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Jaipur Rugs –Empowering Communities at the Bottom of the Pyramid through Social Innovation


This case discusses how social innovator Nand Kishore Chaudhary (NKC) revolutionized the concept of the traditional carpet industry in India and empowered 40,000+ rural artisans by providing them with a sustainable livelihood.  In 1978, NKC started a small social enterprise under the name Jaipur Carpets (later on renamed Jaipur Rugs). The startup worked with poor artisans and trained and educated them. It offered Doorstep Entrepreneurship under which the artisans received all the raw materials required and wove carpets from their homes. Jaipur Rugs also offered services like healthcare, programs of financial inclusion, and leadership training. Apart from this, its biggest achievement was eliminating the middlemen and providing a sustainable livelihood to communities at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP).

However, NKC’s journey was not without its challenges. Among some sections of society in India, it is considered taboo to interact with people belonging to the lower castes and NKC faced hatred and resistance from his family and society for working with so-called untouchable castes. Further, retaining artisans in the job of carpet weaving and attracting others were becoming tough tasks when these weavers starting migrating to other places in search of better job offers. Another challenge was to scale up the operations of Jaipur Rugs globally. Analysts wondered how NKC could make Jaipur Rugs sustainable in the long run.  What could he do to preserve the dying art of weaving?

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