Bhubaneswar: One of the key tenets of Odisha’s transformation story has been the empowerment of women. Recognising the role that women play in the development and transformation of societies and local communities, the Government of Odisha has accorded importance to women-centric policies and programmes. After strengthening more than 70 lakh women under nearly 6 lakh Self-Help Groups (SHGs) through training and skilling, promoting livelihoods, and creating opportunities through the unique government convergence model, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has taken the vision a step ahead, announcing the transformation of SHGs into SMEs. In an effort to showcase the achievements of Mission Shakti and provide global exposure to its leaders, the Government of Odisha, through the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation, has facilitated exposure visits to SHG leaders to international destinations. On November 15, 36 DLF and BLF leaders representing Angul, Bolangir, Balasore, Bargarh, Boudh, Cuttack, Deogarh, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Jharsuguda, Kandhamal, Kendrapara, Keonjhar, Koraput, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nayagarh, Puri, Sundargarh were felicitated at the Mission Shakti Bhawan in Bhubaneswar. The delegation was warmly received by Sujata R Karthikeyan, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Department of Mission Shakti. Earlier on Saturday, the delegation had the unique opportunity of meeting the Chief Minister at Naveen Niwas and Basanti Hembram, Minister, WCD, and Mission Shakti. Mission Shakti BLF leaders embarked on a three-day exposure visit to Dubai from November 15 to 17. This follows the extremely successful visit of district federation leaders to Dubai and Singapore on the first flights from Odisha. The exposure visit to Dubai promises not only cultural exchange but also valuable learning experiences. The delegates had the chance to witness international best practices, engage in dialogues with global leaders, and explore innovative business models. The exposure to diverse markets and entrepreneurial ecosystems in Dubai will undoubtedly broaden their perspectives, fostering a deeper understanding of global trends and strategies. Speaking about the visit, Meena Kumari Swain, President of Nayagarh BLF, said, “We are grateful to our Chief Minister for giving us this opportunity to visit Dubai. It was an enriching experience for us to visit Dubai, and we appreciate the invaluable experiences gained during our time there.” For the delegation, this visit presented an enriching experience. This unique opportunity aligns with the government’s commitment to continuous learning and capacity building, ensuring that the Mission Shakti leaders return with newfound knowledge and insights to further drive the empowerment of women entrepreneurs in Odisha and transform SHGs into SMEs.