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Start-up culture altering rural India for better

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By Surbhi Moudgil

Rural India has several issues that we keep reading about, seeing them on TV or learning from various sources. Some of them are in the areas of energy needs, sanitation, agriculture, drinking water, cleanliness etc. All these can be addressed through public as well as private endeavours.

The Government has made several policies and launched campaigns in this regard, however, it can only do it till an extent. Some entrepreneurs, along with those looking to start and enterprise in such areas, have taken this seriously to help out the rural population. This way, they are not only gaining the satisfaction of serving the society but they are earning money as well.

At present, India is seeing a surge in the ‘start-up culture’. The trend for entrepreneurship is on the rise in India. People are getting familiar with the economic rubrics of the country. However, entrepreneurship cannot be sustained in an unorganised environment, rather it needs a structured trajectory to succeed.

People are slowly shifting towards start-ups in the rural India as it is giving opportunities of colliding social development with employment. Rural entrepreneurship has its own pros and cons. Some of the issues that a budding entrepreneur can face in rural areas are electricity, team issues, language problems, investment etc.

Doing business in India might not be easy but the budding ‘start-up culture’ and, the government bringing in policies to foster them, are creating phenomenal opportunities for entrepreneurs.

However, these must not act as deterrents to those who want to make a change.

Rural entrepreneurship is expected to do value addition to the existing rural setup and engage a large number of human resources. Rural areas of India offer a lot of variety for social enterprise. From chemical to minerals, engineering and non-engineering, handicrafts and cottage industry, to sanitation, water and energy, the scope is unlimited and results could change the face of India.

Technology needs to be tweaked according to rural needs for providing what suits the rural consumer. There are entrepreneurs who are intercepting these nuances to create unique solutions for the villagers.

IKure Techsoft based in Kolkata sets up rural health centres where doctors are available through the week and pharmacists dispense only accredited medicines. Sujay Santra, the founder, got this idea when he realised that his relatives in a West Bengal village could not relate to his work at a US technology firm.

“I was not doing anything which would impact them directly,” he was quoted as saying to a newspaper.

On the other hand, Sasisekar Krish makes image and video processing products for agriculture and healthcare at his company nanoPix based in Karnataka. Farmers use this technology to categorise agriculture products like cashew by shape, size, colour and quality. The same technology also helps analyse blood smears to detect infectious diseases.

Another such start-up in the rural setup is Ignus which provides its students tablets for studying. It enables the students to connect with premium lecturers across India with the help of pre-recorded educational sessions. It supports those village students who cannot afford to migrate to cities or pay big money for coaching. Mervin Rosario, the founder of Ignus, said, “Students are now more enthusiastic and happy due to better quality and closer proximity of study centre.”

Such entrepreneurs are altering rural India for the better by investing into the initiatives that are bringing socio-economic change in the villages. These are not just money-making schemes for people, but genuine efforts towards decreasing the disparity in urban and rural India.

Doing business in India might not be easy but the budding ‘start-up culture’ and, the government’s upcoming policies to foster them are creating phenomenal opportunities for entrepreneurs. The people must take advantage of these opportunities. This will not only develop the rural region and population, but also add to the overall well being of the Indian economy and its youthful human resources.

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Important Tips to Follow if you wish to Expand Business Overseas

Want to spread your business overseas? Here is all you need to do for Spreading your business internationally.

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Tips to expand business overseas
Tips to expand business overseas. Flickr

One of the first things people notice when they branch out into doing business internationally is how big a role social norms play in business dealings. It’s the same in North America, but the contrast is much more jarring when dealing with a new country, new etiquette, and new expectations. Whether you are applying for financing from a lender or opening a new branch of your business overseas, it’s important to understand that how you conduct yourself can have a profound impact on the success (or failure) of your business. Here are a few general guidelines to help you conduct business in a variety of regions around the world.

In Asian boardrooms, meeting participants will typically be arranged by seniority. This is also the order in which they should be greeted, and the order in which you should pass out your business cards. This is a sign of respect. Speaking of business cards, be prepared to hand out many more in Asia than you would in North America. There is a ceremony around exchanging business cards in countries such as Japan. Be sure to invest in a business card case, as it is seen as rude and inappropriate to keep them in your wallet or pocket.

In some Middle Eastern countries, note that it is quite normal for a male client or colleague to grasp another man’s hand while walking together. Although this may seem unusual to North American sensibilities, it’s considered a sign of trust in some parts of the world.

It’s also a good idea to bear in mind that questions that may be perceived in North America as being simple small talk may actually consider quite rude and intrusive in some countries, such as questions about marital status, children, age, etc. In professional situations, it’s always best to err on the side of being too impersonal rather than to risk being considered nosey.

Gift-giving in a business setting is complicated in some cultures. In some cases, for example, it is considered improper to open a gift in front of the giver, so be aware of that if you are presented with a gift.

