Around 58,887 rural entrepreneurs under Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP), a sub-scheme of Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India have been trained by Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) (EDII is designated as National Resource Organisation(NRO) for implementation of non-farm projects and currently associated with 15 State Rural Livelihood Mission (SRLM)) in multiple employment generating activities amid this pandemic. The objective of this programme is to help these micro-entrepreneurs and their family members to setup small enterprises in rural areas under non-farm sector.
In all 75 blocks, across 15 states India are being covered under the programme whose main objective is to promote micro entrepreneurs and crate an ecosystem in which these microentrepreneurs flourish and sustain in long run. The 4-year programme commenced implementation in the year 2016. Till date, 58887 people have been imparted training and 57184 microenterprises (including group enterprises) have been promoted under this program. 1034 Community Resource Person- Enterprise Promotion (CRP-EP) have been trained as Business Consultants at village level.
In the ongoing pandemic, the MSME sector has been the worst hit. Small businesses and the informal sector workforce have got significantly impacted as countries across the world have imposed lockdown or restrictions to contain the spread of the virus. However, some of these trained entrepreneurs when found out ways of earning out of it. Today, around 523 SVEP trained entrepreneurs have not only sustained their business but have adapted to the prevailing situation by diverting in to activities such as making masks, sanitisers, food delivery to the needy etc. in 32 blocks of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Telangana, Jammu Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and Haryana.
Explaining the rationale behind the project, Dr. Rajesh Gupta, Project Head, SVEP-EDII said, “Rural India is still largely agrarian and runs on informal sectors. Many such entrepreneurs there lack the means to scale-up a business and cushion of resources. This has a bearing on their prospects when times are tough and challenging. Hence, through the SVEP programme, we aim to instil the sense of resilience in them through hands on training and mentorship. I am glad to see that many of these rural entrepreneurs consulted their local EDII mentors, used their training and decided not to kneel before the situation. With support from the respective State Rural Livelihoods Missions and local administration, they were successful in divesting their businesses and regain it when the crisis hit. They are earning and learning in the process. In their training programs, they were trained to innovate and adapt to changing environment. Their actions in the present scenario prove that their training has been successful.”
Such a resolute mindset and a spirit of innovation in times of crisis are important for entrepreneurs especially micro-enterprise, who are resource constrained and even a small upheaval can uproot them. The current pandemic crisis in our country has sent across a lesson that it is highly important and advisable to invest in build capacities to create micro-enterprises.