Monthly Archives :

March 2019

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March Newsletter


The sharp drop in the female labour force participation is a matter of concern and has gained a lot of attention. Attempting to tackle it is like peeling the layers of an onion, where the more you unravel, the more emerges.

Why is unpaid work (eg: home care) not considered in the definition of work? Do women themselves support the idea of paid work outside (in a November 2018 ILO study, 26% did not)? Is education serving to bring an increase in job prospects or marriage prospects? Educated women are rejecting farm jobs, but how can they occupy themselves when faced with a dearth of non-farm jobs?  To what extent does a woman even want to earn were she given the opportunity – what holds her back? Does she worry that her economic success may result in her husband relinquishing his own source of income entirely? How can a woman ensure financial control of her enterprise if she is dependent on a man to sell her goods at the market? How can she access markets herself if she has limited mobility due to care duties or other restrictions? These nuances can help us in understanding the tensions at play related to work in a woman’s life.

Socio-cultural pressures and the “child care penalty” have resulted in a significant proportion of young women being restricted to their homes, yet they are well positioned to spend a part of their day on a home-based nano-enterprise. These enterprises can flourish when women have recourse to the right interventions on family sensitization, skills, self-confidence, ability to converse with customers, financial access to well-structured products, sustained markets, the support of a peer and mentor network, etc. Digital literacy plays a key role in unlocking opportunities, access and information through social media, internet and digital payments.

While some SHGs have started micro-enterprises that hire employees, they are essentially communities at their core, and not all can make the transition easily. The opportunity for turning the tide on female labour force participation may well lie in moving focus from the collective to the individual entrepreneur, and specially in women with part-time work availability, who can grow their businesses as and when their home care duties ease over time.

This month, we are delighted to have a guest contribution from Lisa Heydlauff, Founder and CEO, Going To School, whose resources set a benchmark in designing in gender equality. Here’s a quote from their Children’s Skill Report:

“The girls came later. I was the first girl building with boys. They saw me, then they came. Girls can be so funny sometimes about building things. Then there was the boys and girls thing, that people would pass comments that boys would say something, but it’s all just silly. Build I said, use your super power, make something that was not there before, when we build and make together we’re not girls or boys, we’re just young people making something that was not there before. And that’s cool.”


Vidya Chandy
Director, Research and Evaluation, GAME


Ravi Venkatesan and Mohan Padaki at the annual GAP event at Sabarmati Ashram

Ravi Venkatesan with Bill Gates and the book that inspired the launch of GAME

1Bridge Celebrates successful Entrepreneurs (1Bridge Advisors)


Can you teach someone to become an entrepreneur?

~ Lisa Heydlauff
Founder and CEO, Going To School

The world is equally split.
Many believe you can’t teach anyone to be an entrepreneur ever. While others, hands on our hearts knowing that we don’t have the answers for what comes next, desperately hope we can. We hope we can because the world is a mess.

Climate change, unemployment, water ~ too much, too little; garbage, plastic, violence. Millions of young people are growing up in the middle of it, they’re in school, they are dropping out, they are going from school to work.

Entrepreneurs across time, in the beginning and now, solve problems. They try new things that don’t make sense to other people.

Why? They’re doing it for the big heroic reason of making things right not just for themselves but for a lot of people. Money is secondary, a by-product. Even if you are from a low-income group, choosing to be an entrepreneur is about righting wrongs, doing new things, proving you can. It’s also about what’s smart, efficiency, where there is a need, ‘a problem to be solved’. It’s much more compelling to sell a garbage recycling company than a truck service. Do you get where we’re going with this?

A garbage recycling company is a good story.

Like all good stories, the hero sets out, upset by something that’s not right (empathy for everyone that lives in a town of smelly garbage). She faces opposition (the way things have always been = smelly). She digs deep (mental health = does the world always have to be smelly?). She sees a streak of light (inspiration, epiphany, magical moment). She starts. Some people come to help, others still try to hold her back explaining ‘young women don’t do that’. Still, against all odds and without an example of someone doing that before (role model), except in that movie (story, emotion, entertainment), she finds a way. She puts together whatever she’s got to make a go of it (prototype). She shows it to people. Some like it (those who need that thing too = live in the smelly town). Others want a formal plan (investors = cities). Read More



Arjun is an extremely dedicated and hardworking entrepreneur from Shivamogga District. Being the son of farmer and a night watchman did not deter his ambition of becoming an entrepreneur. Arjun runs his own general provision store while also attending evening college.  He has been an entrepreneur with 1 Bridge for 2.5 years and describes his stint as a “super journey”.  Being a BA with 1 Bridge has opened up a window of opportunities for him personally and earned him immense respect amongst members of the village community. This has led to increased business for him and trust in the products offered through the bridge he provides Arjun believes that patience is the key to success and there is no shortcut.

