NSRCEL- the innovation and entrepreneurship hub of IIM Bangalore launched the rural entrepreneurship incubation program to boost, enhance and strengthen the entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem in rural India. Focusing on actions for balanced inclusive development and to bridge socio-economic gaps, the program is aimed at creating sustainable livelihoods and – employment opportunities in remote rural areas. It further aims to attract, enrich and develop emerging entrepreneurial talent to solve problems of rural India. “The pandemic has exposed the huge socio-economic gaps and vulnerabilities in rural India, and there is a need to have sustainable and inclusive development. With this program, we are shifting our lens from urban-focused founders to those who are willing to bring visible changes in rural India,” said Anand Sri Ganesh, COO, NSRCEL IIM Bangalore.
The program was inaugurated by Chief Guest Mr. Charanjit Singh, Joint Secretary, Rural Livelihoods, Ministry of Rural Development, and Mr. Arnab Mukherji, Professor, Centre for Public Policy, and Founding Program Director – Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship, IIM Bangalore with the NSRCEL team and rural pre-incubation ventures in attendance.
NSRCEL, whose work has impacted over 1,15,600 entrepreneurs, now under this collaboration, will provide support from top-of-the-line mentors from industry, academia, the development sector and government. The shortlisted ventures will get an opportunity to pitch for incubation and access to grants. It will also help participants with crucial aspects of entrepreneurship such as how to stabilize the business including production, marketing and distribution, scale and strengthen the business model, working with local governments. The incubation program will also have a special focus on building and working with rural communities to create long-term trust and livelihoods.
Entrepreneurs in this program are a diverse mix, comprising young graduates of leading universities, corporate sector professionals looking to cross over to the development sector and development sector professionals.
The nine rural enterprises that would be working with NSRCEL to create socio-economic impact by generating rural livelihoods are:
1. Kalapuri/Nirvi Handicrafts: Kalapuri embraces artisan communities by providing new opportunities, developing artisans into independent entrepreneurs, training and developing artisan communities – providing a global market through the Kalapuri platform.
2. IVillage Social Solutions: IVillage trains rural women in manufacturing high-quality products made by hand and machine-based stitching processes, allowing them to be financially independent.
3. Indian Yards: Indian Yards upskills women from the communities in the Nilgiris to become fine macrame artisans and subsequently enables them to become independent producer groups.
4. Kulture Street: Kulture Street works towards building a brand that provides skilled Indian artisans with greater market access (online/offline) and a community of loyal customers who love Indian handmade products across the globe.
5. Ayang Trust: Ayang Trust’s Livelihood program provides training and market access to farmers in North-East India to help increase productivity and income
6. Bastar Se Bazar Tak: This venture works towards improving the livelihoods of tribal farmers through non-timber forest produce. The venture works to create an additional livelihood for Gramin Bastarian smallholders, reduce minor forest production losses, build natural forest products, create flexible and supportive local employment through collective action.
7. Karry Now: Karry Now is a delivery service for rural India, providing essentials and non-essentials. The venture currently takes orders through phone calls but will be releasing a WhatsApp chatbot and an application soon.
8. Mars Innovation – Growhitha: Growhitha is a fully customized and automated natural manure maker which can prepare seven kinds of natural manures and reduces farmer efforts by up to 90%.
9. Sahrudaya Foods: Sahrudaya aims to provide regional rural recipes that are tasty and healthy. They also train the village women to deliver safe and hygienic products to your doorstep.