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1M1B aims to support 1 M entrepreneurs to lift 1 B people out of poverty

Vallabh Rao
1st Feb 2018
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1M1B helps in creation of jobs, builds conscious enterprises and undertakes income enhancement initiatives for indigenous and under-served communities by engaging urban leaders and startups. 

Nearly three years back, Manav Subodh bid farewell to his job at Intel as Global Manager, Entrepreneurship and Corporate Affairs, to work on his idea, with a mission — empowering a million youth who would impact a billion more for balanced economic prosperity.

In 2015, as a Senior Fellow, Entrepreneurship at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, Manav became convinced that entrepreneurship was an instrument for social transformation of a world where unemployment and economic fissures pose a serious threat. 

“I felt this idea had the potential of a missile but needed undivided attention like an infant, in order to grow and become a success. It was an idea that could revolutionise the way people perceived the concept of entrepreneurship,” says Manav. “It didn’t take me long after that to begin my own journey as an entrepreneur of mentoring and moulding hopeful, young, and energetic entrepreneurs globally, especially those from the under-served regions.” 

People from low-income groups take loans to educate their children only to find them back home doing nothing as there are no jobs. Some of them land up ordinary jobs in cities, other remain unemployed, and some even cause social unrest. What if young people are given entrepreneurial training during their education as a life skill so that they can create their own jobs and opportunities for others as well? With this in mind, Manav co-founded 1M1B with his sister Swati Subodh, who is a scientist.

At present, 1M1B runs two programmes — Future Leaders and Startup Gurukool. Future Leaders is a programme that aims to create a new brand of socially conscious leaders who are connected to their communities. It works with young students (future leaders) through a leadership curriculum based on innovation and entrepreneurial thinking. 

Smart Village Accelerator inauguration in Andhra Pradesh

Startup Gurukool is a village fellowship programme co-designed by 1M1B in partnership with the TATA Trusts, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, and supported by UN Habitat. It aims to accelerate indigenous technologies to rural markets and enable social entrepreneurs to gain access to these markets.

This creates jobs for people living in the villages while at the same time gives them access to crucial services and products. The fellows play a pivotal role in this and are allocated a cluster of villages to set up and run the Startup Gurukool in that region. Successful fellows get an opportunity to showcase their model at the annual ‘1M1B for SDG’ event at the United Nations, New York, scheduled in first half of every year (this year’s event will take place on March 19, 2018). Fellows have helped social enterprises like Agrikal, Cfog, Aquasoul, ISF Technologies and SchooIN. 

1M1B began its journey in 2015 and is now successfully operating in five regions — New York, Caribbean islands, Ghana, Vietnam, and India (Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, and Karnataka). The diversity of the projects at these sites is as diverse as the regions themselves. These projects are part of the 1M1B’s Startup Gurukool which is customised for local needs. Their primary focus is on healthcare, agriculture, energy, and water. Through the Startup Gurukools in these sectors, they are directly making people job ready. 

In 2016, 1M1B was a partner in the Andhra Pradesh Government’s ‘Smart Village Initiative’ along with UC Berkeley. In the prototype phase, they brought technologies and medical expertise in partnership with Care Hospitals, World Health Partners, and A3 RMT Pvt Ltd to three villages in the East Godavari region. The same model was then scaled to four states of India in 2017 under the name Startup Gurukool. In past six months of Startup Gurukool, 1M1B team with support from Tata Trusts has created 37 village entrepreneurs, jobs for 43 young people and enhanced income of over 177 people (mostly women) in the villages of India.

Besides creating impactful partnerships in India, 1M1B is the only Indian NGO that was chosen to partner with United Nations Department of Public Information for disseminating information about priority issues of the United Nations and reminding the governments of their pledges to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. 

Encouraged by all the results, 1M1B is scaling its model to 20 rural locations of India and to additional five locations internationally (mainly underserved communities in Vietnam and the USA). Through these 25 locations, 1M1B is looking at skilling 5,000 young people in the villages for jobs and is aiming to enhance incomes of over 20,000 people in the villages through entrepreneurship. 1M1B is also establishing its first Healthcare Upskilling centre in Bhimavaram, Andhra Pradesh, India.

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