Gopal Meher

Gopal, belonging to the artisan and weaver community, comes from a low middle-class family of five members. He witnessed his parents weaving cloth on a handmade handloom and selling it to middlemen. Despite their hard work, there was no savings as the entire earnings were spent, making it a catch-22 situation for the family. Continuing in the profession means getting trapped in debt, but leaving it altogether is not an option.

He has been weaving cloth through handmade handloom since childhood. Gopal enrolled in the Textile-Wet-Processing trade in Govt. ITI Boudh for two years. He gained knowledge about textile machines, designing for cloth and market requirements during his visit to the local market. With his skills and training, he started supplying handmade sarees to the market.

His teacher introduced him to Nano Unicorn, and he decided to undergo the training program. With Nano Unicorn support, Gopal received one lakh rupees, enabling him to modify his handloom machine by attaching a motor, turning it into a semi-power loom. His business today deals with cotton sarees production from Birmaharajpur of Sonepur district.

However, like many other businesses, Gopal too was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the lockdown, he was unable to produce or sell any sarees, leading to financial difficulties. But after the lockdown lifted, his business began to thrive again, and he was able to start repayments of loan amounts.

Currently, Gopal’s business has a turnover of Rs. 80,000- Rs 1,00,000/- per month, with a profit of around Rs. 20000/-. Gopal has five handlooms and employs five support staff in his business, paying Rs. 4000/- to the workers for production per saree. The cost of each cotton saree is around Rs. 10000 to 15000, with a sale price of Rs. 15000 to Rs. 20000. Gopal with his enterprising nature has been running his business smoothly and has been able to repay back the full one lakh rupees back to the project.