Empowering Rural Learners through Entrepreneurship Development: Introducing Nano Grants

Smart Village Movement, April 30, 2023

The Salesforce Trailblazer Community Labs (TCLs) are open learning spaces situated in rural Meghalaya, India. Initiated under the Smart Village Movement program of Government of Meghalaya, the labs are co-designed by Sauramandala Foundation and Project Defy with support from Salesforce, Open Door Project, Hygge Energy, Tiny Owl and Curiosity Gym.

The TCLs offer learners the opportunity to choose what they want to learn, empowering rural communities to explore their interests in entrepreneurial ventures. The Nooks in the labs provide spaces for learners to set up small businesses, and selected learners receive a nano grant to kickstart their entrepreneurial journey. The Nano Grant Initiative is a partnership between Sauramandala Foundation and United Way Hyderabad.

Recently, six small businesses received a nano grant in two TCLs. The entrepreneurs were selected based on their skills and provided with financial and other support. The businesses completed their first learning cycle in various domains, such as jewellery making, woodworking, baking, fruit preservation, amigurumi knitting, and crochet knitting.

Business 1: Jewellery Making
Nano Grant Received: INR 19,000/-

Preety Nongrum, a jewellery maker from Sohrarim, used the grant to purchase raw materials and equipment for making handmade jewellery.

Business 2: Wood Working (Carpentry)

Nano Grant Received: INR 63,000/-

Banteilang Nongrum, a carpenter, used the grant to purchase machinery equipment for woodworking and set up an inventory and workshop in the vicinity of the TCL.

Business 3: Bakery

Nano Grant Received: INR 66,000/-

Daphilasiewdor Mawlong, Daplin Khongsit, and Kelty Syiemiong, who took up baking during their learning cycle, used the grant to purchase equipment and set up a workspace in a market area they had identified.

Business 4: Fruit Preservation (Jam Making)

Nano Grant Received: INR 22,000/-

Similarly, Nialty Rani, Tainisha Rani, and Raplin Sawkmie, who took up fruit preservation, used the grant to procure raw materials and develop their skills.

Business 5: Amigurumi Dolls

Nano Grant Received: INR 15,000/-

Sharilis Sawkmie used the grant to procure raw materials and equipment and set up an inventory to make amigurumi dolls and keychains.

Business 6: Crochet Knitting

Nano Grant Received: INR 15,000/-

Dimery Sawkmie and Kminrila Rani used the grant to develop their crochet knitting skills and sell their products.

Apart from the financial support that was given to the budding entrepreneurs, they were also assisted with other kinds of support through fellows from PRIME-Sauramandala Rural Entrepreneurship Fellowship, which included but were not limited to procurement of raw materials, registration/certification/licensing, market linkage, mechanisation, packaging and branding, curated exposure visits, training and capacity building, developing a business plan, keeping books of account training, having access to a repository list of experts and vendors, and marketing strategy.

The six businesses each had a representative selected to go for an exposure trip to the wholesale markets in Delhi, in the last week of March 2023. This trip enabled them to build rapport with wholesalers and get as much exposure and information as possible. They were also advised to buy or order the necessary raw materials as per their businesses during the trip. Upon their return, they would have made a contact list for their recurrent production materials.

These nano grants are a fantastic initiative, providing financial support and other assistance to rural communities, enabling them to develop their entrepreneurial skills and turn their ideas into businesses. The nano grants offer a way for communities to engage in self-designed and directed learning, setting up small businesses and building a brighter future for themselves and their communities.

Images and Information Source: Sauramandala Foundation

To learn more about Sauramandala Foundation visit: https://www.sauramandala.org/

To learn more about Smart Village Movement Initiatives, visit www.smartvillagemovement.org

About Smart Village Movement: The Smart Village Movement is a collaborative process facilitated by the SVM organization with the Berkeley-Haas Center of Growth Markets to create a Smart Village ecosystem. We partner with Government, Academia, Corporations, and Rural Communities to foster independence and sustainable rural development in Indian villages and other emerging markets. We aim to empower rural people through digital technologies and open innovation platforms to access global markets.