Ramamurthy comes from a modest family background , and is based out of Hirehalli Village in Tumkuru village.  He has been successfully running  the Common Service Center ( CSC ) which is a hugely popular CSC in his district. This center has been instrumental in providing online digital services for all programs launched and executed both by the State Government and Central Government.  This center is a hub for all online digital services offered by the state and the central governments and has all people in that village and surrounding villages flocking to this CSC to have all their needs met , be it PAN card application, Aadhar card processing, insurance options , to name a few. Apart from the CSC,  Ramamurthy also runs a fancy store cum provision store.  He successfully runs the 1 Bridge business model and is the advisor in the village for all product and services required by the Rural Consumer . In his words,  being an entrepreneur with 1 Bridge enables him to bring brands like Amazon, Facebook to the doorsteps of the rural consumers.  Purchase of mobiles, purchase of automobiles, amongst a host of other products has never been so easy in rural areas. Partnering with Facebook has made digital literacy the buzzword in Tumkuru.  Ramamurthy is very happy to be looked upon  as a ‘ One Stop Shop’ due to the business model set up by 1 Bridge


Better skills for better jobs in India

The IKEA Foundation and Going To School are partnering to help young people in Bihar learn the skills they need to find a job.

Each year in India over 60 million students leave school, more than 70% of whom can’t find work because they don’t have the skills employers are looking for.

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What stops rural women from getting involved in entrepreneurship?

Women constitute only 14 per cent of the total entrepreneurs in the country. Women in rural areas face multiple barriers to pursuing income-generating activities, with patriarchal family and societal norms being the primary hurdle.

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World Bank, UN Women and SIDBI plan ‘women’s livelihood bond’ to raise ₹300 cr

The World Bank, UN Women (a United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and empowerment of women), and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) have come together to launch a five-year tenor ‘women’s livelihood bond’ to raise ₹300 crore.

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Evaluating Youth Social Action

Does participating in social action boost the skills young people need to succeed in adult life?

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February Newsletter


India is the youngest country: home to the most young people in the world!  It has been a reason to be optimistic and hopeful, as youth bring energy and fresh thinking to help grow the country.

Over the last few years, this optimism is starting to turn into questions and concerns: will our youth have the opportunities to be able to create value? Is our education system preparing youth well for the rapidly changing world? The answers to both these questions are worrying and the progress is currently bleak.

Instead of depending on being given jobs – which don’t seem to exist, the youth of the country need to take their careers and lives in their own hands and pursue entrepreneurial endeavors.

In the last few years that I have worked with youth, I have been repeatedly surprised by their actions, youth’s ability to try new things, adapt to changes and learn is vividly evident in their comfort with newer technologies especially with mobile phones. In a rapidly changing world, this ability is essential for people to thrive.

At GAME, youth form the core part of our focus and we will be able to achieve our goal of enabling 10 million Mass Entrepreneurs, only if a large part of our focus is on working with and learning from youth.

This month, we are delighted to have a contribution from a young, successful entrepreneur, Prukalpa Sankar, Co-Founder, SocialCops, sharing an insight into her entrepreneurial journey.


Mekin Maheshwari
Co-Founder, GAME


Team GAME’s Immersion Journey

At GAME we are committed to learning being at the core of defining our strategy. The team are spending the first quarter of 2019, on an immersion journey with some of the organizations doing incredible work on the ground. Some of the organizations we spent time with were Going to School, Udhyam Learning Foundation, SIDBI, LAHI, Meljol, Manndeshi, PCC, Best Practices Foundation and Aptech Learning Centre. The time spent on the field strengthens our insights for a more effective road map toward catalyzing Mass Entrepreneurship in India. Here is a snapshot of just a few of the stories we came away with:

