To develop entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture a focused ‘Rural Entrepreneurship School’ in some rural and tribal areas could be sought.
A classical village is a ‘sustainable rural community that is able to generate and maintain the resources necessary to improve its level of wellbeing and happiness without depleting economic, social & environmental values’. In doing so, the classical village strengthens the sustainability pillars of economic wellbeing & livelihood and Minimum Government, Maximum Governance. The concept of classical village can only be materialised if villagers are able to earn for their livelihood and with minimum support of government they could effectively manage the resources with safety and security, enjoy healthy life and benefitted by useful infrastructure. These factors are obligatory to make its citizens economically empowered, confident, healthy and happy. Strengthening the rural entrepreneurial spirit and employment generation needs focused policies for indigenous traits and technology based rural entrepreneurship development initiative. So far several programmes by central and state governments are rolling to develop entrepreneurship but most of the initiatives are copied from developed countries having their perspective.
In developed countries, the villagers have lower participation than that urban population and that is how those countries focus more on urban and hi-technology based entrepreneurship. However, the perspective in Bharat is different. The country claims about 70 per cent of total workforce in agriculture and 1 in 3 rural household is landless and depends on manual labour for livelihood. Having this situation the country may not duplicate the models of developed countries for entrepreneurship development in the country. The policy for improvement in rural entrepreneurship process should have local angle in midpoint. In fact, on one hand about 50 per cent of sales revenue of FMCG comes from villages and on the other hand 13.3 per cent of rural families are living in houses with not more than one room. Ignoring the basic factual situation government has focus for strengthening internet connectivity in villages. As per a survey 53 million rural population uses internet, this tells us a lot for the future of rural business scenario.
The country has significant indigenous technologies as preserved by villagers and some of these technologies are marketed by some or the other ways by different business entities. Consequently, having less or no entrepreneurship knowledge villagers are simply being used as resource mobilisers. During last several decades of Independence the country could not make a single plan to boost indigenous traits and technologies persevered by villages. Besides, the tribal communities have been practically using their traits and technologies still without any support from any of the governments. Although rural and tribal people have surfaced in most areas of business operations, they find many constraints and barriers in starting and running their business ventures. For instance, the problems which are identified are the lack of basic technical understanding for any kind of bank support, documentation, lack of adequate marketing and operational skills. Because of these barriers, even a potential business idea or initiative is aborted in its infancy.
Focus on entrepreneurship with orientation to rural entrepreneurship issues in similar areas would create awareness among the rural people. This would provide them with an understanding of business insights which is necessary to launch their micro venture. Also, this would facilitate their understanding for expansion and diversification of their micro business.
There exists tremendous latent entrepreneurial talent, which, if properly harnessed, could help in solving many of the serious problems faced by the rural people in the country. In fact, today it can be said, ‘Entrepreneurs are not born but can be made’. To develop entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture a focused ‘Rural Entrepreneurship School’ in some rural and tribal areas could be sought. ‘Rural Entrepreneurship School’ should be managed and coordinated by the local villagers to develop micro business entities from their indigenous traits and know-how. The school should be evolved, in a manner, so that no outside authority would be required for administration mechanism and coordination support. Besides, running on their own villagers will try to seek help of some other successful small and marginal local entrepreneurs and may involve government research and development institutions as knowledge partners.
Prof Amit Kumar Dwivedi (The writer is Faculty at Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India-Ahmedabad & National Team Member, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor India Consortium)