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The Hyderabad-based, home grown national body of women entrepreneurs, the Confederation of Women Entrepreneurs of India (COWE) aims to turn 150 rural women into food entrepreneurs through their novel initiative called “PAU”SHE”TIK Cooking competition”, titled “Mera Swad Mera Swaasth” with a difference. It was organized across cities in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. To achieve this objective it has chosen a novel model. It has organized a cookery contest for rural women in four cities each in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It was a unique cookery contest with a purpose to spot rural women with entrepreneurial aspirations.

The route chosen was a cookery contest. Through these contests, they spotted rural talent, women with entrepreneurial aspirations and due course COWE will turn rural women into food entrepreneurs. It was an initiative of Hyderabad-based COWE and Hands in Hospitality Chef’s Association. It has just concluded eight cities’ contests in both Telugu states. Now it is all geared for the final to be held in Hyderabad on October 16 and 17. The last leg of the contest is just concluded at Jadcharla in Mahboobnagar District shared by Jyotsna, President of COWE Telangana. The title of the competition was “Mera Swad Mera Swaasth”.

The theme was Paushtik Food(Healthy vegetarian food). The Best participants of each centre will participate in the final where they need to cook live in a live kitchen. Before the final, a workshop will be run for them. The eight winners from each city and special consolation prize winners in some cases will get to participate in the final.

About 500 rural women participated in these contests. 35% of these women will be converted into women entrepreneurs, COWE informed. Surya Jyothi, Food Technologist said the women who showcased their culinary skills have great talent and everybody had the potential to get transformed into a food entrepreneur. Women are ideal for the food technology businesses. Though traditionally they under-represent in STEM-related fields, there are many in Food technology and science. We hope to convert many rural women into food entrepreneurs, she said.

At one of the contests in Warangal COWE’s services were sought to train street vendors in marketing and branding Gundu Sudha Rani, Mayor of Warangal Municipal Corporation while gracing one of th4e purpose driven cookery contest organized by COWE and Hands in Hospitality Chef’s Association in Warangal, asked COWE if they could train street vendors of Warangal in Marketing and Branding. Warangal city has 80,000 street vendors of which 27000 availed loans and 40,000 registered for loans. They need to be trained in marketing, self-confidence and branding. And she urged COWE to help the Municipal Corporation. Warangal Mayor further asked COWE if they have any alternative to plastic bags. Warangal city banned plastic bags of less than 120 microns in that city. As an alternative they paper and jute bags. The corporation trained a few street vendors to manufacture paper and jute bags. But they are unable to brand well and market their products. Mayor also sought COWE’s help in that regard.

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