After the Second World War, concern for economic development became all-pervasive. There was a growing concern for economic development and this strengthened interest in entrepreneurship with primary focus on exploring practical measures to augment the supply of entrepreneurs, i.e. persons with competence and aptitude to initiate, nurture and expand industrial enterprises. This resulted in the belief in education and training to inculcate and develop entrepreneurial capabilities in people so that they could set up their own enterprises. Subsequently programmes directed towards this goal were conceptualised.
The birth of training efforts for the promotion of entrepreneurship in the country was purely an indigenous initiative, i.e. the 'Technician Scheme' launched in the year 1969 by two state-level agencies of Gujarat. The scheme visualised 100% finance without collaterals. A large number of people took advantage of this scheme. The real gain of the scheme was the realization that there is vast entrepreneurial potential available in the country that could be tapped and developed through appropriate training intervention.
This led the Gujarat Industrial Investment Corporation (GIIC), along with other state-level agencies to conceptualise, mount and develop, in 1970, a 3-month long training programme known as Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP). However, with the number of programmes increasing, the need for having a separate state-level organisation to look into selection, training and development of first-generation entrepreneurs was strongly felt. Thus, the Gujarat Centre for Entrepreneurship (CED), the first of its kind in the country, came into existence in 1979 with the support of Government of Gujarat and the industrial promotion and assistance agencies in the state.
By this time, the success story of Gujarat experiment spread far and wide and the Ford Foundation encouraged the Gujarat team to test out EDP strategy in a few less developed states like Rajasthan, Assam, etc. Several development agencies in other parts of the country mounted their own EDPs and Gujarat CED provided professional support to a few of these. With increasing number of organisations seeking such support from Gujarat CED, it was felt necessary to set up a National Resource Organisation committed to entrepreneurship education, training and research.
The idea took a concrete shape when the Industrial Development Bank of India, the apex financial institution which had evinced keen interest in the Gujarat experiment joined hands with Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI), Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI), State Bank of India (SBI) and sponsored this national-level institution. The Government of Gujarat also expressed its willingness to support it. Thus the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI) came into existence in the year 1983.
Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India was set up as an autonomous body under the Societies Registration Act on April 20, 1983.