Incubating Collective Enterprises

The current entrepreneurial ecosystem in India rarely works with collective enterprises. While there are agencies like the NCUI for education on cooperatives and NDDB and NDS to enable cooperatives to work towards becoming successful enterprises, there is little concerted efforts to provide incubation for a large number of collective enterprises that have been set up in the twenty-first century especially in agriculture under the broad title of Farmer Producer Organisations or FPOs.

ISEED’s work on managing collectives builds on IRMA’s vast and unique knowledge on managing cooperatives and extending this to designing contemporary FPOs for greater business effectiveness. FPOs, we believe, need the same entrepreneurial thinking and support structures that a start-up needs. The knowledge, capacities and ecosystem for this is however missing.

ISEED’s work on incubating and managing collective enterprises is broadly under three areas:

Building knowledge on contemporary FPOs:

ISEED has been working towards newer theories and design principles for incubating FPOs through a series of case studies and later putting together a comprehensive annotated bibliography on FPOs for both practitioners and researchers. ISEED has also worked with partners in bringing out an FPO training manual and policy briefs. The cases have been used in teaching students and in training programmes and also in informing policies. ISEED, through its coordinator, has also been part of national level policy dialogues to build the knowledge base for effective policy making.

Building capacities:

With ambitious plans for Doubling Farm Income and setting up 10000 FPOs across the country there is an urgent need to strengthen capacities of both the promoting institutions as well as developing a cadre of trainers who can build the next generation of FPO facilitators and leaders. ISEED collaborated with its ecosystem partners Skill Green, GIZ, APMAS and NAFPO to launch a new FPO manual that focuses on empowering trainers and BoDs of FPOs. The manual launched in March has been followed by regional trainings at Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Eluru and other places.

Co-creating an enabling ecosystem:

As an incubator ISEED believes that more than offering physical space or technical facilities, incubators need to energise the ecosystem through conversations with multiple stakeholders in co-creating an ecosystem that will make in rural India and doing business in rural and collective enterprises much easier. ISEED has participated in many national conferences, round tables, think tanks on collective enterprises and has been involved in creating appropriate FPO policies. This we believe cannot be done alone and requires active collaboration and co-creation of knowledge.

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Anand India

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