Rangsutra STADIGT

Empowering and supporting women entrepreneurs

On International Women's Day, we recognise the achievements of women and promote gender equality to make our world more inclusive. 

For IKEA Social Entrepreneurship, this day presents an opportunity to shine a spotlight on several women-led enterprises we collaborate with, as well as the female entrepreneurs we support.

 Social entrepreneurs serve as catalysts for economic advancement and employment opportunities. Their enterprises have the power and ability to challenge gender norms and reshape societal perceptions. Additionally, women in leadership roles can break barriers and serve as inspiration for others. Several of the social business we partner with focus on providing work for women in rural areas, enabling families to stay together, cultivate their land and support their children through school.  

Lifting women’s participation and development pathways in business is a keyway to advance gender equality. Policy makers, governments and corporates can contribute by ensuring research and data collection includes women, enabling equal access to funding and other opportunities, providing targeted education, training and upskilling, and defining social procurement KPIs with strong equality. 

50% of social enterprises in IKEA Social Entrepreneurship portfolio, are founded, co-founded or led by women. A statistic that positively reflects the OECD report Beyond pink-collar jobs presenting the finding that “women represent up to 51% of social entrepreneurs in different regions of the world."  
IWD Du Anyam

Du Anyam co-founders Azalea Ayuningtyas, Hanna Keraf, and Melia Winata showcasing rural women’s hand-woven products.

Download Image

Since 2012, IKEA Social Entrepreneurship has joined forces with social enterprises to develop products and services available in IKEA stores worldwide. Below, we highlight a few from Asia. 

We’ve partnered with Rangsutra, a social business in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, for over ten years. Rangsutra, founded and led by women, is dedicated to generating employment for skilled artisans in the country, the majority of whom are women and also shareholders in the company. 

Karupannya, Bangladesh, who started as a supplier to IKEA, has recently been recognised as a social business partner. A producer of carpets and natural fibre products, for 15 years the business has been committed to employing people from vulnerable groups, creating positive social impact for women from rural areas, disadvantaged youth and LGBTQIA+ minorities. Today, over 6,000 people employed at Karupannya are working in IKEA production. 

Another example on social business’ focusing on women is Du Anyam, who producing woven wicker handicrafts, started with a small number of women weavers on Flores Island, Indonesia. The three young, female co-founders then extended operations to other remote islands where seasonal income from smallscale farming was insufficient to sustain livelihoods.  

 Du Anyam’s first local products were sold at IKEA Indonesia in August 2022, and later this year their first global product will be available in all IKEA markets. The handmade products use plant fibres – predominantly palmyra, which is sourced locally – and create incomes for women in remote communities, improving nutritional outcomes for families and educational opportunities for children. 

Spun, founded by the renowned Welspun Textile Group in India, also provides jobs for women with no other family income, in addition to supporting them and their families with education and healthcare.  

Another business in India, Ramesh Flowers trains women from rural villages in the production of handmade products and is committed to bringing women from the factory floor into management positions. The founder of Classical Handmade Products Bangladesh, Tauhid Bin Abdus Salam, decentralised business and rather than establishing factories in major cities, brings work to rural communities.  

Supporting enterprises outside of the IKEA value chain 

In addition to partnering with social businesses for product development, we extend our support to social entrepreneurs through accelerator programmes, grants and loans. This assistance offers avenues for them to explore new impact models, new markets and shares expertise to enhance their reach and influence. 

Women-led enterprises often face distinct challenges, such as limited funding access and networking prospects. Coupled with financial barriers, workplace gender biases, and societal constraints, the entrepreneurial journey can be daunting for women. Nevertheless, women continue to create innovative business solutions to tackle social and environmental issues.  

Over the month of March, we’re highlighting several female entrepreneurs we support through our various programmes and how they're using their businesses to create a more inclusive world. 

Read their stories