  1. Armaan Patel, a 1st-year college student where LAHI conducts vocational training programs, is extremely confident, bubbling with ideas and his eyes peeled for a market opportunity to seize. He has a monthly expense of Rs.50-60k for his recreational needs which he believes can only be met by being an entrepreneur and not a job. Some of his business ideas have included selling ginger barfis (an opportunity he spotted when a batch of barfis by another vendor went bad). Among his other ideas have been selling “nimbu golas”, a watch strapped on a bag etc! His mother supports his agency which propels his entrepreneurial vision. Armaan believes that his internship has been more valuable than the vocational training in driving his entrepreneurial aspirations.
  2. Young Nargis was faced with a family tragedy that almost made her give up her dreams. Yet, her own tenacity and the support of Udhyam Learning Foundation interventions have seen her online business of selling scarves grow doubling her capital and fulfilling orders from 22 cities in less than six months. Nargis dreams of expanding her business overseas
  3. Pooja, 30 years old came from a family who had a small business selling bangles. She undertook the Desi MBA with Manndeshi (Pune) and a beauty parlour course. This gave her the confidence to set up a larger store with more inventory (beyond bangles) by taking several loans from different sources. Additionally, there is space at the back of her store to set up her beauty parlour business. Currently, she employs a couple people for 3-4 days a week paying them a daily wage of Rs.500. She plans to build her parlour business with a loan from the bank. Pooja has managed to grow her business, increase her savings, provide for her family and most importantly have a better sense of self and purpose.
  4. Salma Taj has caught on to the global trend of sustainability and a circular economy in the garment industry. She inherited her mother’s business idea of selling used clothes but with using her intuitive business skills and some intervention, she has improved on the idea by first mending the clothes, washing, ironing and packing them to sell a better product at a better price. Her mother sold used clothes at Rs. 25, Salma with her effort at restoration sells the same outfit at Rs.50. She invested in a washing machine to undertake the cleaning in-house, employs her physically challenged son (18yrs old) to help with the cleaning and outsources the mending. Her future plan includes opening a store to overcome the challenges of mobility.

Vidya Chandy, Director, GAME spending time on the ground with the MANNDESHI team.

Santanu Chari, Director, GAME visits Meljol –time at their Youth centre in Vikhroli Park Site, Mumbai

Going to School: The Children’s Scrappy News Service, in search of women entrepreneur heroes


Prukalpa Sankar
Co- Founder, SocialCops

I was an average 20-something university student from a middle-class Indian family. In my final year of university, I was bitten by what they call the “startup bug” and I dreamt of being an entrepreneur. Around me, my batchmates were applying for jobs feverishly. On the other hand, my co-founders and I were working on our startup idea without respite. The decision to not apply to jobs came with its fair share of fears and insecurities. I’ve said this a million times over — I think the most difficult part about being an entrepreneur is “deciding” to take the plunge.

This is especially true when you come from the average Indian middle-class background. Most of us have seen our families struggling to make ends meet and understand the importance of money and a regular paycheck. We are scared that we are throwing away the promising future we have created for ourselves in IT companies, consulting firms, and investment banks by the virtue of an undergraduate “engineering” degree from a good college. The risks seem too high, and it seems to be a more prudent decision to do a masters degree and get some experience before starting up. Read More


India in dire need of entrepreneurs with right skill training support: Here’s why

This demographical advantage gives India an unprecedented edge to emerge as a global economic leader. Many experts have presumed that this vast young pool if skilled well, can result in an additional 2 percent GDP growth rate in the coming year.

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Nandan Nilekani Says Indian Entrepreneurs Can Beat The Best From The World

Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani on Friday said we are the only nation where the local entrepreneurs have to compete with the offerings from the best around the world, particularly those from the US and China.

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Gujarat bucks national entrepreneurship trend

Gujarat is known as the land of entrepreneurs for ages. A recent study confirmed this as the state bucked the nation trend in setting up new enterprises in 2017-18.

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50% India’s working-age population out of labour force, says report

Half of India’s working-age population (15 years and above), for the first time, is not contributing to any economic activity, according to the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO’s) latest jobs survey.

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Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! | TED Talk

How to connect entrepreneurs | Ernesto Sirolli | TEDxCluj

game 2019
January Newsletter


Here’s wishing each of you & your families a terrific 2019 – with all the abundance & tranquillity that the Universe can conjure!

As we enter a new calendar year, we at GAME are very excited about our evolving partnerships in our effort to catalyze Mass Entrepreneurship in India. As we delve deeper into conducting research, designing pilots and running advocacy campaigns, we are looking at assimilating learnings from these efforts and forging longer-term partnerships. I wanted to share some of the action that we have going:

  • Partnering with TRI (, we are rolling out a pilot in a few districts in Jharkhand along with the local District administration to enlist students to identify and nominate the best Mass Entrepreneurs at the district level. The best Student Ambassador and Mass Entrepreneur will be felicitated and awarded by the local community and government. We believe that creating local Ambassadors and recognizing successful local stories will foster a spirit of mass entrepreneurship and enable more people to join the fold.
  • Through another partnership with NITI Aayog and Atal Tinkering Labs, our effort is to build entrepreneurial skills in innovative High School Students. Selected students from Atal Tinkering Labs schools across India will participate in an intensive experiential learning workshop to build the entrepreneurial skills.
  • We are also in conversations with a large financial institution for a national campaign focussed on both triggering Mass Entrepreneurial aspiration and enabling the growth of existing solopreneurs.
  • With UNDP, GAME partnered on the Empretec program for entrepreneurs in Bangalore which amongst other benefits provided exposure to Empretec’s Personal Entrepreneurial Competencies.
  • We are engaged with Sattva Consulting to map and building a catalog of organizations (implementors, etc) and existing interventions in the entrepreneurship space.

