Kase, the artisanal cheese made by disabled women, has people coming back for more
For entrepreneurs Anuradha Krishnamurthy and Namrata Sundaresan, Kase began as a happy accident. The two friends were talking about starting a food-related venture when they hit upon the idea of a business in artisanal cheese.
Sundaresan had just learned cheese-making in Conoor and was looking for ways to introduce Indian audiences to artisanal cheese unique to India, made through ethical farming methods.
Krishnamurthy, who heads CAN DO, a Chennai BPO that trains people with disabilities for the job market, was interested in a venture where disabled people without an education could find jobs and be financially independent.
We were looking at people who had not completed their graduation but wanted to be financially independent. I had come across some girls who were hearing impaired and we thought why not put them into a social enterprise and train them in cheese-making skills - Anuradha Krishnamurthy, Co-founder, Kase Cheese
Kase currently employs two young women who are hearing impaired - Abhirami and Kanakajyoti. Both come from ordinary backgrounds but are highly motivated and keen to learn.
To make sure they learn skills beyond just cheese-making, they have been trained in basic office skills as well.
"So what we have done is that along with creating the brand, we have also trained them in things like inventory, billing, and how to maintain an Excel file. This way they can find a job elsewhere", says co-founder Namrata Sundaresan.
Apart from teaching the team cheese-making skills, the staff also learned sign language, so everyone could communicate.
With the brand acquiring name and popularity, Kase is looking to expand in a big way. They are already selling over 20 varieties of cheese as well as dips. They want to scale up in an ethical way by working with local dairy farmers who follow a clean and sustainable approach.
An approach that combines empowerment with lots of heart can rarely go wrong. No wonder the Kase team was honored with the Nari Shakti Purasakar Award for 2017!