What does it take to empower every aspiring youth with an opportunity to start and grow an enterprise of their own?
I started my entrepreneurial journey as a 21 year old final year student of mechanical engineering in Manipal, in early 2011. It was an education venture geared towards imbibing important skills such as creativity, critical thinking and problem solving among school-going children. In hindsight, the start of that journey was a scary and lonely period for me. There were many questions I had, about the wisdom of starting up. From being inspired everyday myself , to inspiring the team (largely unpaid interns), to building a real product that people would want to pay for, to finding my mentors, investors and more were all things that kept me up at nights. But, I got support from my parents as well as a small seed funding, a highly driven team and mentors from my vast Manipal network and most especially my first paying customers.
I believe I was lucky to have got far more resources in those early days than the average Indian youth -most of them are perhaps not so fortunate, making entrepreneurship a riskier proposition. How do we change this? How do we make this the norm rather than the exception? This is what I have embarked on to find and implement at GAME through a model called AntarPrerana. You will hear more about this in the near future and if you believe your work could significantly contribute to this goal, I would love to hear from you. I am excited, are you?
One of our key partners in our journey to catalyze Mass Entrepreneurship, Facebook, has played an important role in enabling entrepreneurial journeys. Stories of entrepreneurs we believe must be told not just to celebrate their spirit and success, but also to inspire so many young men and women that entrepreneurship is a path they too can consider.
1. Leveraging tools for social media
For long, indigenous and local communities have lived in isolation and information darkness. But with the advent of new-age digital tools and social media platforms like Facebook, alienated communities are finding their voice and creating a global network, irrespective of their traditional literacy levels.
With the intention of strengthening market knowledge and opportunities at the very bottom of the pyramid, Digital Empowerment Foundation entered into a partnership with Facebook in late 2018 to build digital capacities and capabilities of micro and nano entrepreneurs within marginalised and digitally-excluded communities, thereby empowering them and exposing to better livelihood opportunities. The project, called Facebook Dost, was able to reach out to over 50,000 micro and nano entrepreneurs—including artisans and self-help groups—in the tribal states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
In our journey spanned over six months, we organised numerous interactive sessions and came across several village-level, Tier II or Tier III city level entrepreneurs who had been able to leverage social media to boost their respective businesses. In the next few issues, we will be sharing stories of digital entrepreneurs from the ground.
Women in rural India use a circular band called ‘Indha’ to balance and carry pots on their head. It is symbolic of the diverse roles they perform as mothers, homemakers, and breadwinners. This is the vision behind Indha Crafts, an organization that offers these women the option to balance family life along with a livelihood opportunity. In this short video, one of the artisans shares her story on how Facebook has helped them scale their business, making over 300 women like her financially independent and empowered. Hear them say
Pabiben Rabari had accepted her fate of living a poverty filled life at the age of ten. It was only when she got married, her husband helped her realize that she could write her own destiny. Watch this video to know how Pabiben used her traditional Rabari embroidery skills and Facebook to build an international enterprise and went from earning Rs. 24,000 a year to 20,00,000 a year. Hear them say
4. Ajay Dabral, Uttarakhand
1. The Brand Rountable
Making Mass Entrepreneurship Aspirational is one of our five pillars. GAME hosted a Roundtable to discuss the different aspects of creating campaigns- we had a group of experts share their views from identifying the problem statement, to current and traditional mediums of engagement and the cultural nuances of different geographies. The Key Take Away: The Mass Entrepreneur Stories must be told!
Participants: Shyju Varkey, Vice President, India Market at Epsilon, Prateek Srivastava, Co-Founder, ChapterFive Brand Solutions Pvt Ltd, Shreyas Ghuge, Director, Marketing, Unitus Ventures, Dominic Vijay, COO, South United FCI Pvt Ltd., Tina Garg, Founder, Pink Lemonade, Rashmil Dheer, Digital Strategist, Pink Lemonade, Brian Carvalho, Communications Consultant, Nisha Ramchandani Outreach, Axilor
2. Workshop on Mainstreaming Entrepreneurial Mindset in Youth
Intent: To discuss and debate towards a common definition of Entrepreneurial Mindset, with the objective to change the focus of discussions on delivering for and assessing outcomes. Takeaways: With sensitivity and incorporating our partner’s requirements, GAME needs to build a simple framework that can be piloted. Even just taking two parameters, Problem-solving and Grit, and measuring them across pilots could be a simple uncomplicated start.
Wide participation from Entrepreneurship education organizations, corporate HR and assessment companies. Lisa Heydlauff, Founder – Going to School, Raj Gilda, Co-Founder, Lend a Hand India, Kuldeep Dantewadia, Co-Founder – Reap Benefit, Mekin Maheshwari, Founder, Udhyam Learning Foundation, Industry, Seema Vijay Singh, CHRO , Nestaway, Madan Padaki, CEO, 1Bridge, Karan Chatrath, Product Head, Aspiring Minds, Dr Bijan Roy, (Strategy and Marketing)
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