Is rural India becoming a key attraction to emerging entrepreneurs?

Rural areas play a major role in the overall economic development of a country like India. Therefore, rural entrepreneurship helps in the growth and development, and facilitates self-employment of rural industries.
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India, one of the fastest developing countries globally, holds one-fourth its population in rural areas. Over the years, the startup ecosystem and the entrepreneurship culture have also significantly gone up and caught the attention of investors to pay more attention in rural entrepreneurship.

2021 was raining unicorns for India, with 44 startups reaching the status. While metropolitan cities still contribute the most to this number, rural entrepreneurs are emerging with new and innovative business ideas.

If we look back in the day, the term entrepreneur was not very common, but now it is more than ever before linked to employment. Institutions and individuals promoting rural development now see entrepreneurship as a strategic development intervention to accelerate pastoral growth.

Most of these institutions and individuals see rural entrepreneurs as an enormous employment potential, which means it will benefit farmers to improve farm earnings. Women see it as an employment possibility near their homes that provides autonomy, independence, and a reduced need for social support.

Rural entrepreneurship

Rural areas play a major role in the overall economic development of a country like India. Therefore, rural entrepreneurship helps in the growth and development, and facilitates self-employment of rural industries.

This results in wider dispersal of economic and industrial activities, which helps in the maximum utilisation of local resources like raw material and labour productive purposes and mobilise rural savings, which help in increase of rural funds.

The demographic advantages enable businesses and entrepreneurs to harness the potential of the rural talent, helping in local wealth creation and ultimately adding economic value connected with the larger economy. Investing in rural youth helps scale businesses at large with effective and objective led growth.

The lack of amenities and poor infrastructure in rural India across sectors like healthcare, education, access, supply chains, and more have attracted businesses to rural India. With an increased digital push, tech innovations have reached rural markets helping entrepreneurs identify the market opportunities in rural India.

The quality and affordability of the products and services available in rural markets are challenged due to the lower purchasing power of the rural consumers. Leveraging technology with improved efficiency and optimised supply chains are helping in cost-effective marketing.

Creating innovative solutions for rural consumers with value chains, processing, marketing, and services, these entrepreneurs are actively working to support rural livelihoods and cater to the needs of the rural population. With resources, skill development, and exposure to global markets, employment opportunities are empowering rural youth with financial independence allowing for holistic development.

Transforming rural development

Rural customers are getting used to online services like door-step deliveries, digital payments, technology, and more. Agritech, for example, has gained traction in the solution-driven category of startups for helping farmers with advisory services.

Identifying the pain points and everyday livelihood struggle in the countryside environment and creating impact-based solutions has given birth to ideas of impact on business and social enterprises. What is interesting to know is that these businesses are not non-profits but impact-based service providers.

Policies promoting rural entrepreneurship play an influential role in entering rural markets. The newly-launched scheme of “one station one product” will ease product distribution resulting in higher profits.

Challenges

Since these communities are small and close-knit, they are not conducive to external interference. Therefore, it is important for global brands and services to take the local route to create market linkages with rural consumers.

Businesses in rural areas thrive on trust and relationships; therefore, building a solid connection with the community plays a vital role in flourishing. Individuals and institutions are together working towards creating a favourable environment for entrepreneurs.

Conclusion

With India now overtaking the UK as the third-largest startup ecosystem globally, there has been significant increased entrepreneurial interest. The enormous opportunity in the countryside has become a centre of attraction for emerging entrepreneurs.

The Indian hinterland has a pool of talent, opportunity, resources, and potential investors willing to invest in rural startups. The existing businesses projecting growth, impact, and innovation have set examples of inspiration for the new businesses waiting to take off.

Edited by Megha Reddy

(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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