Micro-enterprises in India, though a largely ignored sector, is key to the growth of the country’s rural economies. Along with agriculture, regional micro businesses that are often hereditary and skill based occupation drive sustenance to rural population. Supporting regional entrepreneurs in tier-2 and tier-3 locations can give local communities the much needed support to regional micro-entrepreneurship.
The Navodyami program of the Sandbox is an initiative in this direction, offering the much
needed fillip to small businesses that are based in non-urban locations. Navodyami helps small business by guiding them to scale, expand market reach and avail credit linkages.
Tirumaleshwar, who sells Sukeli — a dry banana product popular in North Karnataka– is a Navodyami beneficiary from Yallapur village. Sukeli was little known to markets outside North Karnataka, and Tirumaleshwar seldom thought of expanding his market reach beyond customers nearby.
He enrolled into Navodyami, and the initial two-month stint with Navodyami, especially the bootcamp, exposed him to business plans, marketing strategies and other nuances such as quality maintenance and logistics. At the end of the training, he was chosen as a Navodyami winner and received an opportunity to be nurtured by the Sandbox ecosystem, avail extensive mentoring, on-ground and marketing support to scale and expand his business.
“Navodyami has become my constant support and inspiration,” Tirumaleshwar says, adding, “My products now have a market and demand thanks to the Navodyami team. They have helped me greatly by getting in touch with customer needs and production and marketing techniques. This has helped me to give more focus on what is important and therefore be more productive.”
The Navodyami team distributed his Sukeli packets among retailers, branding it ‘Nammooru,’ assisted in creating market awareness about Sukeli, and even suggested a new shop for Tirumaleshwar to manage his business from. Today, he has expanded his product range to include eight to ten varieties of food products, ranging from pickles to buttermilk. “I am no more an idle businessman, I constantly improvise,” he says, adding, “Now I am in touch with my customer’s needs.