Create an ecosystem for rural entrepreneurship to thrive: Vice President

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for creating an ecosystem for entrepreneurship to thrive and encourage youth to become job creators instead of job seekers.

 

Addressing the Summit on “Empowering Young Grampreneurs to Create Jobs” organized by the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST), in Bhubaneswar, Odisha today, he said that unemployment was an area of major concern not only for India but for all the nations. The possible way to address unemployment was to ‘create the right ecosystem for youngsters to become entrepreneurs and set up their own businesses’, he added.

 

The Vice President said that India with its huge demographic advantage must reap benefits by harnessing the youth’s potential. He said there was a need to create the relevant infrastructure and impart the right skill sets for them to successfully overcome the challenges posed by the technology-dependent world.“How efficiently and effectively we reap the demographic dividend depends greatly on how effectively we are able to create jobs and train the working population to do these jobs,” Shri Naidu added.

 

Expressing concern over the rising urban rural divide, the Vice President stressed the need for making agriculture sustainable and profitable, creating market for rural artisans, empowering woman entrepreneurs to sell their crafts by way of online platforms and ensuring access to affordable education and healthcare.The Vice President also advised young entrepreneurs to start businesses that promote India’s unique, traditional arts and crafts. He wanted the nation to monetize these unique capabilities and find new markets for these exceptional products through trade fairs and international exhibitions.

Opining that the rich craftsmanship was a key aspect of vibrant heritage of India, Shri Naidu said that there was a need to reinvent and re-imagine ‘brand India’ and revive our dying industries.Saying that Small and Medium enterprises play an important role in economic development, the Vice President said that creating an ecosystem conducive to the functioning of SMEs and cottage industries were as important as facilitating large scale industries in giving a fillip to entrepreneurship.

 

“MSMEs contribute 6.11 per cent of manufacturing GDP and 24.6 per cent of services GDP. These industries which are often located in rural areas play a vital role in preserving India’s traditional skills and products such as handicrafts and handlooms”, he said.Saying that entrepreneurship was valuable only if it had a multiplier effect on the prosperity of our local communities, especially in rural areas, the Vice President urged young businessmen to find the hidden strengths and advantages in rural India leverage them to provide livelihoods and raise standard of living of those living in remote areas.

 

Observing that Empowerment of women was central to achieving the objective of inclusive, equitable and sustainable development, the Vice President said that ‘women empowerment should not only be a national goal but a global agenda’.Pointing out that women constitute only 14% of the total entrepreneurship i.e. 8.05 million out of the total 58.5 million entrepreneurs, Vice President said there was an urgent need to encourage more women to embark on the path of entrepreneurship.

 

The Vice President presented awards for achievers in rural entrepreneurship and launched BYST Entrepreneur Online Learning in Odia.The Governor of Odisha, Shri Ganeshi Lal, the Members of Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST), Founding and Managing Trustee, BYST Ms. Lakshmi, Shri V. Venkatesan, other stake holders from industry including the Director of JK Paper Ltd. Shri A.S. Mehta, President, the Chief of CSR, Tata Steel Ltd, Shri Shri Sourav Roy and more than 600 entrepreneurs from different parts of Odisha were present at the event.

 

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

 

“Officials from the Government, Representatives from Media, BYST Grampreneurs & Mentors, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am delighted to join you for the Summit on “Empowering Young Grampreneurs to Create Jobs” in the presence of all the major stakeholders of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Odisha.

It is indeed heartening to see brilliant, budding entrepreneurs from the grassroots level, particularly those from underserved communities sharing experiences and exchanging valuable lessons with business experts.I would like to extend my warm wishes to Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST) on having completed over 26 years in the service of under-privileged youth who are in search of better livelihood opportunities.I had the pleasure of addressing BYST’s Silver Jubilee at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in April 2017 and unveiling its flagship programme– “Mentoring India.

I am glad that BYST continues to play a pioneering role in the development of young entrepreneurship through effective mentoring.It is also heartening to learn that BYST has helped over 7,500 disadvantaged Indian youth to develop their business ideas into viable enterprises, since the organisation’s inception in 1992.I am particularly happy to be here in the beautiful state of Odisha. The state is rich in minerals, metals and natural resources and has been successful in attracting investors and businesses from all over the world to its shores.

In the last few years, the state has been on a path of rapid infrastructure development, constructing highways linking the far-off mineral rich districts to the ports and to the twin-cities of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar which had air and rail connectivity.It is truly noteworthy that the Government of Odisha has taken important initiatives in the last couple of years to create conducive ecosystem for Startups in the State. As a result, it has achieved the status of ‘Top Performer’ in the State Startup ranking exercise conducted by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India.

I see a very exciting future for Odisha; the opportunities before the state are truly endless.

My dear sisters and brothers,

India stands poised at the brink of one of the most advantageous demographic profiles in history. We are one of the youngest nations of the world with 62.5% of the population in the age group of 15-59 years.This incredible window of demographic dividend in India is available for five decades from 2005-06 to 2055-56, longer than any other country in the world.

