Youth drain from rural areas to metro cities has been a given, but now things are changing
With digital technology and internet coverage, educational institutions, state authorities in many states, and private entities have come up with facilities to turn things around.
From sustainable agriculture to farm-to-fork supply chains, and almost everything in-between, the opportunities are endless for the Indian rural entrepreneurs
India has one of the largest rural populations in the world, and the country is still an agriculture-dominated economy. However, the lack of development and adequate employment opportunities in the rural areas has so far kept the vast countryside under-developed and devoid of adequate economic opportunities.
Youth drain from rural areas to metro cities has been a given, but now things are changing. In the last one decade, a few developments have taken place which are now proving to be instrumental in bringing about economic growth and social development in the rural belt.
These are as follows:
- Internet Coverage: Today, almost every nook and corner of India is covered by internet and mobile phone access. Whether you are in a Himalayan village or a small town on a nondescript coastal road, you are most likely going to find connectivity. This has brought the country together and driven awareness about lifestyle challenges, changes, needs and opportunities. People are becoming increasingly aware of how things should be, and demanding solutions for their needs.
- Entrepreneurial Revolution: Indians have traditionally learned to be in the services category. A child is expected to get education, and then a well-paying job. However, millennials and Generation Z no longer agree with this phenomenon. The Government of India launched the ‘Startup India Mission’ with an aim to promote entrepreneurship and domestic self-sufficiency. With over 100 unicorns in less than a decade, the initiative has surely been a success.
- The Rise Of Rural Businesses Today, there are DPIIT-registered startups in almost every state and UT of India, and in most of the rural districts as well. Educated and aspirational youngsters are using their understanding of local needs and challenges as well as technological know-how to create affordable, impactful, and scalable solutions.
Predominantly founded and run by local entrepreneurs, India’s rural businesses are achieving sustainable growth that generates revenue alongside solving routine problems for the rural communities they operate in, across all sectors.
In most rural regions, there are still challenges which make access to quality goods and services difficult. We are witnessing a surge in rural entrepreneurship focusing on overcoming such regional challenges, and creating solutions that can be deployed elsewhere in the country where similar problems are faced.
Rural Empowerment And Job Creation
The evolution of the rural entrepreneurship ecosystem is not only creating economic growth for the business founders but also preventing rural migration. With digital technology and internet coverage, educational institutions, state authorities in many states, and private entities have come up with facilities to turn things around.
Startup incubators, innovation labs, scholarships, funding support, and access to tools, technologies as well as online coaching are elements driving up entrepreneurship in the rural areas. A steady change is being ushered in where the rural youth can find adequate opportunities for employment generation and economic empowerment for themselves as well as others in their communities.
The reason that makes these rural entrepreneurs so impactful is the fact that they do not just aspire to make money or create jobs, but are also primarily motivated by the vision of solving challenges they themselves faced or have seen others in their communities and regions face.
Whether it is about using tech to resolve transportation challenges, forging cooperatives to transform milk retail or usage of tech and local know-how to transform agricultural output, rural entrepreneurs are now contributing in most areas.
Government sector enterprises such as the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), and the Rural Innovation Fund (RIF), are some of the key institutions that provide funding as well as mentoring to rural entrepreneurs now.
The Government of India has introduced the e-NAM platform (National Agriculture Market) which is an online marketplace enabling farmers to directly sell their produce to buyers in any part of the country without any intermediaries.
In many places, educators, entrepreneurs, industry experts, government organizations, and startup founders have come together to create rural incubators to facilitate entrepreneurship in smaller towns and rural areas.
In conclusion, lack of know-how and financial support have been the two major roadblocks for rural entrepreneurs in the past. Today, the rise of an internet-based economy and access to information as well as business guidance through digital means, has created a level playing field for businesses from the hinterland.
From sustainable agriculture to farm-to-fork supply chains, and almost everything in-between, the opportunities are endless for Indian rural entrepreneurs and they are set to transform the economic landscape of India in the years ahead!