Of course, we have been in other discussions with a variety of partners & funders to create our own roadmap of initiatives for the next 18 months. We would love to have all of you to frame a significant part of your efforts in education/ skilling/ livelihoods through the Mass Entrepreneurship lens, and we invite you to collaborate with us across any of the pillars that we are pursuing:

1.  Nurturing entrepreneurial mindsets early
2. Converting job-seekers to entrepreneurs
3. Helping single and micro-entrepreneurs to grow
4. Building cultural aspiration for Mass Entrepreneurship

Starting this newsletter, we have also started inviting articles by some of our partners and are delighted to have a contribution by Bhairavi Jani (Chairperson, IEF).

Look forward to your feedback, inputs, contributions & support on this journey.

Madan Padaki
Co-Founder, GAME- Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship


GAME partnered with UNDP and Empretec for a Primer Workshop in Bengaluru on 7th December

Madan Padaki, co-founder GAME talks about “Catalyzing Change” at Nasscom CSR Conference in Bengaluru

Madan Padaki, co-founder GAME is a panelist at UNDP Event “Driving Growth of Women-Owned Enterprises” in Delhi


Mass Entrepreneurship – The Way Forward

~ Bhairavi Jani, Chairperson IEF Entrepreneurship Foundation

At the heart of every nation’s well-being and economic and developmental progress, is the critical element of employment and livelihood. Nations that have ample livelihood opportunities for their people, tend to be more prosperous and socially stable than those that don’t. By 2030, one billion Indians will be of working age. This demographic change is unprecedented in the history of the nation and the world as well and poses a mammoth challenge for India in the coming decade.

Meeting our employment and developmental goals as a nation is forcing us to re-think what we understand as employment and what path we want to choose to create livelihood opportunities for a billion people. We know that the Government of India, with the armed forces and various public sector undertakings, is the largest “job provider” in the country, followed by the organized private sector. What is not known widely, is that both the government and organized private sector together, only employ less than 20% of the total workforce in the country. The agriculture sector has the largest number of Indians associated with it, but we continue to look at farmers or agriculture labor in a limited way and are just about getting started to rethink the role of enterprise in agriculture. Read More


Villagers get access to internet, now doing business using WhatsApp, Facebook and Amazon

The initial spark, the first contact with the tech for many of these people, came from Google, which in partnership with Tata Trust, is offering Internet Saathi programme in hundreds of Indian villages.

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Delhi govt schools to have Entrepreneurship curriculum for students: Manish Sisodia

Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, has announced that the government-run schools in the state will soon have the Entrepreneurship Curriculum for the students.

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Niti Aayog sets target of 8% growth over next five years

Niti Aayog, the government’s think tank, has pitched for an average 8% growth over the next five years to lift India to a $4-trillion economy in its 75th year of independence, proposing a strategy for a New India by 2022.

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Patent applications by female innovators to get faster clearance: Draft rules

A patent application filed by a female innovator will be examined expeditiously with a view to promoting women entrepreneurship in the country, as per a DIPP proposal.

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Future of India The Winning Leap

The Least Developed Countries Report 2018

Game team
December Newsletter


In the months since we met, the issue of jobs has become even more urgent both in India and across the world. Everywhere I go, the conversation invariably turns to technology and the future of work. However, the critical role of mass entrepreneurship in creating jobs and livelihoods is not yet well appreciated nor understood. So our mission is all the more important and urgent. Since August, we have made good progress in detailing our Theory of Change and the role that our Alliance can and must play in catalyzing an entrepreneurial movement. We have also progressed our conversation with core funders. The idea of mass entrepreneurship is resonating in other parts of the world too; we hope to launch GAME in Africa and in Indonesia early in 2019.

Each of you made a commitment to our audacious goals; we will be in touch soon to get your inputs into the emerging Theory of Change and strategy as well as about specific ways in which you and your organization would like to engage. With all my very best wishes for a Happy New Year,

Ravi Venkatesan
(Founder-GAME & UNICEF Special Ambassador for Young People )


Udhyam Learning Foundation – Video Stories

Transform Rural India -TRI

Team GAME and Team TRI – All smiles as we sign our first partner MOU!


Facebook plans to train 50 lakh Indians in digital skills in next 3 years

With ten ongoing programmes, Facebook has already trained one million people across 150 cities and 48,000 villages with support from 50 partners.

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Easier retail norms likely for ease of doing business

The government plans to ease regulations to promote retail trade in the country in a bid to take India into top 50 in the World Bank’s global Ease of Doing Business ranking

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Emerging technologies and the future of work in India

India Skills Report 2018