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Aston MBA Wants to Take Local Indian Handicrafts Global

With experieince in CSR and sustainable marketing, Swati Randev-Verma is launching a not-for-profit e-commerce venture selling local Indian handicrafts

Swati Randev-Verma is a microbiologist who is using the Aston Business School MBA to to help her launch an e-commerce social venture called “Ahem Asmi”.

Ahem Asmi is Sanskrit for “I Am” and Swati, 28, is working towards launching the venture within the next two years. The company will be a not-for-profit social enterprise focused on giving small-scale handicraft producers from India a global platform.

Swati wants Ahem Asmi to provide an income for people working in some of India's cottage industries and allowing people in other parts of the world to benefit from acquiring the beautiful products made by the locals.

She describes the Aston MBA as a confidence booster: the hope is that, “I am everything I want to be!” she says cheerfully. The Indian national already has two degrees in Microbiology from Bangalore University but on graduating decided to “divorce life sciences” to explore a life in commerce.

After working for a Market Research firm and then PricewaterhouseCoopers(PwC) in Dubai, Swati began to seek out new ways to grow her career in the world of business. Her time with PwC included a stint with the Corporate Social Responsibility department, developing strategies and conceptualizing initiatives for the Middle East region.

The experieince made her keen to explore Corporate Social Responsibility further. She later joined JadoPado, an online shopping platform for the UAE as community manager in 2010, where she worked with the CEO to develop several sustainable marketing policies.

She is thoroughly enjoying the Aston MBA, despite having had some concerns at the beginning. “I was scared and skeptical as I wasn’t sure I could cope, being a life-sciences major. It seems really scary from the outside but when you’re in it, it just flows”, she said.

She’s excited about the e-commerce module coming up at the start of the summer term and is continuing negotiations with NGOs, factories and smaller handicraft makers in India for the launch of Ahem Asmi.

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