While India surges to become a USD 5 trillion economy by 2025, with over 67 million of its youth and working population in rural India and entrepreneurship emerging as a first choice, there is massive potential to contribute and benefit from this growing economy. Development Intelligence Unit in collaboration with Development Alternatives, has conducted a pan-India Survey ‘Insights into Rural Entrepreneurship’ covering 2,041 rural businesses and 1,906 young enterprise aspirants in the age group of 16-29 years to better understand some of the issues and opportunities for promotion of Own Account Enterprises, exploring young rural entrepreneurs’ attitudinal predispositions regarding entrepreneurship and their aspirations towards running their own businesses.
Enterprises in the micro category more often than not are unrecognised in the policy framework despite their significant contribution to the Indian economy due to the broad definition which overlooks the needs of nano-level enterprises in peri-urban and rural areas. MSMEs account for almost 30 percent of the overall GDP and are responsible for creating four out of five new jobs .
The culture of entrepreneurship in the country has grown over the years. The common understanding is that this has been reflected only in urban areas with start-ups emerging every other day, however, it is evident that the waves of entrepreneurship have evaded rural India as well. Today, the rural and peri-urban migrants are younger than ever; they are agile, aspirational, with higher school years, and with mobile and digital access. One of the most significant findings under the survey was the clear indication shown by youth to set up their own businesses.
These dynamic energies towards entrepreneurship have led to the emergence of an ecosystem of support that is responding to these growing aspirations. In this context, the Survey has shed some important highlights on the shifts in rural entrepreneurship. The key findings are as follows:
Entrepreneurial aspirations: 44% young adults aspire to become future entrepreneurs and run their own businesses. The interest was high among males (47%) as compared to females (38%)
Behavioral Shifts: Nearly 9 out of 10 rural businesses are first-generation enterprises demonstrating a growth in risk-taking appetite
Job Creation: Nearly half of the hiring takes place exclusively from within the same village while 20% of businesses have hired from outside of the village and 33% from both within and outside of the village.
Access to Support Services: Only 11% of the rural businesses had accessed any technology services, and 13.4% had accessed any marketing services.
Access to Finance: 40% of the businesses mentioned lack of financial support as a deterrent in growing their enterprise. 1 in 4 of the businesses sought marketing support and cited that this was negatively impacting their business. 1 in 6 wanted linkages to government schemes, thereby possibly addressing both their capital infusion needs as well as marketing support.
The survey report was formally released on 24 November, 2022 at JobsWeMake 2022, which was jointly hosted by Development Alternatives and “la Caixa” Foundation. Kanika Verma, Lead, Green and Inclusive Entrepreneurship and AVP, Development Alternatives Group spoke on the report “The survey has highlighted the brimming aspirations of youth towards entrepreneurship. Data from the survey reflects the emerging need to build supportive ecosystems that are cognizant of local opportunities. Very little is known on the way forward to build pathways and foster collaborations that can be the catalyst for the creation of millions of future-ready micro-enterprises that are the backbone of the Indian Economy. Such insights into rural entrepreneurship can prove to be the foundation to drive this vision.”
As the National Youth Policy document is being drafted, under which entrepreneurship is one of the eleven priority areas, the call for collaborative action stands strong and will be the keystone in paving the way for India to become udyaME India.
About Development Alternatives
Development Alternatives is the world’s first social enterprise dedicated to sustainable development. It’s a research and action organisation striving to deliver socially equitable, environmentally sound, and economically scalable development outcomes.
Inclusive entrepreneurship initiative of Development Alternatives aims to enable millions of ‘job seekers‘ to transition towards becoming ‘job makers‘ within their communities, thereby leading to enhanced social inclusion and sustainable economic growth. We employ social innovation and systems thinking principles and methodologies as the means to unleash energies, nurture constructive communities, and build robust local ecosystems. Such initiatives have been successfully put into practice through programmes such as the “la Caixa” Foundation supported Work4Progress Programme.
About Development Intelligence Unit
The Development Intelligence Unit (DIU) launched by Transform Rural India Foundation and Sambodhi brings data and expert analysis to the intersection of opportunity and deprivation in rural India. The DIU supports stakeholders who navigate the increasingly opaque, complex, and uncertain world of data to analyse social and economic developments, forecast trends, and better understand development programmes and practices. Doing so provides actionable insight to improve the efficacy and effectiveness of development initiatives.
DIU specialises in evidence-based insights that will create an impact for governments and on-profits. It has the expertise to develop data-driven solutions to public policy challenges based on robust evidence, expert insights, and data analysis. It is providing data, research, and tools to amplify issues in order to help rural India gain a voice, spark deeper conversation and help shape the future of India.
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