The concept of Entrepreneurship and the idea of an entrepreneur have been redefined under this Programme. Any individual/farmer who produces anything for the market is considered an entrepreneur. The primary objective of this approach is to bring about a fundamental change in the self image of the citizens. This would also help change the way growth and development is perceived by the citizens of the state. Enterprise Promotion is at the core of the IBDLP where farmers and growers (rechristened as partners and entrepreneurs) are encouraged to take up all economic activities in an enterprise mode - being market oriented and able to do a rudimentary cost benefit analysis. Considering that the tribal economies are non-monetized and have been operating at the subsistence level for hundreds of years, looking at economic activities as enterprises is a significant shift. Bringing about this shift entails making whole chain interventions starting with working on attitudes, building capacities to understand markets and pushing up the products to higher levels in the value chain.
Under the Programme, Entrepreneur’s are being nurtured at different levels of the Enterprise Pyramid and are being connected to each other so as to achieve enterprise led growth. Government is investing its time and resources in creating eco systems rather than actually delivering services that can be more efficiently dethvered by private local entrepreneurs
For instance, the traditional approach to doing Livestock development is to have departmental breeding farms, feed mills etc., to supply inputs and feed to the small farmers. Under the new approach, local private entrepreneurs are selected through a transparent process for the setting up of breeding units and feed mills. They are further thnked with the primary producers to ensure sustainable and efficient backward linkages. The government is facilitating all this by providing the framework for entrepreneurs to operate, by linking entrepreneurs with banks and through providing margin money/venture capital support to entrepreneurs at all levels. Considering that there are only a handful of private entrepreneurs who are currently running micro and small enterprises in the identified livelihood sectors, the MBDA has started a process of engagement with local contractors and entrepreneurs in other sectors (who have the capital and the risk taking capability) to encourage their diversification into agri-businesses. Dedicated Business Development Cells have been set up at Shillong and Tura to provide handholding support for this category of entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs, who are at the middle and top of the enterprise pyramid, will provide the backward and forward linkages to tiny and nana enterprises at the bottom of the pyramid. MBDA lirough its institutional framework is creating an eco-system for entrepreneurs at all levels to work together for mutual benefit.
Entrepreneurship Facilitation Centres (EFC) is a unique effort to create a single point of contact for the enterprising citizens of the community to meet their needs of information, selection of opportunities, technology and finance. EFCs through the BDU coordinate with the different agencies to facilitate the inception and growth of enterprises. The idea is to spread awareness and understanding of entrepreneurship in the rural areas and to create social acceptance of entrepreneurs with a hope that a new generation of people who will create jobs rather lian look for jobs will emerge from across the state.
EFC are being set up in all the 39 blocks of the state to act as a single window public interface agency under the Programme at the grass root level. Through the centres, opportunities for enterprise promotion have been universalised. The EFCs are modern and citizen friendly resource/ knowledge centres at the block level where any individual can walk in and get information and other support on building enterprises and improving livelihoods. The EFC model is an attempt at making delivery of development demand driven.
The EFCs are manned by two Enterprise Resource Persons (ERPs) and one Enterprise Support Person (ESP), (dedicated youth who have the passion to serve in rural areas who have been trained and deployed) who provide information and other facilitation support to the partners. What differentiates’ the EFC from the government department is the service delivery approach (as opposed to a scheme implementation approach) and the personal rapport that the ERPs build with the partners.
Raising the levels of aspirations of citizens in the rural areas and creating a sense of hope - this is done by showcasing local successes in enterprise building through the medium of short films and other IEC tools. Citizens for the first time are being made aware of the tremendous potential that the state holds and how individuals and groups (SHGs, Cooperatives etc.,) in the state have bettered their lives through persistence and perseverance.
Conducting a detailed need assessment of the Citizens/Partners - A detailed mapping of the current livelihood status of the partner and a need assessment of the interventions required by the partner to do better in his current economic activity or to diversify into a new economic activity is done for every partner who visits the EFC. This assessment is done through a one on one interaction between the ERP and the partners at the centres. A detailed Management Information System (MIS) to capture the information about the partners and a tool to calculate the Entrepreneurship Index of each partner based on Social, Economic and Psychological criteria have been devised. The ERPs have been thoroughly trained to conduct the need assessment in a very professional and businesslike manner.
Standard operating procedures have been developed for handling partners from the moment he/she enters the EFC. The Meghalaya Entrepreneur Portal is being developed and will have a comprehensive MIS to track the interventions and the results of the interventions provided to each partner.