Eastern Regional

Clusters have established themselves as a potent solution to all-round growth of MSMEs and the eastern office would continue with tangible efforts in this area. Efforts would also be directed towards introducing entrepreneurship in the formal education system in the region.  Also several new colleges and thus students would be brought within the fold of entrepreneurship education through distance learning. With the realization that the boundaries of a nation are gradually getting blurred and that there are none when it comes to international trade, the eastern region office looks forward to conducting several short duration programmes to enhance the competencies of entrepreneurs in specific areas of business including export promotion. While the existing projects would continue getting diversified, new areas would be delved into in keeping with the need of the hour. For instance; Trade Facilitation would be taken up as an important area to ease the procedural complexities for globally operating entrepreneurs so that the delays do not deter them. In the same vein, programmes on Export-Import would be focused upon to help entrepreneurs look beyond the national boundaries. The vast and significant domain of health and safety of workers would receive emphasis through projects on Occupational and Health & Safety. Other issues of contemporary relevance, such as; Climate Change Issues, Cluster Twinning and Research on topical subjects would be focused upon.

 

The business environment is never static, it is forever changing, sometimes even turbulent; demanding ground-breaking solutions to wade out of competition and create a niche. However, several times it becomes difficult for a micro/small entrepreneur to individually employ global thinking and strategies but if entrepreneurs in a homogenous line of products, employ coping strategies in a conglomerate, benefits result for all. There are ample examples which elucidate how by working together under cluster approach, MSMEs survive market competition and at the same time grow and take their businesses on a higher growth path. Therefore, the Eastern Region Office of the Institute undertook cluster development wherein efforts were made to bring the enterprises to work together so that there could be development on all fronts of business for MSMEs. Attempts were made to convert passive economies into active economies. The office also conducted Cluster Level Intervention Program (CLIP) in select MSME cluster in West Bengal. A series of capacity building programmes in diverse areas were conducted under the aegis of CLIP which benefited MSME entrepreneurs and their employees.

The Cluster Development Model primarily revolved around five components classified under three heads of:

  • Training and Capacity Building
    • Cluster Development Executives’ (CDEs) Training: In order to put in place a cadre of resource persons who could stabilize and also streamline cluster development initiatives at the State and Regional level, the Institute conducted Cluster Development Executives’ Programme. Training was imparted to resource persons working with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Institute (MSME-DI), District Industries Centre (DIC), National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Weavers Service Centre, Textile Committee etc. These programmes helped the participants in understanding the principles of cluster development and how to implement a Cluster Development programme.
  • Implementation
    • Cluster Development Programme (CDP): The model involving soft and hard interventions started with workshops for awareness generation, sensitization and one-to-one counselling   and expanded to encompass research and development targeted at quality and productivity improvement, technology upgradation, cost reduction, market and export development, design development, credit rating, enterprise resource planning, social capital development etc.
    • Common Facility Centre (CFC): This significant initiative under the cluster development intervention assured technology upgradation for all MSME entrepreneurs of a given cluster, irrespective of their financial affordability. Appropriate machinery/technologies were housed in a special Centre on a private public partnership (PPP) mode so that all the cluster entrepreneurs availed easy access to modern machinery/technology. EDI has facilitated establishment of common testing laboratory, dye house etc. in different MSME clusters in the eastern region. With the objective of addressing pollution and environmental issues, modernization of Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) in the leather cluster at Bantala, Kolkata was also successfully undertaken.
    • Raw Material Bank: Creation of Raw Material Bank addressed shortage of raw material issues in clusters of the region. The entrepreneurs did not have to pay exorbitant amounts to source raw materials during periods of unavailability. This positively impacted the profit margins of entrepreneurs and they did not lose their bargaining power.
  • Project Management Consultant (PMC) & Policy Advocacy

With the objective of streamlining MSME cluster development initiatives in their respective States, Government of West Bengal and Government of Orissa have engaged EDI as Project Management Consultant (PMC). In this capacity, the Institute started closely working with the Industries Department of respective States and helped them in developing comprehensive strategy and action plan to foster MSME Cluster Development in the State. The Institute was involved in conducting diagnostic study, prepared vision, strategy & action plan and implemented the same to usher in holistic development of MSME clusters in the regions. EDII also got engaged in conducting Cluster Mapping exercise in Bihar and provided advisory services to the State Governments in terms of promoting MSME clusters in the State. The Office has also effectively represented to affect policy change or action. As Cluster Resource Monitoring Agency, the Institute exercises close monitoring and introduces corrective action in clusters.  

