Micro-entrepreneurship

Sattva is working in collaboration with Smart Power India (SPI) to address issues of gender gaps and bringing rural women into mainstream employment through setting up a micro apparel-manufacturing centre. The centre aims to connect willing women to mainstream market by providing them training and sustained employment.

Sattva’s approach for the micro-apparel manufacturing centre is designed in such a way that it addresses the key problems of the rural communities of Uttar Pradesh highlighted above and tries to solve a small part of the larger unemployment and migration problems. The intention of the above micro enterprise development projects is to scale this business model to more and more villages and create a cluster of these micro apparel centres into a small-scale industries which provides employment to local communities and empowers women in the region.

Salient features of the apparel manufacturing centre:

1. The workforce to get at least 40% of the selling price on a per piece basis, which is much more than the current percentage of 10-20% of the selling price.
2. Women to form major percentage of the workforce in our centre
3. Entrepreneur driven centre in which the selected entrepreneur is from the community
4. The centre would be handed over to the community to be run by them in course of 2-3 years.

In other words, we are looking at this as a solution, i.e. more than just a “unit cost”, and enabling impact that has to go beyond measurement, to also look at scale + sustainability.

ADVISORY – SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS

OBJECTIVE
A group of social entrepreneurs developing technology innovations to optimise water usage for food production were looking to take their idea to market. They wanted to develop a robust business model in order to create impact in emerging economies. In our role as advisors, we helped these founders take ideas off the ground supported by a right business model, go-to-market strategy, and execution to scale their efforts.

SATTVA’S VALUE-ADD
As advisors our primary role with these entrepreneurs, whose innovations were mostly at seed or early stages of development, was to develop an actionable strategy to grow their venture from idea to market. We worked with them closely to establish the best business model to validate their innovations as well as identify the ideal consumer base in every market. We designed a business model strategy for three to five years which included correct pricing to ensure a product-market fit for long-term sustainability. Our mission was to condition entrepreneurs with business thinking and this involved working proactively with them to zero down on the core value-proposition of their product. Once they hit the market we delved into specific capacity building around sales, marketing, operational planning, financial forecasting and partnership strategy for the foreseeable future. From June 2016 we have meticulously helped these entrepreneurs move through each stage of their journey to reach the ultimate end goal of impact on the ground.

KEY LEARNINGS
We documented our actionable strategy for each aspect of business and entrepreneurship in a playbook which we believe can be customised for use by any innovator in the ecosystem. This knowledge material is a valuable asset for all players in the sector. Alongside, we contributed to change the mindset of social entrepreneurs to prove that innovations can lead to viable and sustainable businesses. Also, we were able to give them actionable strategies to survive and scale ventures, thereby boosting overall confidence in the sector. Innovators were able to strengthen their go-to-market strategy and capacities for next three-five years.

HIGHLIGHTS
Number of entrepreneurs advised: 12
10 Regions covered: Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Kenya, South Africa, Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Vietnam and Nepal
Innovations included: Seed tape, affordable green-house technology, contract farming, precision agricultural devices, and weather management phone service

IMPLEMENTATION – MICRO-ENTREPRENEURSHIP

OBJECTIVE
A solar power company delivering viable electricity solutions through decentralised renewable energy mini-grids, wanted to spur socio-economic growth in rural and semi-urban areas. They wanted to create an ecosystem to encourage this segment of people to become entrepreneurs on the back of reliable supply of energy. Our work as knowledge and implementation partners was to bring rural women into mainstream employment through setting up of micro-apparel manufacturing centres.

SATTVA’S APPROACH
We designed and executed a programme based on an entrepreneur-led model here. The first step was developing a site selection framework using certain basic criteria:
– choosing a location for the manufacturing centre close to a solar plant to ensure a steady supply of electricity, – within a radius of 200 kilometres from the market,

The focus was on selecting married women to train since the study suggested that such selection would help maintain high retention rates. We covered 8-10 villages under outreach to encourage women to visit the centre and gauge their interest in joining the programme. Selected candidates were charged a monthly sum of Rs 100 to ensure accountability and retention. This 20-seater centre, in Kamalapur near Lucknow, trained women in apparel making over six months. Our on-ground training partner trained women to use automatic machines. Post this we worked on a job-order model securing bulk orders from vendors (wholesalers or retailers) in Lucknow which in turn were executed by these women over the next few months as part of on-the job training.

KEY LEARNINGS
The program had far reaching socio-economic impact as it saw women from orthodox families venture out of home into mainstream employment. As a result they were now empowered to improve personal livelihood and educational aspirations. In parallel, it highlighted the importance of creating market linkages for rural entrepreneurs as a crucial component for any skilling program. Our approach demonstrated that a well-designed model is imperative, but motivating and building trust with women is as important to mobilise them. During the course of the programme we saw women build personal relationships with each other and work together with complete solidarity. The company was able to make the first crucial step in solving problems of migration, gender gap in mainstream livelihood opportunities and unemployment in Uttar Pradesh. The Kamlapur centre served as the anchor in that area, enabling the energy service company to be sustainable enough to provide energy at community level covering more beneficiaries. Also, the client is now confident of replicating the model for similar projects in other locations.

OUTCOME
No. of women in program: 20 women
Centre location: Kamlapur, Uttar Pradesh
Increase average income: Rs 2000-3000 per month from Rs 200 per month
Age bracket: 21+ years

IMPLEMENTATION – SCALABLE EDUCATION MODELS

OBJECTIVE
An international philanthropic foundation is looking to develop a technology-based scalable model to evaluate whether Spoken English Skills (SES) leads to an increase in employability of urban poor youth. We played a key role as implementation and programme management partners to help them deliver this programme on the ground for 7,000 students across six states.

