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Former Cisco executives look to create Rural Entrepreneurs

Times of India, Chennai

Chennai: An NGO in Pondicherry is all set to transform rural India through entrepreneurship. Led by former Cisco senior executives, Gramonnati is crowdfunding an initiative to create rural entrepreneurs who will be trained to be like CEOs of small IT/tech hubs in their villages.

Founded by V P Sharma, Shyam Kaluve & Suresh Subbarao, Gramonnati has partnered with Sri Aurobindo Society to drive rural transformation. Supported by friends and colleagues, the group is looking to raise Rs 30 lakh through crowdfunding on the platform Fueladream.com.

They have raised Rs 21 lakh till date.

Sharma and his co-founders worked on the concept for close to two years before setting up Gramonnati in October 2017. “Micro-entrepreneurship, if done at scale, can solve several problems. It would help first reduce and then reverse migration of youth from villages to urban areas, even as it helps transform villages to become hubs of rural development,” Sharma said.

For this purpose, they are setting up Gramonnati Kendra’s in villages, small towns and remote areas with a view to bring a wide range of technology, skills, livelihood and entrepreneurship training and programs to the rural communities.
“We were looking to find a solution to urban migration, rural entrepreneurship and employment,” Sharma said. The team is looking to create 10000 rural entrepreneurs in five years. In the first leg of the initiative, they are targeting rural Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. The team will select, train and mentor ‘Udyam Trainees’ from villages and small towns, for 12 – 18 months.

By the end of this period, these Udyam Trainees will be able to set up and operate their own micro-enterprises (in areas like smart education, digital services in rural areas, smart energy, clean water technologies, remote healthcare and agri-tech) thereby earning revenue and creating employment in their village.

Ranganath Thota, founder, FuelADream.com, said, “The group campaign approach we take at Fueladream.com has been a game-changer. We are thrilled that the Gramonnati campaign has got off to a fabulous start and will impact the social fabric of the country- slowly but surely.”

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Source: Times Of India