Manners are a very big point of difference among different cultures. For example, it is perfectly acceptable and actually expected, that diners will eat a sandwich with a knife and fork. Similarly, belching and slurping one’s food is considered rude in some cultures, but quite acceptable in others. It is considered socially unacceptable in countries such as Japan to be seen blowing one’s nose in public.

When it comes to professional attire, you can never go wrong erring on the side of conservative, no matter where you are in the world. Women should take special care to dress more modestly, as it can be a serious culture misstep to dress too revealingly.

When you do business with other countries, it’s important to know the business and legal issues that may arise, but never forget that business is, as the heart of things, a people-first endeavor. The more you can be aware of and respectful of the social expectations, manners, and etiquette in the region in which you are doing business, the more professional you will be perceived. And that can go a long way toward helping you to solidify meaningful business connections around the world. If you aren’t sure how to act or what to do, always educate yourself before you arrive. Not only do you not want to look foolish, you also don’t want to be insulting. There are lots of resources online and in books to help you navigate these challenging waters.

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Stephen Hawking believes Technology could end Poverty and Disease, says Artificial Intelligence could be the Worst or Best things for Humanity

Hawking said everyone has a role to play in making sure that this generation and the next are fully engaged with the study of science at an early level to create “a better world for the whole human race.”

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Stephen Hawking
Cosmologist Stephen Hawking delivers a video message during the inauguration of Web Summit, Europe's biggest tech conference, in Lisbon, Portugal, Nov. 6, 2017. (VOA)

Lisbon, November 7, 2017 : Technology can hopefully reverse some of the harm caused to the planet by industrialization and help end disease and poverty, but artificial intelligence (AI) needs to be controlled, physicist Stephen Hawking said on Monday.

Hawking, a British cosmologist who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease aged 21, said technology could transform every aspect of life but cautioned that artificial intelligence poses new challenges.

He said artificial intelligence and robots are already threatening millions of jobs — but this new revolution could be used to help society and for the good of the world such as alleviating poverty and disease.

“The rise of AI could be the worst or the best thing that has happened for humanity,” Stephen Hawking said via telepresence at opening night of the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon that is attended by about 60,000 people.

“We simply need to be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management and prepare for its consequences well in advance.”

Hawking’s comments come during an escalating debate about the pro and cons of artificial intelligence, a term used to describe machines with a computer code that learns as it goes.

ALSO READ Humanity’s days are numbered, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will cause mass extinction, warns Stephen Hawking

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk, who is chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Inc and rocket company SpaceX, has warned that AI is a threat to humankind’s existence.

But Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, in a rare interview recently, told the WSJ Magazine that there was nothing to panic about.

Stephen Hawking said everyone has a role to play in making sure that this generation and the next are fully engaged with the study of science at an early level to create “a better world for the whole human race.”

ALSO READ Indian Origin Scientist Part of the team that Developed Nanotechnology-based Test that quickly Detects Zika Virus

“We need to take learning beyond a theoretical discussion of how AI should be, and take action to make sure we plan for how it can be,” said Stephen Hawking, who communicates via a cheek muscle linked to a sensor and computerized voice system.

“You all have the potential to push the boundaries of what is accepted, or expected, and to think big. We stand on the threshold of a brave new world. It is an exciting — if precarious — place to be and you are the pioneers,” he said. (VOA)

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Northeast is Fast Emerging as the new Start-up Destination, Says Minister Jitendra Singh

Due to improvement in connectivity and transport facility in the last two years, coupled with concentrated administrative focus, more and more youngsters are now heading towards the northeastern states to venture into entrepreneurship

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Union Minister of State for Development of the North Eastern Region Jitendra Singh. Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 16, 2017 : Union Minister of State for Development of the North Eastern Region (DoNER) Jitendra Singh claimed that the area was fast emerging as the new start-up destination for youngsters from all over India, an official statement on Monday.

Due to improvement in connectivity and transport facility in the last two years, coupled with concentrated administrative focus, more and more youngsters are now heading towards the northeastern states to venture into entrepreneurship and take advantage of its unexplored potential, he said, according to a DoNER Ministry statement.

Citing an example, he said in certain areas of Northeast, including states like Arunachal Pradesh, “while almost 40 per cent of the fruit goes waste on account of lack of adequate storage and transport facilities, the same can be used to produce and manufacture fresh and pure fruit juice at a much more cost-effective price”.

ALSO READ Over 4,000 km of roads, highways to be constructed in northeast

During an interaction with youngsters, Jitendra Singh also pointed out that many new airports coming up at Pakyong (Sikkim), Itanagar and Shillong, which along with a time-bound plan to lay broad-gauge rail track, would bring in further ease of doing business.

“Another sector of entrepreneurship which is fast emerging in Northeast is the medical and healthcare sector.

“For years, there has been a trend for patients to shift outside the region, mostly to Kolkata or Vellore, but the encouragement given to the private corporate sector has now resulted in the opening of new hospitals within the region itself and young entrepreneurs are taking the lead,” he said. (IANS)