Be! an Entrepreneur is a multi media project to inspire millions of young people from low income groups to choose to become entrepreneur's to create businesses that solve the social, economic and environmental problems they face in their lives. Be! is created by Going to School, a non profit media trust in New Delhi. Be!
To create Be! we are mapping the Entrepreneurial skills that children and adult Entrepreneurs use in their everyday lives, as well searching for sustainable business solutions that can be pioneered by young people from low income groups. Be! will be 50 books, 30 part radio series and 13 epic movies.
OUR MISSION 1. To find Be! Business models: economic solutions to social problems 2. To inspire millions of young people from low-income groups to choose to become entrepreneurs and to create businesses that solve the social, economic and environmental problems they face in their lives. 3. To invest in young people’s business ideas (submitted as a result of the media initiative) to make their ideas a reality. HOW WE WILL ACHIEVE IT 1. Research in two parts: a. India-wide social enterprise/business model search; b. mapping of entrepreneurial skills of children and entrepreneurs from low-income groups. 2. Mass media: Be! is a large-scale multi-media project: 50 - 100 books, 13 epic films and a 30 - part radio series. 3. Entrepreneurial fund: Be! comes full circle with a linked Fund* to invest in new business ideas for social change submitted by young people as result of the media. Be! an Entrepreneur 6 Be! Businesses score high on both social + economic returns *Be! investments will be made in young people once they have completed their education and are at least 18 years old.
1.Bringing together a strong, eclectic, multi-talented team of 15 individuals to work with GTS for Be! 2.Funding partners for Be! commit – Nike Foundation, ICICI, and very soon, LGT Venture Philanthropy for the media research + first investment in the Be! fund 3.Be! fund model defined, financial model confirmed, work begins to set up the entity in India in partnership with Intellecap with a goal to raise US$2 million to invest in 75 young entrepreneurs and their businesses for social change Be! Progress to date…
4.Research with 110 children through workshops and interviews in 5 sites across three states i.e. New Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan Research for entrepreneurial models across 5 states, 9 models found, 6 Nike partners visited 6.Invitation from Ministry of Youth Affairs (Government of India), to see if Be! books/movies/radio can be used with their youth groups that directly work with 75,000 young people age 10-16 in rural + urban areas 7.Financial plan for Be! for three years including Be! fund investments Be! Progress to date…
Key learnings… a.Research agencies unable to match Be! goal of mapping entrepreneurial traits that children use in their everyday lives. “Entrepreneurial traits” too abstract for agencies to be able to comprehend or create new tools of enquiry for. We learned: the GTS team is best able to conduct the research with children through interviews and workshops, as the GTS team understands entrepreneurship and it’s application to media creation.
Key learnings… b.Be! fund’s challenge was to show that young people from low income groups and their businesses for social change are worth investing in. We were told it was too high risk. That it had never been done before. That it did not make economic sense. That these young people should only be given grants. Be! fund’s innovation is to make ‘investments in young people’ that have demands of social and economic returns, and are treated on par with other financial investments. We learned that while people talk about investing in social ventures, the end goal is purely economic returns, and social impact is never measured beyond ‘creating livelihoods, jobs and income generation’. So Be! businesses therefore have to DIRECTLY solve a social problem.
Key learnings… c.We realized once again, that structural poverty (caste roles determined through centuries) plays a crucial role in limiting the opportunities of young people, so when we talk about ‘opportunities to become an entrepreneur’ we have to look at every model through the prism of caste.
Key learnings… d.We learned that many of the models that we were exploring could not be pioneered by young people from low-income groups for several reasons. Perhaps they needed too high of an initial investment, or when you think of replicating the model, starting from the beginning, the ONLY option for someone from a low income group to be a part of this model was as a salesperson i.e. selling a solar lamp. We learned that Be! business models should be based on lower investments so that they can be replicated, and taken to scale.
Key learnings… e.Sometimes social investments/models are not 360 degree solutions – they are not holistic in their social aim – for instance, in one case we of water purification there was more waste water generated than water purified, other businesses that are supposed to improve the lives of ‘rag- pickers’ did not, they continued to work in hazardous conditions at the mercy of contractors and low wages.
