5th conclave this year,” he remarks, encapsulating the sentiment of pride and accomplishment that permeates the event.

The evolution of the conclave’s themes over the years mirrors the progression of ideas and aspirations within the organization. “The first conclave was about establishing financial inclusion. It was about how people could get associated with formal financial institutions and manage their own financial capabilities,”says Mr. Patnaik.

From these foundational discussions emerged a broader vision, one that encompasses not just financial inclusion, but also economic empowerment and entrepreneurial spirit.

This year, the conclave’s theme resonates deeply with OSAFII’s core values and mission towards entrepreneurship. “Our focus is on promoting entrepreneurship among rural women,” explains Mr. Patnaik. Recognizing the innate potential and resilience of women from rural domains, OSAFII seeks to empower them with the tools and opportunities to thrive as entrepreneurs. “When it comes to basic business, they do it right, but scaling up requires additional skills and access to markets,” he acknowledges.

Central to OSAFII’s approach is the concept of capacity building. Through programs like “We Lead,” the organization is actively engaged in working with thousands of women entrepreneurs across districts in Odisha. “These programs offer comprehensive support, ranging from financial management to market linkages, aimed at nurturing sustainable businesses,” he emphasizes, “With the backing of institutions like SIDBI and NABARD, OSAFII ensures that women entrepreneurs have access to the resources they need to succeed.”

The potential for growth and prosperity in Odisha is vast, particularly in sectors like handicrafts and handlooms. “The younger generation, in particular, is eager to embrace these opportunities and contribute to the state’s economic development. Our women have always led the way in education, economy, and the arts,” he adds, “and with the right support, they can continue to do so.”

Looking ahead, the challenges facing women entrepreneurs are evolving. “Financial inclusion has made significant strides in the past two decades,” observes Mr. Patnaik, “but now the focus is on scaling up businesses and leveraging connectivity and resources.” OSAFII remains committed to supporting women entrepreneurs on this journey, empowering them to make informed decisions and seize opportunities for growth.

In conclusion, the imperative to harness the potential of India’s youth cannot be overstated. “We have to contribute to India’s growth by properly utilizing our demographic dividend,” asserts Mr. Patnaik, “the time to act is now.” With determination and dedication, OSAFII and its partners are poised to make a meaningful difference in the lives of rural women entrepreneurs, driving inclusive growth and prosperity across the region.


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