CEP’s vision is to “Mould Entrepreneurs for the Indian economy.”The mission of Naipunnya Business School to equip students with management skills so that they may function efficiently and effectively by integrating academic excellence and involvement in wider societal concerns. Thus the purpose of the Community Entrepreneurship Program of NBS is to develop entrepreneurs outside the campus and grow business ventures. Thus the team of faculty and students within NBS, recognizes an opportunity to train the community in social entrepreneurship so that  they develop, and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues at the same time contribute to the development of the country’s economy.

Objectives of Community Entrepreneurship Program:  

  • To equip local entrepreneurs with business training.

  • To create a peer-to-peer learning

  • To create networks for marketing products

  • To reduce underemployment, poverty, and social problems

  • To drive societal transformations and empower the marginalized.

  • To contribute to the greater economic development of the country

  • To contribute to research and development

The outcome of the CEP is four fold. While the individual develops into an entrepreneur, he/she develops a network through which products are sold and raw materials are collected. There is reduced unemployment and is able to contribute to the alleviation of poverty which indirectly reduces social problems within the community. The entrepreneur is  empowered to take up the leadership role and to stand up for elections in the panchayat thereby has a wider role in creating a transformation in the community. The community also learns that it is a part of the wider society and contributes to the economy by way of taxes as well as employment for the unemployed.

Challenging issues addressed:

India is undergoing a radical change as far as the economy is concerned. We are poised to become a 5 trillion economy in days to come. Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog, says that “the economy needs to grow (at) 8%-plus year after year, nearly double from its current $2.9 trillion”(Economic Times, 2020).  Moreover, India’s unemployment rate had a three-year-high of 8.4 per cent in August 2019, according to a report released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). So in order to boost India to a USD5 trillion economy by 2024, we need to have numerous plans to create jobs and boost the economy in the country.  Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India is one of the largest sectors in the world, after China.  So it is essential to strengthening the MSME ecosystem. MSME sector currently generates employment for around 111 million people and manufactures more than 7500 products.  It also contributes to 29 per cent to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and has the potential to create 10 million new jobs over the next four to five years.  Other than that, we can also create a social platform for these entrepreneurs to improve social activities and strengthen its members’ social bondage.  Once they start experiencing success, it will lead to economic and political empowerment along with an improvement in their leadership skills and decision making capacity as well as health awareness, needs and utilization of healthcare services. These savings can help alleviate poverty and decrease social evils in society.

CEP practice and its uniqueness in the context of India higher education: 

CEP is a unique program for our budding business managers. The program gives them an opportunity to interact with entrepreneurs thereby improving their overall skill development. Students are able to learn the methods of entrepreneurship hands-on as well as give guidance and get guidance. Moreover, this program will offer them an opportunity to understand social entrepreneurship and its role in developing the community. The program has enabled them to connect with various entrepreneurs and as they conduct and organize training programs, they learn the nuances of Entrepreneurships. Students also learn the art of writing business plans and are able to present it in competitions and win prizes. Interactions with existing entrepreneurs help them to understand the scope of various businesses and this will help them to choose entrepreneurship as a career. NBS has been able to win prizes in business plan competitions and also able to create entrepreneurs among students. Moreover as they interact with community leaders, they are able to understand the power dynamics prevailing in the community.  Students also receive training on different product manufacturing and are skilled to choose careers in entrepreneurship after their studies.

However, there are problems too. The first issue that is found is the lack of funding agencies or banks to fund their project as many of them do not feel that these students cannot run the projects. Here , the college supports the students through introducing to venture capitalists, and bankers that they are able to create confidence in them.

The students role in community programs has connected them to local entrepreneurs in relationships that are mutually beneficial thereby contributing to local economic development.  The program also allows  students to put their knowledge and skills into action in practical, unstructured and creative capacities. This activity has not only turned students into entrepreneurs, but also change agents for their community, and helped them to develop skills that are useful in many areas of their professional and personal lives.

Problems Encountered:    Other than funding the other biggest problem was the management of people since the community has many social issues and it was difficult for students to create a good relationship with different stakeholders in the community. There was an interwoven relationship of political, social and religious groups existing in the community along with other social networks and it was difficult to organize people for the program. Initially trust was created among the different groups through regular meetings and later, students embarked on creating leadership in the groups. Once this was created, students were able to conduct training programs. However, the promises given by community leaders were not kept always and students had a tough time to instill trust in the community leaders as well. However, when they understood that the students were reliable, they started attending meetings and training.

Evidence of Success:  

  1. NBS conducted a conference on Entrepreneurship

  2. NBS was able to bag the best Business plan contest award from Thrissur Management Association in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

  3. NBS was able to conduct training to several groups during this period.

  4. Students were able to interact with various entrepreneurs.

  5. Student entrepreneurship like Friday market, Pet care management, fish cultivation, live stock development programs have been initiated in the campus.

  6. Students were able to conduct fairs during Keraleeyam, and food stalls during management fests.

  7. Development of overall vibrant students who are able to survive in the competitive job market-Improved placements.

  8. Students were able to start entrepreneurships on their own.

  9. Students were able to learn online certifications required for their businesses.

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