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Visa on Monday announced the recipients of its grant programme in India to boost women entrepreneurship globally and empower budding businesswomen.
As part of Visa’s first global grant programme in partnership with IFundWomen, Bunko Junko, My Chapter One and MoWo Social Initiatives each received a Rs 7,00,000 grant from Visa and resources from Instamojo to grow their businesses digitally, in a continued effort to offer better services to their communities.
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“Access to funding, educational resources and a digital presence are fundamental building blocks that will help small businesses get back to not only surviving, but thriving,” Kevin Phalen, global head of business solutions, Visa, said in a statement.
“We are proud to provide businesses around the globe with the capital and educational resources they need to achieve their goals,” Phalen added. Women-owned enterprises in India have grown from 14 per cent to 20 per cent in the past decade and employ between 22 to 27 million people.
Highlighting this growth, Visa received applications from hundreds of businesses across the country in sectors including apparel and fashion, healthcare and wellness, food and beverages and art and events.
The company evaluated 16 semi-finalists by a jury panel comprising senior leaders across Visa, FICCI FLO (FICCI Ladies’ Organization) and Instamojo. The final winners were selected based on the count of jury votes.
In addition to the grants, Instamojo, the digitization partner, is providing the winners with tools and resources to help build their digital presence. (IANS)
An elegant heritage building here is playing host to 33 beggars these days, who are picking life skills thanks to an innovative Rajasthan government initiative.
The ambitious project started by RSLDC in association with Sopan society is imparting new skills to these beggars who were living on the streets till now.
Says Neeraj K Pawan, Secretary (Labour, Employment, Skill, Entrepreneurship and ESI), Rajasthan Government, “Initially, we’ve organised a 15-day counselling session for these destitutes. After counselling, we shall start a 3-month training programme for them to ensure that the hands which were once used to beg will now be working to earn a dignified livelihood,” he added
“We have already tied with Akshaya Patra, an NGO, for their placement. We are continuing with our first and second batch and shall start our next batch after three months. Due to Covid, we have kept the numbers minimum,” he added.
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Initially, with the help of the police commissionerate, the Rajasthan government carried out a survey to know about the educational qualifications and interest of these beggars. “We have made arrangements for their jobs too. Most of these people are aged around 30 and shall be trained as electricians, guards, beauticians and cooks. The Akshay Patra Foundation is ready to give them jobs too. We shall set an example for the world by rehabilitating these beggars and bringing them to mainstream,” said RK Jain, Deputy General Manager, RSLDC.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO which strives to eliminate classroom hunger by implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in government schools and government-aided schools. Meanwhile, the building playing host to the beggars opens into a beautifully curated lawn where they perform yoga in the morning. The steps take you to classrooms where the beggars are now pursuing their education.
Donning clean uniforms, these disciplined students told IANS they were happy to be learning new skills to earn and shall return home once they have a decent job. Says Tulsiram, an Andhra Pradesh resident, “I came here 12 years back for a mechanical job in Jodhpur. However, I was so fed up with my family tensions that I gave up my job and then was working as a labourer and begging on the streets of Jaipur. Now, am here learning computers and want to stand on my own feet and earn a decent livelihood. Then I shall return to my family.”
Another beggar, Rajendra, says, “I came from Maharashtra to get medical treatment here and have been working as a labourer for the last 16 years. After the police survey, we’ve been taken to this centre and promised that we shall learn something new which will give us new ways to earn. I’ll go back to Nagpur once I stand up on my own feet.”
Says Raghupati Dasa from Akshaya Patra: “We need 50 people as and when the school starts to cook the mid-day meal for students and we have other such jobs too. Our first priority will be to recruit people from these batches. We shall follow a three pronged strategy: to find out who is inclined towards spiritual growth, who wants to follow personal hygiene related to cooking and thirdly, who wants to do a decent job? Eventually, we will recruit people as helpers, cooks, drivers and to work in our gaushala,” he added.
The beggars told IANS that after waking up they do yoga followed by breakfast where they are served poha and paratha. “Then starts our counselling followed by lunch at noon. 1 pm to 2 pm is rest time then we network, play ludo, carrom and chess. Evenings are for badminton in the night, we watch movies together,” said one of the beggars. (IANS)
The beginning of the year is the perfect time to refocus on personal and business growth. From a practical book on preventing your brain from aging to a guide to leadership and entrepreneurship, here are our picks from the literary world.
Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at any Age by Dr. Sanjay Gupta
An exciting new science-driven guide to protecting your mind from decline. Throughout our lives, we are always looking for ways to keep our minds sharp and effortlessly productive. In this book, globetrotting neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta offers insights from top scientists all over the world, whose cutting edge research can help you heighten and protect brain function and maintain cognitive health at any age. ‘Keep Sharp’ debunks common myths about aging and cognitive decline, it explores whether there’s a ‘best’ diet or exercise regimen for the brain, and explains whether it’s healthier to play video games that test memory and processing speed or to engage in more social interaction.
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Discover what we can learn from ‘super-brained’ people who are in their eighties and nineties but showing no signs of slowing down – and whether there are truly any benefits to drugs, supplements, and vitamins. Dr. Gupta also addresses brain disease, particularly Alzheimer’s, answers all your questions about signs and symptoms, and shows you both how to ward against it and how to care for a partner in cognitive decline. The book also provides readers with a personalized twelve-week program featuring practical strategies to strengthen your brain every day.
