By Ritesh Garg
India has never ever followed the hardcore footsteps of capitalism rather stuck to the means of socialism. This is the land where Lord Buddha’s Middle Path has guided the mankind to sustainable local medium of livelihood in our society as well as connected to religion and age-old tradition. Similarly our problems and needs are very local too, where we do not look for a solution outside nation, but for certain that we might use their technology and resources finding special innovation for local solutions.
The entrepreneurs, traders have lived in India since the Harappan civilization in 2500 BC. Down the decades we always have used agriculture for commercial purposes and adopted self-sustained society, and we have been known for as the great merchants in the whole world; however our greatest resource, our youth in the threshold of 21st century are in search of better livelihood and struggling for better means.
Now it is the high time to peep into our roots again, as 65% of the Indian population is still residing in the villages. We need to rethink for the most suitable medium of livelihood for our youth. When we talk about job opportunities, do we really concern for the medium that how would these jobs be created in the future?
I remember the famous character named Govardhan of great Hindi novel ‘Godan’ written by Munshi Premchand, who proceeds to city in search of his livelihood and got frustrated for the lack of job opportunities there. We find number of youth migrating to big cities and metros in search of jobs and they never find a satisfactory means of livelihood. It is also a major point to ponder whether money or the wealth is the only factor for satisfaction or is it the most basic need of people?
In a research with Anil Jaggi, Rusen Kumar, Manoj Sharma and Deepak Kakkar, a group of youth under the banner of Yuva Prerna, an NGO, found that empowerment is most significant factor in the society; and it can be achieved through suitable means of livelihood. Thus the Yuva Prerna is focusing on the concept of ‘e2e: Empowerment through Enterprise’. There is an acute need to connect our youth with local resources with proper innovations and supports in terms of knowledge and technology. As per the concept developed by Yuva Prerana, there are exist three major and wide gap in our society among youth, i.e. lack of exposure or motivation, lack of support and lack of capabilities to execute.
Lack of exposure or motivation: Youngsters, residing in farthest rural remote areas, small towns or in semi-urban areas are often not exposed to the world and its opportunities; and because of being cynic towards our society they inculcate a pessimistic mentality and think that they would not be in a position to do so. This is just because of the lack of awareness, exposure and motivation. If the youth are provided with such environment where they can see execution of work by other youths, then certainly they would be motivated to do something similarly or start-up with their own innovative ideas. They need such exposure through the medium of various exposure visits, workshops and means of experiential learning.
Lack of support: When youth are motivated and exposed to entrepreneurship environment, they also need mentoring support to channelize their energy in the required direction. They need guidance to initiate and capitalize on an idea for themselves, hence there arises a question that how to move forward to execute those ideas? It can be a big challenge thus they need experienced people from industry, academia, and government bodies to execute their ideas in the right directions.
Lack of capabilities to execute: After obtaining proper exposure and guidance, the youths also require capabilities to execute their plans in terms of financial planning, where various required formalities, team building, employee’s retention, production planning and market linkages are taken into account.
Yuva Prerna is ready to work on these three basic gaps through its 3 tier intervention in the society. These are Yuva Prerna Yatra, Prerna Tantra and Udhyamshala. The Yuva Prerna Yatra, will be a journey for social change selecting the highly motivated youth from urban and rural India, to an eye opening, awakening, motivating and inspirational regional spectrum.
During this journey, participants will have face to face interactions with exceptional “Champions of Change”, “The Unsung Heroes”, who not only dared to dream but have translated their dreams into real enterprises by leveraging the local resources and bringing prosperity in the region. This will inspire the visiting team members to correlate these activities for their own area and will spur them on to create such enterprises on their own.
The Prerna Tantra will be a network of mentors consisting of highly competent experts from industry, academia, management, financial institutions, who will provide supports to these youth to translate their dreams in to tangible realities. On the conclusion of the above said Yatra, the best business ideas in the field of agriculture, energy, tourism, skill development, education and Healthcare would be selected for further mentoring, support and promotion under Yuva Prerna Tantra.
Similarly, the Udhyamshala would be a kind of master resource centre for social entrepreneurship development, providing need based capacity building, trainings and planning exercises to these budding entrepreneurs by a team of experts and consultants. It will also help them with various researches, forward-backward linkages, strategy formulation, accounting, technology adaptation etc.
Through this process young people would be able to start enterprises in their area with the innovative ideas, which also help them to exploit the local resources in better manner and have a good connection with them too. When these resources will connect with young people, the area will emerge as good means of livelihood and it would also be helpful in reducing the migration.
People would now think for more sustainable business ideas and will help themselves to reach the stage of age old empowerment of India. This empowerment can only be possible through enterprises building process, and thus though the concept of e2e: Empowerment through Enterprise.
Ritesh Garg is a social entrepreneur. He has opportunity to met more than 200 social entrepreneurs across India. He can be reached at Ritesh.firstname.lastname@example.org
Article Edited By: Vijay Kumar Ratre, Associate Editor, INDIACSR, Mumbai.