f. Extended Project Timeline As we have begun Be! we have realized that we do need an extended timeline to make the project as wonderful and complete as it can be. We know that our media will be seen for the next 5 years in India in many ways – on TV networks, in Government Schools and heard on radio channels, and it is for these reasons (reach and longevity) that we have planned an additional 12 months to make the media perfect, and start the Be! fund and how it will invest. Key learnings…
g. New research, new spaces: Simply the research on the entrepreneurial skills that children in India have, and use in their everyday lives, is revolutionary, and we know that over 500 interviews with children will be it’s own invaluable resource, both for showing the Government the skills that girls and boys already have, and building on what on what we discover, what new investments should be made in young people. The online database will be a vital resource for understanding children in India (both girls and boys), their potential, values, restrictions and skills. And so because a research agency could not do this, we find ourselves in a wonderful space exploring what has never been explored before in India – but with an extended time line for our team to be able to make this project come true. Key learnings…
50% of investments will be in young women entrepreneurs + their businesses for social change Please find enclosed a memo for the Be! fund, and how it will make investments of US$5,000 – US$30,000 in young people from low-income groups and their businesses for social change. 50% of these investments would be made in young women. Be! fund is a very important part of the Be! project – as the mass media would drive millions of young people to the potential of the fund. And, the Be! fund makes the messages of the media, real, and possible. It fills a giant gap in India, of making investments of small amounts in young people from low-income groups for businesses for social change. What’s new: Be! Fund
To date, young people would only ever have been able to receive micro-finance loans – and the restrictions of caste and class mean that young people from low-income groups would never receive such investments due to discrimination, and a perception of high risk. Be! fund provides a new opportunity to 75 young people across India, as well as positively investing in young women. And perhaps what is most exciting, is that after the investments are made, we would make small videos about each investment, so young people across India know that they too, can become entrepreneurs and change their lives. What’s new: Be! Fund continued
Content Highlights 01a Interviews with Adult Entrepreneurs from low income groups. Quotes that exemplify entrepreneurial skills. Entrepreneurs
On Failure... Failure simply means you have to try again. Someone has to win, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be you next time. Jigar, Young Innovator, Ahmedabad, Gujarat Adult entrepreneurs
One has to learn how to deal with people. That’s a key thing. Especially in a business like mine there is a lot of value that is placed on relationships. So one has to learn how to talk people. One has to learn how to read people. Apart from that one has to learn to be aware of all that’s happening that can affect the business. For instance I have to keep a close eye on the stock market in order to know what the prices of various things are on the market. One has to be constantly alert and try and get information from wherever one can. Santosh Kumar, Waste Segregating and recycling unit, Delhi Maintaining relationships & foresight... Adult entrepreneurs
It is the intention that is important. It is important to remember that the intention is to make social change and not make profits. Once it is clear that the priority is to make social change it is acceptable to make a nominal profit; a remuneration for your services. Deepinder Mohan, Reverse Osmosis water purification business, Ahmedabad, Gujarat Intention of a social entrepreneur... Adult entrepreneurs
In the beginning it was difficult. The bills for rent, electricity and salaries kept piling up. I had only four students. My confidence levels were low. But I decided to take it step by step and not give up this time. Anita Sharma, Computer Kiosk, Shipachar, Assam Challenges & perseverance... Adult entrepreneurs
It wasn’t so easy in the beginning. I was laughed at for the contraption I was building. To avoid all the teasing I carried the prototype in to the field in the middle of the night. Me and my family even lied to all the villagers – this is just our new scarecrow, nothing else fearing more ridicule from the village if it didn’t work. But fortunately it did and then there was no stopping the constant praise and appreciation from the villagers. Mehtar Hussain, Wind mill innovator and entrepreneur, Darrang District, Assam Earning respect from the community... Adult entrepreneurs
I tried many times but was not granted a loan. I had requested a loan for rupees 100,000 but was constantly turned down by the bank. They asked me to provide documents that I didn’t have and asked me to deposit rupees 50,000 against the loan. If I could have put together that much money why would I have asked the bank for a loan. Eventually I just gave up on the bank loan and decided to work and save in little increments. It took me a long to save but I was persistent and eventually I reached the goal amount.” Milan Jyoti Das, Egg incubator innovator and entrepreneur, Kamrup District, Assam Perseverance to overcome lack of finances... Adult entrepreneurs
Seeing humanity in others... It’s inhuman that the drivers and helpers don’t have a place to sleep and wash. I have rented a room at the first pick up point where they can rest. Ramesh Kumar, Milk Truck Business, Chitradurga, Karnataka Adult entrepreneurs
Content Highlights 01b Three examples of business models for social change. Business models
Content Highlights 03 Interviews with children from low income groups. Quotes that exemplify entrepreneurial skills. Children …
I feel sad when I get an opportunity to work because I will have to go out for work/training and I don’t know if I will get permission. NSGG, Tuglakabad On receiving an opportunity... Children
“I do dihaadi work all the time, meaning daily wage labour outside a temple one day, sometimes I sell flowers, or vessels, I buy clothes in bulk and sell those, and sometimes I sell shoes and slippers. I can earn more money per day – but what’s the use, there is much of it getting stolen at night. So I earn only what I can spend each day. ” Rakesh, Salam Balak, New Delhi On security & savings... Children
We can’t go anywhere. We just stay at home and work in the field. We don’t know anything about what is happening outside. How will we talk to anyone if we don’t know anything. Shahista, Non-School Going Girl, Mirzapur Children Barriers for girls...
We have to get water from far away. Papa gets late for work because he has to go far to get water and the road is not good. At times we are not able to go to school because there is no water. In some houses there are only women, it is difficult for them to do house work and also go out and get water. Rajni, School going girl, Tughlakabad, New Delhi Children Problems - infrastructure...
We would make friends only with those who go to school and those who are clean. Those who don’t go to school are not clean. Aashiq, School Going Boy, Mirzapur, Rajasthan Children Problems - New forms of discrimination...
We live in a village and we get the support of the community, when we need anything people help us. Neha, School going girl, Goyla, Haryana Supporters in children’s lives... Children
If I can speak English then I can talk to everyone. I can listen and share ideas with the ‘big’ people; we will be on the same plain. Tamanna, School Going Girl, Gole Kuan, New Delhi Children English - enabling equality...