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BW Businessworld

Five Qs To Britannia Marketing Boss On Women Entrepreneurs

Vinay Subramanyam, the head of marketing at Britannia Industries speaks on the company’s initiatives to engage homemakers by recognising business starting skills

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Among the several initiatives that Britannia undertakes to engage its consumers, perhaps one of the more out-of-the-box endeavours is seen in ‘Britannia Marie Gold My Start Up’. Despite the surge in start-ups in India, there is a lag in number of women entrepreneurs in comparison to their male counterparts. The corporate major attributes this to lack of finances or optimal skill to start a business.

In order to address these issues, Britannia devised the ‘Britannia Marie Gold My Start Up’ initiative that enables homemakers to embark on their entrepreneurial journeys. In the recently concluded second season, despite the nationwide lockdown, Britannia saw encouraging response, selecting best 10 winning ideas at the end of the process.

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Vinay Subramanyam, Head of Marketing at Britannia Industries details  more on this initiative, and why the property itself is important in its overall marketing play. Excerpts:

What was the starting point of launching ‘Britannia Marie Gold My Start Up’?

In 2018, we kicked of a nationwide entrepreneurship survey to get a sentiment of how homemakers were feeling at that point of time. The survey revealed that about 50 per cent of Indian homemakers wanted to be an entrepreneur. We also got to know that at least 70 per cent of them were unable to start because of lack of finances. That had led us to put together the debut season, where we rewarded 10 best ideas with seed capital of Rs 10 lakhs each, to enable these women to start with their entrepreneurial journey.  

What were some of the learnings from that season that were incorporated this year?
A large barrier that we encountered in season one was the lack of confidence. One of the key gaps we realised in our conversations with women was they required skilling. Basic skills in like creating a business plan, how to negotiate, how to communicate your ideas were needed by these homemakers.

We developed a complete module in partnership with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) which was the highlight of season two. This 40-hour module was given to 10,000 women across the country. It gave them an online class experience of how to be an entrepreneur.  Britannia Marie Gold is a 60-year old champion brand for homemakers. We leveraged season one to the next level this year and tried to impart skills to a much larger number of women.

Were you expecting this kind of response given the lockdown?

It was an overwhelming response despite the lockdown. We received around 1.5 million ideas or entries from across the country. This number is absolutely wonderful because each entry has got an idea and a proper plan as to how they are going to build a particular business. That was the power and enthusiasm in the responses that we got for this initiative.

How does an initiative like this help a brand like Britannia?
The initiative is for Britannia Marie Gold which is Britannia’s second largest biscuit brand and India’s third largest. It has been there ever since the brand was launched. For every brand, it is important to understand the reason of its existence. While we are the physical fuel that every homemaker has in terms of the product that we offer, we also wanted to make sure that we strengthen our connection with the homemaker by mentally supporting and stimulating her to do more and realise her full potential. This was the objective of the brand. It has done tremendous good for the brand and the relations that it shares with its key constituencies.

How has the digital transformation experience for this season?

The course that we had put together with the help of NSDC was an online course. It was digitally administered and received well. The event was supposed to happen as a proper physical event but had to be converted into a virtual one. We made sure that everybody was connected well. We also provided internet connectivity and a number of dry runs to ensure a seamless program. This was done to make sure that the event does equally well virtually too, and we have been very pleased with the overall outcome from this initiative this year.