It is difficult to imagine Indian cities without roadside small vendors. You can easily spot 10-20 small vendors occupy the prime spots at major shopping locations in India. In fact the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, 2009 recognizes street vendors, hawkers, pheriwallas, rehri-patri wallas, footpath vendors, sidewalk traders, etc, as an integral and legitimate part of the urban retail trade and distribution system. On the completion of India’s 60 years, Europe Asia Business School along with Young Indians (YI) and World Entrepreneurship Forum (WEF) has adopted 15 urban street-vendors.
EABS takes the first step towards this initiative by aiming to empower and enlighten its students by organizing a campaign for the promotion of Micro-Enterprises. Rightly named ‘microSCOPE’, the students of 1 year PGPM adopts diverse micro-entrepreneurs which range across sweet shops, wada pav vendors and florists to small grocery stores and sandwich vendors thereby getting an overall knowledge of the end-to-end business and opportunity to apply management concepts learnt in the classroom. Since all these micro-entrepreneurs largely operate in unorganized sectors, there is an immense potential of growth and improvement visible & untapped.
Dr. Nikhil Agarwal, Director EABS on this initiative said, “I personally believe that the Indian growth story should be inclusive. First of all it is not limited to urban rich or middle class, we have to provide adequate support to urban poor and rural class.” He further added, “We should create capabilities at the bottom of pyramid, through this exercise, we are helping the road-side vendors to take the next step in value chain. Imagine a country with small vendors providing high quality stuff with high customer orientation”.
Every student will partner with his micro-business entrepreneur for a period of 4 months to understand the business better and have first hand experience; they are spending a whole day working at the business. Beginning from knowing about the suppliers, the procurement process all the way to understanding the target customers and the marketing strategies. In due course, the students will also learn how an entrepreneur is able to plan for sales, timings, location and promotion of his product. Besides all this, they will get a know-how of managing resources and utilizing them efficiently. Not only will this help them in understanding every aspect of minimizing cost of production, but will also get a first hand experience of interacting with customers and getting their feedback.
Ms. Monika Trivedi, Chapter Chair- Young Indians (Yi), Pune said “Yi’s key initiative is to work with employability. The campaign for micro-entrepreneurs by EABS is very exciting. I am very enthusiastic about how the students help these small vendors in improving their productivity and teaching them the intricacies of management even at this grass root level. If this pilot campaign works for EABS then this will be a pioneer in replicating this model across other states. We are also trying to reach out to the corporates for an active participation in this unique initiative.”
Apart from the above, the students will get a chance to peek into the entrepreneur’s financial records which eventually will aid in understanding his management of working capital, sources of finance and his daily record keeping of sales. In a nut shell, the objective of the entire program is to have a complete learning curve for students varying from multinational CEOs to a CEO of vada pav stall. Towards the end of the process, the students can create a value proposition to aid the business in consistently moving up the value chain.
To this the owner of Aditya vada pav centre, Viman Nagar says, “It is very unusual that college students come to us and help in our business. Earlier I was hesitant in taking Nimesh’s advice, but when he began suggesting me things to improve my business without putting in extra money, I realized I could actually do it without any efforts. Now I am really thankful to him and the college for considering us to be businessmen and thinking they can learn something from us in spite of being a road- side vendor.”