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Manipur entrepreneur makes a mark at city expo

In the recently held Himalayan Expo in the city, one shop from Manipur stood out for its unique products – knitted shoes. MoirangthemMuktamani Devi, blushed with a humble smile when she was told about the hand-made shoes. Hailing from Manipur’s KakchingMoirangthemLeikai, Muktamani Devi is the proud owner of Mukta Shoes that she started in 1990-91. Muktamani was always interested in knitting and would make sweaters and other woollens for her children. But becoming an entrepreneur was never in her scheme of things until she realised that her talent would not only give her economic indepen-dence but also help in maintaining the family budget at ease. “The first shoe that I knitted was for my daughter in 1989. We could not afford to buy a new pair for her school so I knitted one on the old sole of her torn shoe,” said Mukta-mani, who has trained over 2,000 women so far. The shoes were greatly appreci-ated by her teacher who also wanted a similar pair for her daughter. It was the beginning of a journey for Muktamani whose shoe business gradually flourished. Investment, however, was and is still a hurdle. But Muktamani has not given up. She sells her products in her hometown Kakching and other places. Her products are also avail-able on giskaa.com. The unique knit-ted shoes have travelled across the country in fairs and are supplied to countries like Canada and Australia.Muktamani — who she is a National awardee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise and state awardee on handicrafts — said de-pite all the hardships, her husband Kshetrimayum Naran Singh and children were always supportive. When asked whether she wants to expand her business to other parts of the northeastern region, the entrepreneur answered in affirmative but flagged the issue of finance and manpower. “I would love to train more women and take the product to all states but that needs financial assistance,” she said. ~ By Our Reporter

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