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Posted at: Mar 17, 2015, 1:21 AM; last updated: Mar 17, 2015, 12:14 AM (IST)

City woman who turned the shawl industry around

City woman who turned the shawl industry around

Mridula Jain, MD, Shingora Textiles Limited, and chairperson of the Shawl Club (India). Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16

Mridula Jain, MD, Shingora Textiles Ltd, and chairperson of the Shawl Club (India), has been awarded the Best Woman Entrepreneur Exporter Award. The award, instituted under the ECGC – Dun and Bradstreet Exporters’ Excellence Award 2015, was presented to her by Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Mridula said: “Getting this prestigious award is a matter of pride for her as the shawl industry is not faring well these days. There were 95 nominees from all over the country from different fields for the award.”

Born into a family of professionals and married into a family of businessmen, she retained her parental genes even in the changed atmosphere after her marriage. Her inner urge of entrepreneurship took shape when she realised the importance given to pashmina and toosh shawls, which have become a rarity and are hardly affordable for ordinary women. She said: “It was the time when I threw a challenge to my friends that I will create something that will make you forget the pashmina and toosh shawls.”

She started producing the Shingora shawls in 1987 by setting up eight handlooms. She started marketing her creations with her husband’s help. Since she had created innovative designs with mirror work, hand painting and phulkari, the response was quick. She gave a totally new look to the conventional Kulu shawl by introducing beautiful weaving patterns.

Her next target was the Wool Woollens Export Promotion Council. She was sent to Europe to study its market for shawls. There was no looking back as the participation in European international fairs opened new opportunities for Shingora as well as for the whole shawl industry.

A member of Steering Committee of Handloom and Handicraft Sector for Five Year Plan in the Planning Commission, Mridula has won different awards, both at the state and national levels. She has won many awards, including the Mahila Udyog Ratna in 1993, Women Entrepreneur of the Year in 1994, State Award of the Best Entrepreneur in 1995, Award for Outstanding Window Display in Ludhiana by the International Wool Secretariat in 1998, Mochpura Supreme Shawl Association’s Award in 2001, Mahila Navrattan Award by the International Friendship Society on India in 1998, Wool Mark Company’s Award in 2003, Award of Honour on International Women’s Day 2008 by the Social Security and Child Development Department, Punjab.

She said: “My name has been nominated for the national award many a time but owing to the reasons best known to the government, I could not get it.” Her only demand is to provide better infrastructure to the industry. She said family’s support played a big role in her achievements.

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