KSRM organised 3rd National Rural Management Symposium on ‘Rural Entrepreneurship and Enterprise for Inclusive Growth’ in Bhubaneswar. The event provided a common platform to rural entrepreneurs, academia and students, to put the rural entrepreneurship to the next level of growth. Mohd Mustaquim Reports
With the aim to promote entrepreneurship in rural India, KIIT School of Rural Management (KSRM) organised 3rd National Rural Management Symposium on ‘Rural Entrepreneurship and Enterprise for Inclusive Growth’. The event was held on 20-22 November, 2014, at KIIT University, Bhubaneswar.
Commenting on the objective of the symposium, Dr. LK Vaswani, Director, KSRM, said, “Promoting rural entrepreneurship and enterprise will be the game changer to bring rural poor into the mainstream economy.”
In the memory of the father of White Revolution, Dr. Verghese Kurien, the symposium was flagged off by the ‘Dr. Verghese Kurien Foundation Day Lecture’ on second level institutions for inclusive and sustainable growth in rural India.
The chief guest of the lecture, Dr. SS Meenakshisundaram, Vice Chairman, Mysore Rehabilitation and Development Agency (MYRADA) and visiting professor at National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, said, “Rural management institutions have a significant role to play, not only in producing young graduates to take up rural development as their preferred profession but also in identifying solutions to specific issues that come in the way of improving the living conditions in rural India.”
The foundation lecture was followed by two day symposium. The event was addressed by the academicians of various leading institutes such as Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA); XLRI – Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur; IIT Bombay; IIT Delhi; IIT Kharagpur; IIM Lucknow; IIM Kozhikode; Development Management Institute, Patna (DMI); National Livelihoods Resource Institute (NLRI), Ratlam; representatives of various research and development organisations and many rural entrepreneurs.
Read the views of Dr. LK Vaswani, Director KSRM about the event: www.ruralmarketing.in/interview/education/we-foster-rural-entrepreneurship-through-education
Defining the rural enterprises, Gautam Pradhan, Executive Director, Harsha Trust, said, “A rural enterprise should have rural content, involvement of rural people, rural resources and minimum foreign funds. It should also be a micro enterprise. A TV manufacturing unit set up in rural areas can’t be called rural enterprise.”
He further said, “About 75 percent people in rural India start business by investing their own money as they don’t have access to credit. They are surviving by their own struggle, not by the support of any government or corporate sector.”
Highlighting the role of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in rural employment generation, Dr. Sanjay Singh, Scientist at Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), said, “Out of 4.6 crore MSMEs 55 percent are located in rural areas, providing employment to about 10 crore people.”
Environmental issues, however, took a backseat in the discussions. Lamenting on the project developers, Prabhjot Sodhi, Programme Director, Centre for Environment Education, stated, “In all the presentations here nothing is being talked about environment. If you are setting up an enterprise, there must be environmental indicators in your project.” He further suggested that organic farming can be good for ecological balance and environment and termed it as ‘environmental farming’.
Echoing similar views, renowned environmentalist Dr. Anil Prakash Joshi, who is heading Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation, said, “Ecology and environment must be an integral part of any project. The corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals must integrate environmental concerns into their programmes.” He further stressed on water conservation and sustainable agriculture practices.
The symposium was followed by the students’ Rural Entrepreneurship Conclave ‘Sangati’. The conclave focused on the promotion and influx of innovative ideas into the domain of rural entrepreneurship development.
Sanjay Panigrahi, CEO, Sahaj e-Village discussed the challenges faced by rural entrepreneurs. He said, “Lack of funding and frequent changes in government policies are the major roadblocks in setting up rural enterprises.”
Talking about the opportunities in rural areas, he added, “The huge and under-served rural market offers significant opportunities for the entrepreneurs. More interestingly, the government’s rural expenditure is growing at a CAGR of 12 percent – which has opened great opportunities to establish enterprises in these areas.”
The symposium cum students’ conclave brought together the ideas from rural entrepreneurs and students across the country. It also provided them a common platform to discuss and learn from others’ innovations.