How rural startups are contributing to making rural India Atmanirbhar

Businesses in rural space thrive on trust and relationships, and thus a strong network results in a deeper probing in the hinterland.
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Since 2014, when the prime minister first talked about “Atmanirbhar Bharat,” it fuelled many ambitions within the country. India — as the third-largest hub of startups — received immense motivation and inspiration from the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign.

As far as rural India is concerned, it has the largest customer base and market opportunities for over 850 million, yet not many companies have been able to unlock the space.

Recently, increased involvement of technology in rural India opened doors for connectivity and opportunities. There has been a significant increase in rural startups that are continuously working to uplift and empower lives in rural India.

The space is not limited to any one particular sector. From education to healthcare to service providers, these rural startups are connecting Bharat to India digitally, physically, and socially. With increased accessibility, connectivity, and enablement, these rural customers are now aware, empowered, and educated. 

One significant aspect of operating in rural India is trust and strong networking. Businesses in rural space thrive on trust and relationships, and thus a strong network results in a deeper probing in the hinterland.

Micro-level rural entrepreneurs are trusted associates between the startups and rural India. Once there is a strong network of micro-entrepreneurs in rural India, it helps startups get the trust they want from people.

This networking is a win-win initiative for both entrepreneurs and startups. Startups use this networking to expand their business, and entrepreneurs get opportunities for income and livelihood. 

This multidimensional approach is helping rural India connect to a larger economy at an ease. This mutually beneficial strategy is increasing accessibility, employment, enabling connectivity, and easy livelihood in the rural interior.

The village-level entrepreneurs get income opportunities besides their regular livelihood. The rural marketplace is conveniently connecting both customers and brands and buying and selling. 

The brands can now tap the largest customer base with data points and curate products as per customer’s comfort and need. The rural farmers and producers can sell their produce and make profits.

In fact, the proposition has been the most successful in aberrations like COVID-19. With an improved lifestyle and overall development, people in rural areas can access benefits like the internet, financial dependence, and so on.

The unit economic model is leveraging stage-by-stage connectivity and supply chain. The robust door-step delivery of affordable and quality products is making way for urbanisation. 

People in the hinterland travel several kilometres for basic household necessities as the nearest markets are usually the village block. Travelling for everyday products and services is time-consuming and involves extra travel expenses.

With rural accessibility, shopping hassle is depleted with rural startups providing doorstep delivery. Many lost their livelihood in urban areas amidst the pandemic, but were able to find successful employment opportunities within their communities as rural entrepreneurs.

People in rural areas depend on loans for heavy expenditure due to a lack of purchasing power, digital finance, and financial inclusion. There are many other examples where these rural startups have empowered and uplifted rural lives. 

There has been significant growth in digital payments in rural India; micro-entrepreneurs share photographs of their products with online customers and close transactions using digital payments. They have been able to support their families with digital payments and pay utility bills from home.

Gender inclusivity and education have also circled the overall development of rural India impacting at a scale. Digital literacy has become the new trend as a result of this penetration.

In fact, the government of India is supporting rural startups for direct development. The value proposition and unique startup models have been exceptionally successful in building a sustainable ecosystem for rural communities.

Addressing the challenges of rural India with extraordinary responses on the ground is building a strong rural infrastructure. Partnerships and collaborative efforts are further scaling the vision and mission of the rural business, empowering vulnerable communities.

Edited by Suman Singh

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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