Clusters rejuvenated and perched on the track of growth include leather, engineering, handicrafts, handloom (a list of clusters highlighting the main achievements in a box.

 

Development of Business Development Services (BDS) market has been a pioneering project of the Institute’s Eastern Region Office. The objective was to develop BDS market so that MSMEs operating in clusters were able to derive benefit of quality services provided by private and public BDS providers. The BDS market with its infinite reservoir of expertise holds the potential of refurbishing the MSME sector by streamlining not just the regulatory aspects in MSMEs but also in terms of making available strategic  and embedded services that they look for.  The office conducted capacity building programmes for existing BDS providers and started linking the BDS providers (BDSPs) with the MSME sector. With a unique BDS market development strategy, the MSMEs could be noticeably strengthened. Higher value addition and increased competitiveness of initial few MSMEs impressed upon others to follow suit. Introduction of business development services in operational and management areas further propelled the market for business development service providers, while simultaneously significantly improving the quality of MSMEs.

 

The role of Business Membership Organizations (Industry Associations or Chamber of Commerce and Industry) as facilitators of business (of MSMEs), by extending a range of meaningful value added services to their members cannot be understated. Proactive BMOs can efficiently bridge the market imperfections due to information asymmetries by acting as good data resource.  This can help MSMEs overcome the concerns clouding their business, thus moving on to a different plane against the backdrop of favorable markets. For this, however, capacity building of the BMOs is important so that their functional and organizational performance is improved.  Capacity building programmes for the BMOs operating in the Eastern Region of the country were highly successful leading to improved performance of the BMOs and quality services to their members.

 

Lean manufacturing focusses on reducing the lead time, so as to lessen costs and increase operational efficiency. The office introduced several MSMEs in the Eastern region to lean manufacturing practices and they have endorsed its role in improving overall productivity. The various strategies under its umbrella include; audit of the cluster, preparation of diagnostic study to fix the gaps and action plan based on it.

 

Entrepreneurship, innovation and incubation are interrelated and deeply embedded in creativity and an understanding of new ideas. Innovation based incubators are a must to trigger the phenomenon of new age entrepreneurship. Against this backdrop, the Eastern Office started providing technical support to the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED), BRAC University, Bangladesh for establishment an Innovation and Incubation Centre there. A capacity building programme on how to establish and manage an Incubation Centre was conducted by the Institute. This was followed by a visit of Incubation stakeholders from Bangladesh to India to observe ‘best practices’ in Incubation management. After imparting all-inclusive information and developing competencies, the Institute developed a business plan and manual for operational efficiency of an Innovation and Incubation Centre.

 

Arriving at a sound business strategy, identifying and exploiting opportunities, effectively influencing team behavior and other management actions are traits that depend on a framework of crucial skills and competencies. EDII has decades of experience in placing corporates on a high growth trajectory by training its employees to maximize productivity within the existing resources.  The Eastern Region office successfully replicated these programmes by modifying the model to suit the requirements of renowned corporates. These programmes helped the executives in understanding the conceptual framework of deriving a sound business strategy, reaching critical decisions, appreciating the turbulent industry structure, thus achieving increased performance and efficiency.

 

Eastern Regional Office of the Institute successfully conducted Rural Industries Programme (RIP) to promote micro enterprises in rural hinterlands. Business opportunity profiling of rural areas, selecting potential entrepreneurs, providing training on new venture creation, preparing business plans and establishing financial linkages were carried out by the Office, thus ensuring industrial development in rural locales.