‘Change: How To Make Big Things Happen’ by Damon Centola
From the spread of Covid-19 to the rise of political polarization, from implicit bias to genetically modified food, from NASA to Netflix – it’s time to think differently about how change works. Professor Damon Centola is the world expert in the new science of networks. His ground-breaking research across areas as disparate as voting, health, technology, and finance has highlighted powerful and highly effective new ways to ensure lasting change. In this book, Centola distills over a decade of deep experience into a fascinating new theory that challenges previous assumptions that new ideas are either contagious or not.
Change shows that beliefs and behaviors are not transmitted from person to person in the simple way that a virus is. The real story of social change is more complex and much more interesting. When we are exposed to a new idea, our social networks guide our responses in striking and surprising ways. Drawing on deep-yet-accessible research and fascinating examples, ‘Change’ presents a paradigm-shifting new science for understanding what drives change, recognizing our blind spots and how we can change the world around us.
Entrepreneurship by Rajeev Roy
The third edition of ‘Entrepreneurship’ by Rajeev Roy is designed to meet the needs of management students and entrepreneurs. The book explains concepts based on original research and the author’s own experience in setting up and running entrepreneurial ventures. It aims to combine theoretical elements with a practical outlook. The book is meant to be used not just like a textbook for a course but also lends itself well to being an actual guide to students wishing to start their own ventures.
The book starts with the concept of understanding entrepreneurship and throws light on contemporary approaches to it. It discusses the various issues related to doing business in India and support are given to SMEs and entrepreneurs; elaborates on the steps involved in composing a pitch deck; describes day-to-day operations of an entrepreneurial enterprise, such as human resources, networking, etc; and discusses the growth and exit strategies. The book has case studies exhibiting recent business dynamics.
Hot Seat: Hard-won Lessons in Challenging Times by Jeff Immelt
‘Hot Seat’ offers a rigorous and candid self-interrogation of Jeff Immelt’s tenure, detailing for the first time, his proudest moments, missteps, and the lessons he learned battling one crisis after another as he led GE in the 21st century. In ‘Hot Seat’, Immelt, the former CEO of General Electric shares the hard-won lessons he learned during his sixteen years at the helm of one of America’s most iconic companies.
Marked by straight talk and humility, it is not a typical business book. As Immelt writes in the prologue: “In October 2017, as I stepped down after thirty-five years at General Electric, I wasn’t sure I could write this book. My sixteen years as CEO had given me a front-row seat to history, and I’d learned some tough lessons I believed others could benefit from. But my tenure ended badly. Many business books begin with a tacit promise: ‘Let me tell you how to be like me: an unmitigated success!’ Clearly, I couldn’t say that. My legacy was, at best, controversial. GE won in the marketplace but not in the stock market. I made thousands of decisions impacting millions of people, often in the midst of blinding uncertainty and second-guessed by countless critics. I was proud of my team and what we’d accomplished, but as CEO, I’d been about as brilliant as I was lucky, by which I mean: too often I was neither.”
As the business world continues to be rocked by stunning economic upheaval and a global pandemic, the likes of which have not been seen in 100 years, ‘Hot Seat’ is an urgently needed, and unusually candid, a guide for decisive leadership. (IANS)
There was a time when entrepreneurs in Kolkata used to fly to other cities such as Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Delhi to set up ventures, making the growth of the city’s startup ecosystem quite slow. But the trend has started to change dramatically. Today, the City of Joy has become a place where budding entrepreneurs are bringing new waves of innovation, making the city’s startup fraternity highly optimistic. Kolkata has already given birth to some leading Indian startups such as Wow! Momo, which raised whopping funding of $23 million from Tiger Global Management last year that increased its valuation to $120 million.
The transformation in the startup scene of Kolkata has naturally attracted many leading coworking space providers to open up branches here. No matter what kind of industry you’re into, you’ll be welcomed with a wide choice of coworking spaces in Kolkata.
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Major factors promoting the startup ecosystem of Kolkata
Private and government initiatives
IIMCIP (IIM Calcutta Innovation Park) promotes innovation and entrepreneurship by providing both virtual and physical incubation. TCGTBI, an initiative by IIEST, promotes entrepreneurship and innovation by converting tech ideas in different disciplines of science and technology into processes, products, and services to use commercially and benefit society. An incubation center aimed at science and technology startups has been set up by the Kolkata branch of IISER to promote entrepreneurship in India’s eastern and northeastern regions. Neotec Hub is another prominent incubator that offers different programs to startups that are working on innovative technologies mainly in the fields of education, healthcare, real estate, and hospitality. Startup Bengal is the West Bengal Government’s initiative to help startups access different resources of the state’s startup ecosystem and to promote an entrepreneurial culture.
A solid pool of startup investors
While beginning a startup takes a lot of courage and hard work to transform the idea into reality, probably the biggest hurdle is gathering funding to support your entrepreneurial journey. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of startup investors in Kolkata. In fact, the startups in the city have raised $43.73 million between 2014 and 2019. Some of the notable investors in Kolkata include Kolkata Ventures (an Indo-US collaboration to promote Indian entrepreneurship), Calcutta Angels, Augment Ventures, among others. The Government of West Bengal also helps startups to get access to early-stage funding.
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In addition to these, there’s one key factor that’s fostering the startup ecosystem of Kolkata – low operational costs. You can easily start operating from a top-tier coworking space, situated in a prominent location, offering all modern amenities by shelling out a cost much lower than what you’d need to pay in other major cities. Whether you need to book a desk on an hourly/daily basis or need a private cabin for the entire month, there’re many coworking space providers that offer these flexibilities.
It’s true that Kolkata still has a long way to go to match the startup culture of cities such as Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, etc. But with the help of regular startup events, entrepreneur/VC meetups, and knowledge sessions, we can expect to see an expedited growth of budding entrepreneurs with more number of professionals establishing ventures here.
(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored, and hence promotes some commercial links.)