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Neelam Chhiber

Alumnus, Social Impact International, the Global Social Benefit Incubator at Santa Clara University, and the Harvard Executive Programme. Industrial Designer, National Institute of Design, India. Co-Founder of Industree Foundation, Industree Skills and Mother Earth. Believes that using a blended capital model to economically and socially empower producers in the farm and creative manufacturing sectors is the way towards inclusive growth. Womanity Foundation Women Changemakers Fellow and recipient of the Schwab Foundation 2011 India Social Entrepreneur of the Year award.

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Industree/Mother Earth
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Hybrid Social Enterprise
Entrepreneurship; Future of Work
Areas of Impact
South Asia, Africa, Ethiopia, India

Industree/Mother Earth

Industree works as an incubator and accelerator by facilitating the aggregation of producers into self-owned enterprises, implementing capacity building, assisting in developing products that appeal to modern markets, and enabling their access to vital working capital. Industree's model employs a professional management team to streamline enterprise operations, empowering microenterprise leaders from the community to take charge. It also has a range of digital tools, including a digital societal platform with a dedicated e-commerce portal, to bring traceability and transparency to otherwise opaque and unaccountable supply chains.

Industree's interventions address the neglected rights of producers at the sub-contractor level by using a hub-and-spoke model where each producer, even in the smallest enterprise, is a willing and documented participant in a compliant value chain. The professional management team handholds enterprises through key activities, including the creation and incubation of producer companies, as well as training and building the long-term capability of the producers that own them. This team provides high-level administrative support and mentors the producer enterprises, leveraging digital tools to create a traceable, transparent value chain. The professional management layer operates as the handholding implementers, ensuring development and production of new designs, competitive costing through productivity improvements and access to well negotiated bulk raw materials, quality and timely supply, ensuring customer satisfaction and repeat orders, and access to a wide variety of markets and working capital.

Supply chain transparency is vital to solving issues of substandard working conditions. In order to develop this, Industree has launched two key initiatives to create technology that facilitates conscious and responsible production and consumption. Industree, with pro-bono support from Mindtree, is developing a digital societal platform accessible to all producer enterprises that will build traceable systems to track on-boarded producers' age, work hours, minimum wages and payments, and facilitate access to resources like raw material, capital and design, thereby ensuring implementation of fair practices across the value chain. As part of the platform, Industree, together with Sonata Software, is creating a producer-owned e-commerce portal exclusively for traceable handmade products that connects producers directly to customers and retail markets.


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