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Ex-employees of Cisco use crowdfunding platforms to spur rural entrepreneurs


Twenty eight former and current CISCO employees started a crowdfunding campaign to train 22 rural entrepreneurs, who will, in turn, make a difference to their localities.

They needed ₹28 lakh for this project, which they expected to raise over 30 days. As the campaign reaches the last lap, it has already raised ₹37.89 lakh or 134 per cent of the targeted amount.

Instead of lining up at their bank or NBFC, social entrepreneurs are now turning to crowdfunding platforms to raise money. The success of the Gramonnati crowdfunding campaign that is being run on Fueladream crowdfunding platform shows how this is an easier way to connect those who want to contribute towards change in society with entrepreneurs with concrete ideas to bring about that change.

Gramonnati, founded by three ex-CISCO employees, Ved Prakash Sharma, Shyam Kaluve and Suresh Subbarao, is based in Pondicherry and aims to create a new generation of rural entrepreneurs in Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh and the Asthua village in the Darbhanga district of Bihar. The idea is to train youth, women and ex-army personnel from the local community and enable them to set up Gramonnati Kendras in their respective villages.

These ‘kendras’ will not only train the residents in financial and computer literacy but also enable the existing enterprises and farmers in the area to benefit from technology. The first batch of Udyam Program has 24 trainees, 9 boys and 15 girls in the age group of 19-22 years. The skills that they are being provided will help them set up and operate these kendras. Around ₹1 lakh has to be invested per trainee over a period of 12 months, to cover the stipend and training cost till they start operating their own micro-enterprises in villages.

“The phenomenal success of this campaign means they can train more youth. The campaign has a very interesting format as it involves 28 friends, colleagues and believers who have come together to do crowdfunding,” says Ranganath Thota, Founder, Fueladream.com Crowdfunding platforms such as Fueladream, Ketto, Impactguru are moving to the fore in bringing about social change. Those wanting to raise funds need to approach a crowdfunding platform that helps the fundraisers design the campaign and coaches them on the promotion on various social media and other websites. “We use technology, storytelling and the innate need to give, to help those who need to raise funds,” adds Thota.

Gramonnati has partnered with Sri Aurobindo Society in this program. Funders have an 80G tax benefit. In addition, they are promised feedback on how their funds are utilised.

Source: The Hindu BusinessLine