SATTVA’S METHODOLOGY
We designed a technology-enabled programme to help the foundation reach its goal of creating a low-cost scalable model to improve English proficiency among college students. We started with a detailed study of technology-based solutions for English in the form of mobile apps, and then looked at products specifically catering to the job market. We shortlisted five technology partners based on the following parameters: alignment with the job seeker segment, ability to cater to scale, management capabilities, cost, interface, and specific features like gamification, incentivisation etc. The programme required students to speak in English for 15 minutes a day for three months leading to a consumption of 40 hours of technology-based content.
We then worked with four training partners working present in this segment to add our programme into their training modules as a supplement. Our application partners sent us weekly dashboards with data on time spent by students per week, content consumed per week, how often they logged in. The training partners helped us monitor their attendance in class. Post this we collected and analysed end results to assess levels of improvement with students.

KEY LEARNINGS
This programme demonstrated that a technology-enabled training model can be used as a low-cost method to scale and be replicated by others in the ecosystem. Through our efforts at designing, implementing and managing it, we gained several insights into the segment which are useful points for anyone who wants to adopt this model. We observed that this population of college students was extremely conscious of data usage and therefore the apps we selected needed to have offline functionality. Also, most students preferred gamification as this motivated them to compete with classmates. The foundation had a two-pronged vision through this programme – one was to make students more employable and second to create a scalable model covering an entire state.

OUTCOME
States covered: Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan
Scale: 7,000 students
Technology Partners: 5
On-Ground Training Partners: 4

SYSTEMIC TRANSFORMATION – EDUCATION

OBJECTIVE
A social change organisation is working in the field of education with the intent to transform the quality in public schools. The systemic transformation plan required providing leadership training to school principals as well as education officers to create a long lasting impact. The solutions had to prepare the organisation to ensure quality delivery at scale for 6,00,000 government schools. Sattva has been working as a key strategic advisor to this organisation and is helping co- create solutions for standardised quality delivery of their flagship Principal Leadership Development Program and newly introduced District and State Transformation Programmes. The approach was to bring together the current strengths of their on the ground workforce & ongoing interventions to build scalable , effective and impactful solutions.

SATTVA’S VALUE-ADD
Sattva’s association with the organisation started with smaller individual projects. In January 2017, we entered into a strategic advisory partnership with the foundation, to co-create a blueprint for quality delivery at scale for 600,000 schools.
We helped them align the core objective of improving the Student Learning Outcomes(SLO) for interventions across the organization across various operations. We helped design a multi-level capability maturity model for the 10 key interventions for development of schools through critical milestones at various stages. We led the co-creation of an organization-wide technology platform through a mobile based application to ensure easy collaboration for fellows (this organisation runs a significant and sough-after fellowship programme) to map their journey across 5000+ schools and gather data analytics for monitoring and evaluation purpose.

KEY LEARNINGS
The Maturity model and the Journey app is being further used by various government schools, NGOs in the ecosystem to map their leadership development initiatives. Our combined efforts helped the organization to structure the products around solutioning for various stakeholders at all levels, starting from teachers all the way to the middle managers in the education ecosystem. The foundation is now a reputed name in the field of education working across states and districts to replicate this model to 6,00,000 schools in the future in line with its overall vision.

OUTCOMES
● Capability maturity model for 10 key interventions for school development across stages through milestones
● Product creation: Journey app for 5000+schools in PLDP and DTP which can be replicated across 6,00,000 schools
● Number of people impacted: 5000+ schools, 500+ fellows
● Interventions planned across 12 states covered in STP – Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh

IMPACT ASSESSMENT

OBJECTIVE
The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of a Mumbai-based bank wanted to understand the impact of its programme aimed at improving livelihoods of Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking, implemented with an on-ground NGO partner across five states. We conducted a detailed assessment of the impact of the project.

SATTVA’S ASSESSMENT APPROACH
We studied 400 women from three of the five states using a hybrid methodology combining qualitative and quantitative data. These women, who had been part of the programme before September 2015, were interviewed through focus group discussions along with multiple stakeholders – implementation partner, local NGOs and anganwadi workers. The discussion was a means to gauge improvement in livelihood patterns, changes in income levels, overall empowerment in taking household decisions for those who chose to opt out of this trade, and more importantly reduction in social exclusion. These parameters formed the qualitative side. Quantitative data, on factors like increase in household income, improvements in family’s standard of living, and education opportunities for their children because of higher income, was collected through a survey.

KEY LEARNINGS
Working and studying a sensitive community brought out valuable insights for us as well as the ecosystem at large. This programme successfully demonstrated self-employment is a sustainable model for livelihood for this group of women, and one that can be institutionalised. Our hybrid methodology, that blended quantitative and qualitative data, proved to be innovative as well as a disciplined and systematic approach leading to desired results within designated time-frame. Also, liaising with an external expert, who came with in-depth understanding of this community, helped us communicate effectively in order to gather valuable information. Collaborating with the NGO provided balance in field dynamics, as they gave us necessary inputs and direction on broaching sensitive questions. This, we believe, was a crucial aspect of the assessment. As a result, the CSR arm was able to assess the programme’s impact well, and the programme proved to be feasible for this community.

HIGHLIGHTS
● Studied a sample set of 400 women in three states
● States covered: Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow), Andhra Pradesh (Vizag) and Maharashtra (Pune)
● Duration: 2.5 months
● Age group: 20-50 years
● Adopted a scientific research methodology blending qualitative and quantitative data
● Assessed a complex socio-economic and cultural setting

BLURB
“Adopting a hybrid methodology was an extremely disciplined and systematic approach leading to desired results within the time-frame earmarked for this assessment.”