How efficiently and effectively we reap the demographic dividend depends greatly on how effectively we are able to create jobs and train the working population to do these jobs.

Although, the digital revolution we are witnessing today may enable the creation of new products and more productive jobs, it may also end up substituting some of the existing jobs. One of the challenges would be to re-skill and retrain the existing workforce for taking up newer jobs.

No doubt, unemployment is an area of major concern not only for India but for all the nations, both emerging and developed. While addressing the problem of unemployment, we also need to look into the question of underemployment or underutilization of the human resources.A possible way to address unemployment is to create the right ecosystem for youngsters to become entrepreneurs and set up their own businesses. In other words, we need to ensure that they become job creators instead of job-seekers.

It is generally accepted that entrepreneurs create jobs, boost innovation, enhance competition and are responsive and adaptable to changing economic opportunities and trends.

Encouraging entrepreneurship in young people is an important way of harnessing their enthusiasm, energy, spirit and ambition to contribute to economic development.Many entrepreneurs do more than provide important goods and services– their businesses help sustain the vitality of the neighbourhoods in which they live and work.

Creating an ecosystem conducive to the functioning of Small and Medium enterprises and cottage industries is as important as facilitating large scale industries in giving a fillip to entrepreneurship.MSMEs contribute 6.11 per cent of manufacturing GDP and 24.6 per cent of services GDP. These industries which are often located in rural areas play a vital role in preserving India’s traditional skills and products such as handicrafts and handlooms.

India is home to highly skilled craftsmen. We must not let this rich aspect of our vibrant heritage be lost. We must encourage more young entrepreneurs to start businesses that promote India’s unique, traditional arts and crafts.We must monetize these unique capabilities and find new markets for these exceptional products.   As important as enabling these industries to manufacture is developing their capabilities to brand their products and market them effectively, both in domestic and international markets through trade fairs and international exhibitions.

The growth of 37.1 %, witnessed by ‘Khadi India’ in the last four years presents an important lesson to us on the importance of leveraging our inherent strengths and competitive advantages.We need to reinvent and re-imagine ‘brand India’ and revive our dying industries through our spirited young entrepreneurs.As the world is becoming more globalized, let me advice you to be more ‘local’. I urge the budding young entrepreneurs present here to source your raw materials locally and to recruit talent from your neighbourhood.Entrepreneurship is valuable only if it has a multiplier effect on the prosperity of our local communities, especially in rural areas.

I encourage you to find those hidden strengths and advantages in your villages and communities and find creative ways to leverage and harness those strengths to provide livelihoods and raise standard of living of your entire community.

My dear sisters and brothers,

Historically speaking, India has been perceived as the land of entrepreneurial opportunity to generations of foreign mercantilists.

Our business community has been able to draw attention of the world over centuries for its remarkable capability to perceive economic opportunities; for its resilience to pursue them, and for delivering world-class products and services to different industries and geographies.When I hear that BYST entrepreneurs have been winning national and international awards, I can see that they have inherited the great legacy of enterprise and resourcefulness that India is has always been famous for.Although we have much to celebrate, we must remember that 9 out of 10 jobs in India are still being created in the informal sector which affords little room for innovation and growth.

In India, we have a large eco-system of start-ups – the third largest in the world.

Policies like Start-up India and Atal Innovation Mission are geared to support the start-up environment.A dynamic and robust entrepreneurial eco-system is an asset to every economy; specifically, innovation-led entrepreneurship has significant potential to stimulate industrial growth. Entrepreneurs are the key drivers of industry.

The challenge for India’s policy-makers is to address constraints like access to credit and inadequate marketing support faced by entrepreneurs. I am sure that the authorities will come up with appropriate policy interventions wherever necessary.There is also a need to encourage more women to embark on the path of entrepreneurship. Currently, women constitute around 14% of the total entrepreneurship i.e. 8.05 million out of the total 58.5 million entrepreneurs.A recent World Bank report has revealed that women employers tend to hire mostly women. But many of such women-owned firms are micro-household enterprises employing 1 to 2 persons.

Empowerment of women is central to achieving the objective of inclusive, equitable and sustainable development and it should not only be a national goal but a global agenda.

My dear Sisters and brothers,

Corporate Social Responsibility is playing very important role in supporting the various development initiatives. Tata Steel and J K Paper, who are supporting the BYST programmes for entrepreneur development in Odisha, are shining examples of Corporate Social Responsibility.

There is also a big scope for private sector investment in mentoring and fostering small enterprises in the informal sector through appropriate linkages.

NGOs, cooperatives and self help groups can provide these linkages.

This summit, with its primary focus on grassroots entrepreneurship and mentoring is both timely and relevant.

I want each and every one of you to be part of the glorious mentoring movement of BYST – Mentoring India.

Mentoring has a special place is creating a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is particularly relevant in rural India where there are lea avenues for self learning.

I congratulate BYST once again for this eventful Summit. Let us together strengthen the spirit of mentoring and entrepreneurship through our determination, positive attitude and hard work.

This will be in consonance with the true spirit of service to this great nation.