If salary was not a factor and your living expenses were covered, what would you do for a living and how would you spend your time?
The above question brings to memory some of my interactions with quite a few of the rural Small-To-medium Business (SMB) entrepreneurs in India, who, as yet, face challenges relating to financing and growth to global scales of competitiveness. I often admire their courage, determination and ingenuity watching them create and sustain successful businesses with limited capital investments. The strongly collateral-driven approach followed by the banking system often makes it difficult for them to fuel further organizational growth. If salary is not a factor and living expenses are covered, I will invest my time in empowering the Indian rural community by facilitating entrepreneurship in rural areas through business ventures/projects/micro-enterprises. To a significant extent, this passion for solving business problems also corresponds to my Long-Term Goal of establishing a Strategic Business/Management Consulting Practice.
I would like to replicate what Dr. Verghese Kurien (Father of India’s “White Revolution”) has created for India – From the outset, the White Revolution was conceived and implemented as much more than a Dairying program. Rather, dairying was seen as an instrument of development, generating employment and regular incomes for millions of rural people. Dr. Kurien’s brainchild “Amul” is now India’s leading brand for a range of dairy products and has been very successful in transforming the situation from tremendous milk shortages to a profitable surplus and a range of profitable consumable dairy products.
The under funded government with inefficiencies in funds allocation as also rampant corruption does not allow the development of rural communities in terms of education and quality of life. A very high percentage of rural population moves to cities looking for employment leaving behind a huge untapped potential. Huge entrepreneurial talent resides in the rural communities; however, the standard of living has not yet risen because of absence of exposure to the global market. India has a legacy of production of great handicrafts; however, the lack of specialized knowledge on the overseas market’s excessive demand for such products does not allow the small enterprises to reach up to their potential. Therefore, through my firm, I would focus on developing small-scale enterprises in specific sectors such as arts and crafts, agricultural products, natural healing (the ancient science of Ayurveda) products, primary education and alternative energy sources.
An emphasis would be laid on the production of quality goods and services so that they have a global standing and are able to make greater profitability out of their investments. My firm will catalyze the growth of small-scale enterprises – aiding them till they scale up to larger enterprises and advise on innovative financing options, thus funding them more on the basis of viability rather than “collateral” alone. An alternative and significant funding option would be large enterprises that would sponsor many of our projects. Most corporations have “Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives”, in which they contribute a small percentage of their profits to such benevolent causes. These funds would be used to support the lowest level of the community in which other conventional methods of financial support may fail. Other techniques The firm will further aid entrepreneurial growth by advising on product innovations, market targeting techniques, development and training of personnel and through a process-driven approach for managing operations.
I would apply the knowledge gained in the MBA program to help these communities achieve some of the goals. The focus would thus be on organizing need based training and educational programs for all the rural communities and foster the development of market-ready skills among the populace. Technological revolution would ensure knowledge transfer between and across rural communities. With living costs covered, I would also work towards advising “Green Industries” and companies seriously involved in developing alternative energy sources for India’s ever-increasing energy requirements. The rural areas of India provide ample positives for such ventures through cost-effective labor, government subsidies and ready availability of natural resources. I would further assist such companies in funding their ventures through the “carbon credits” and work on making this innovative mode of financing work for them.
These developmental measures would be thus my way of coming close to “giving back more than I have received”.