 

Entrepreneurship Development Model, evolved by the Institute over three decades back, has come to be recognized as a strategic development tool and has been positioned as a pillar of economic growth.  For over more than two decades the Institute has conducted EDPs with resounding success, in all provinces of the Eastern Region. Starting with the selection of entrepreneurs, achievement motivation training, business opportunity identification, market survey, technology identification, business plan preparation and financial linkages, the Office has played a pivotal role in developing large number of micro entrepreneurs in various areas of the north eastern region. Hand-holding support was provided subsequent to the training to ensure an appreciable start-up rate. In conducting EDPs, the Office also collaborated with Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) so that people in the remotest corners of the region could be approached. Some milestone projects also include specialized programmes on Micro Enterprise Development, Value Addition & Marketing for support system officials to create a cadre of facilitators of livelihood promotion for the community as well as for critical natural resources, such as the one undertaken for conservation of forests at the behest of the Government of Orissa.

 

Rural areas produce goods that have a strong consumer base but most of the time their inability to reach the consumers and the right markets, keeps them away from getting their due. Rural Marketing thus needs to be focused upon so that the producers tap the right avenues. EDII Eastern Region Office not just introduced entrepreneurs to the concept of rural marketing but also trained them in understanding the pulse of the market and accordingly bringing about innovations in their area. The training involved lessons on how Rural Marketing can be used as a mechanism of change by focusing on qualities of networking, employing modern tools marketing  and thus communicating effectively.

 

The rural architype presents great scope for intervention to ensure entrepreneurial opportunities to youths. Vocational training in the areas of marketing, business plan preparation, business management, networking etc. were covered in specialized sectors to orient youths towards new enterprise creation. One such landmark programme was sponsored by Tata Steel and ensured 57 enterprises from among the 104 youths trained.

 

Rehabilitation and resettlement project has been conceived, designed and implemented in Orissa. The basic objective was to rehabilitate and resettle those displaced by industrialization of rural segments of the region.  For this, the Institute successfully conducted Micro Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (MEDPs) in Orissa. These were conducted under the umbrella of CSR project supported by the Vedanta Group wherein apart from training, the local people were provided hand-holding support so that they could start their micro enterprises. The success of the rural Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) project has earned accolades from stakeholders including Government, private sector and local people.

 

EDII worked with VAL to enhance employability of the displaced families of the Company. The training metamorphosed the youth through vocational skill inputs, technical skills, soft skills, thus evolving them as a capable brigade, ready to take the challenges of life.
The project continued for a period of 5 years and within this period could effect a noticeable change in skills, behavior and attitude. All the youths trained under this programme have been employed by VAL. Some have even emerged as ‘star performers’.

 

Self Help Groups (SHG) are important constituents of local economic fabric in many areas in our country and the Eastern Region is no exception. SHGs contribute significantly in livelihood promotion, income generation, raw material sourcing, value addition on locally available raw materials and establish market linkages for rural products. Keeping in mind their contribution in Local Economic Development (LED), SHG formation (with focus on Women SHGs), their capacity building and engaging them in value addition, market development and establishing financial linkages were systematically undertaken by the Office. The Institute has closely worked with a large number of SHGs in many of its projects to reach out to  people in the remotest corners of the region. (place in a block where we talk about REDPs)
 

 

The Institute conceptualized and created a cadre of BDSPs locally known as Shakti Sahayikas by identifying and training women belonging to rural communities to enable them to provide handholding support on a consultancy basis to Women SHGs.

 

The Start-Up Village Entrepreneurship Programme was announced by the Hon’ble Finance Minister in the budget speech 2014-15. The Programme envisages creation of sustainable self employment opportunities for a large number of rural youths, thus enabling them to engage with the market and help generate wealth locally. The project also looks forward to bringing banks and financial institutions closer to the village entrepreneur. EDII, as National Resource Organization (NRO) for the project, is implementing the project in ten states of the country. Odisha and West Bengal will also shortly see implementation of the programme and ensure self-employment opportunities for rural youth.

