India today is considered to be one of the world’s largest breeding grounds for social businesses. These businesses seek to provide essential goods and services to the poor and the marginalized, while making a modest profit to sustain operations.
“The workshop delivered hands-on experience to nurture entrepreneurship skills in students and provided orientation on how to conceive an idea, shape it and arrive at an entrepreneurship plan,” stated N. Nagalingam, Assistant Professor, who coordinated the workshop.
Mr. Ulhas Kamat, Director, I Create India, a Bangalore-based training organization led several workshop sessions.
“A start up firm should give importance to calculating the right product price and maintaining proper accounts. It should understand how to estimate the market value of its product and how to attract consumers. Paying attention to the traditional seven P’s in marketing – product, price, place, promotion, packaging, positioning and people – will help businessmen survive and thrive,” he said.
Other topics covered included idea generation and execution, value chain analyis, women and businesses, conducting effective market research, the power of networking, balancing cash books and producing income statements.
Students learned what it would take to start small businesses such as those for making candles, handicrafts and soaps, so that tomorrow when they are out working in the community, they could impart this knowledge to appropriate beneficiaries.
“Social workers are the people who deal with the community and work for their empowerment. Furnishing oneself as a professional trainer on social entrepreneurship development will help in grass root community development,” Mr. Kamat stated.
The workshop culminated in training for preparing business plans. On the final day of workshop, participants were divided into five groups which were assigned the task of preparing a business plan each. Teams decided the name of the business, business idea, its logo and tagline, market plan, estimates for one-month profit and loss statement and market challenges.
“Having gone through this program, one can start a business without having to enroll for expensive management courses. In a country like India, it is essential to encourage people at the grass roots level to start businesses and make those sustainable,” commented MSW student Ravi Mohan, who attended.
June 6, 2012
Department of Social Work, Coimbatore