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ICT & Rural Entrepreneurship
 
   In keeping with its mandate to empower rural and marginalized communities through ICT with the purpose of enabling them to integrate with the mainstream economy, TARAhaat's latest venture - ICT enabled Enterprise Development and Support Services- is an exciting step forward. It focuses on providing entrepreneurship opportunities to youth, women and self-help groups through the rapidly expanding network of TARAkendras, TARAhaat's rural business-cum-community centers. When ready, the Enterprise Development Support and Service (EDSS) will add a critical dimension to the scope of services provided by TARAhaat, or indeed any experiment in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enabled services for rural India!
To meet the most important and widespread need in rural India - Jobs, the next generation of services under development focuses on the promotion of micro and small enterprises through a unique, comprehensive Enterprise Development and Support Programme.

What is this new venture all about?

The EDSS is an innovative experiment in addressing a critical need in rural India employment. Micro and mini enterprises can be a driving force for the rural economy, seen as key to addressing the 15 million new jobs needed every year in India. Small and local enterprises together account for the largest number of jobs in the country and have shown the positive impact that they can have on individuals and communities. The service is also in line with the Government of India focus on rural enterprise and addresses the broader objective of the Eighth Millennium Development Goal that calls for cooperation with the private sector to address youth unemployment and make available to all the benefits of new technologies. The proposed service will be a comprehensive package comprising an Enterprise Package for technical training and financial linkages, an Entrepreneurship Development Programme for understanding business set-up, planning and management and a web-based Business Support System for on-going support. A network of local consultants is also being developed as an integral part of the venture.
Will ICT Work?

For India’s tremendous employment needs, a sustainable model that can be scaled to a macro level and replicated nation-wide is imperative. ICT has the potential to overcome some of the possible challenges this poses as it substantially enhances the delivery of services at much lower cost than current resource intensive solutions. It provides the key to developing holistic engines that deliver complete solutions to potential entrepreneurs located in the large, diverse and highly dispersed geographical canvas that is rural India, cost effectively.

The EDS process flow

 

To sum up, ICT forms the backbone of the EDS process flow (illustrated in figure) as it delivers the following benefits:
  • consistent quality of delivery
  • Offers rich learner-centric audio-video and interactive content
  • Encourages self-paced learning
  • Makes services accessible and affordable in remote villages and towns
  • Reduces dramatically the cost of delivering services
  • Makes marketing of local products and services easier through easy communication 
    • Access to information
    • Advertising
    • E-commerce
  • Replicates using modular and generic structures and tools
  • Scales to larger audiences
Sporadic initiatives across the country have shown the potential of ICT as an effective tool. Our own efforts at TARAhaat have been very encouraging and give us the confidence to go forward with this ambitious plan with ground-breaking potential.

Portfolio of Enterprise Development Services
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