Revathi Roy set up India’s first all-female delivery company HeyDeedee in 2016 to offer new training and professional opportunities to low-income women in Mumbai. Three years later, her business operates in 10 Indian cities, employs 10 000 women agents, and has partnerships with giants like Amazon. “A career in logistics is not an intuitive leap for Indian women since this field has been largely dominated by men. Parents see jobs in the call centre industry as a safer option for their daughters,” explains Revathi.
Logistics is the backbone of both international and domestic trade in any economy. HeyDeedee’s main clients are e-commerce companies. “Online shopping in India is more popular than offline shopping. New businesses in this sector are springing up like mushrooms,” adds Revathi. The Indian e-commerce sector is growing at an annual rate of 51%, one of the fastest in the world. Not surprisingly, e-commerce companies are creating more work for companies like mine. “We are trying to offer the best possible customer experience by employing skilled, friendly and trustworthy female drivers. I am proud to say that our clients have been very satisfied with HeyDeedee’s services.”
“Our drivers come from unprivileged backgrounds. There is so much untapped talent waiting to be unleashed. Before joining HeyDeedee, prospective candidates have to complete training that allows them to obtain a driving license and get familiar with the history of their city, client management, and even martial arts to protect themselves and gain self-confidence. Upon completion of this training programme, women are offered the opportunity to join our delivery service. We also facilitate the loan process for them so that they can buy their own vehicle. Most importantly, when they join us, our drivers are dependent on their husbands or fathers. A few months later, they become financially independent and holders of an asset,” says Revathi.
When trade is easier, more trade happens, creating new professional and training opportunities for women. “If trade is easier and more cost-effective, I will be able to grow my business further. The cost savings will increase the spending power of Indian consumers. This will allow me to create more job opportunities for women.” In the next three years, Revathi would like to expand her operations and provide training and employment to another 20 000 – 30 000 women.
For Revathi, the future of trade is female. “Women do not need empowerment, we are already powerful. They just need the right opportunities”, confidently concludes Revathi. “This growing demand for instant parcel delivery services together with supportive trade policies will help me grow my business and create a positive impact in the lives of many more Indian women by encouraging them to pursue a career in logistics”.
The Alliance is currently scoping a trade facilitation project in India.