Sewa Trade Facilitation Center - Changing the spool
The case study is about the decision to convert a not-for-profit organization in to a for profit company. STFC, is a part of a larger non-profit organization - Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) that works to improve the livelihood of very poor rural and urban women in India. It does by translating the traditional Indian embroidery skills into contemporary apparel and home furnishings that STFC then helps to market and sell around the world. Organized as a producer's cooperative, STFC is owned by its artisan members. STFC is thinking of changing to for profit status because it would enable faster and more sustainable growth by providing access to external funds, and also allow the payments of dividends which would further improve the women's livelihood. The legal and financial implications of such a move aside, it is not clear that STFC would be able to withstand the changes such a transformation would entail most importantly would an organization accustomed to taking decisions based on solely on social benefits criteria be able to adjust to a for profit mentality ? Would customers accept the change ? Incorporated in 2003 as a non-profit company STFC had grown to include 15,000 poverty level artisan members from over 200 villages in Gujarat, India of whom 3500 were shareholders and owners of the company. Their goal was to improve the livelihood of very poor urban and rural Indian women and educate others about the women's lives and struggles. They worked toward this goal by translating traditional Indian textiles crafts and embroidery skills in to contemporary designs and products to be marketed and sold around the world. They had taken several steps to increase sales and improve the lives of its artisan members. In January 2007 it consolidated production, management and marketing activities in to a single facility in Ahemdabad. This lead to enhanced efficiency, increased productivity and better...
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