 

Faculty Development programmes were implemented successfully across the region to train the faculty group and develop them as resource persons who could guide and motivate young students to take up entrepreneurship. On the same lines a cadre of trainers has been created through structured training so that they initiate development interventions at the grassroots and in the remotest corners of the region. This  has imparted sustainiability to the interventions.

 

For existing entrepreneurs, it becomes very important to periodically analyze their performance and plan a growth-strategy keeping in view the developments in the field. Performance Improvement cum Growth Programmes train them to gauge and market and strategize accordingly. The programmes infuse management proficiency and growth – oriented competency to ensure rejuvenation and progress of existing enterprises. Programmes in this area have noticeably given a boost to existing enterprises.

 

EDII has been imparting entrepreneurial skills and competencies to children and youth to goad them on to higher-order achievements. Children in the age group of 12 to 16 years and youth between 16 to 21 years undergo classroom learning, simulation exercises, role plays, discourses by achievers and field visits that break their stereotypical thinking by inculcating entrepreneurial traits as well as high achievement motivation quotient in them.

 

EDII has always remained conscious of the importance of knowledge generation through research and donned the cap of an applied research cum development centre in entrepreneurship. Its research projects on contemporary issues have been widely acknowledged. Outcomes of these research projects have also been disseminated at bigger platforms and have enhanced our understanding of issues. In the context of the Eastern region, research on Value Chain, Cluster dynamics and BDS have facilitated further concrete and tangible action.  The Government of India had also engaged the Office to conduct evaluation study on Rural Business Hub, Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) etc., which have been successfully completed. Techno- Economic Feasibility Study was conducted in eight natural fiber clusters in eleven districts of West Bengal.  Simultaneously, Policy Advocacy has also been a significant engagement.

 

EDII has the experience of conserving natural resources and protecting forest resources through its various projects undertaken under Odisha Forestry Sector Development Project (OFSDP). This project has also enabled VSS and SHGs of the region, undertake various forest based livelihood programmes.

 

To develop youths of the region as potential agri entrepreneurs, EDII has associated with CARE, NABARD and other development organizations. Forests abound in resources and could prove to be a haven for tribals and forest dwellers but middlemen make these people collect the rich forest resource and buy at very cheap price. EDII has worked towards conservation of some species by converting the collectors into agripreneurs. This was achieved by training and motivating them to cultivate the species on the verge of extinction. They were taught scientific methods of cultivation.

 

EDII is a pioneer in entrepreneurship education, research and institution building. The Institute is the forerunner in launching structured educational programme in new enterprise creation, family business management and the development sector. The regular post graduate courses that the Institute has been offering are Post Graduate Programme in Management – Business Entrepreneurship and Post Graduate Diploma in Management – Development Studies. The Institute also offers Open Learning Programme in Entrepreneurship so that working professionals who have paucity of time can benefit from the training. EDII’s wide network of branch and regional offices facilitates in organizing these programmes. The Eastern regional office plays an integral part in the implementation of educational programme and as a counselling centre to guide students.   

 

Clusters have established themselves as a potent solution to all-round growth of MSMEs and the eastern office would continue with tangible efforts in this area. Efforts would also be directed towards introducing entrepreneurship in the formal education system in the region.  Also several new colleges and thus students would be brought within the fold of entrepreneurship education through distance learning. With the realization that the boundaries of a nation are gradually getting blurred and that there are none when it comes to international trade, the eastern region office looks forward to conducting several short duration programmes to enhance the competencies of entrepreneurs in specific areas of business including export promotion. While the existing projects would continue getting diversified, new areas would be delved into in keeping with the need of the hour. For instance; Trade Facilitation would be taken up as an important area to ease the procedural complexities for globally operating entrepreneurs so that the delays do not deter them. In the same vein, programmes on Export-Import would be focused upon to help entrepreneurs look beyond the national boundaries. The vast and significant domain of health and safety of workers would receive emphasis through projects on Occupational and Health & Safety. Other issues of contemporary relevance, such as; Climate Change Issues, Cluster Twinning and Research on topical subjects would be focused upon.

Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India

(Via Ahmedabad Airport & Indira Bridge), P.O. Bhat 382 428, Dist. Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India.

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