Incubating Collective Enterprises
Collective enterprises in India are institutionally not part of the dynamic and emerging entrepreneurial and start-up ecosystem. While there are agencies like the NCUI for education on cooperatives and NDDB and NDS to enable dairy cooperatives to work towards becoming successful enterprises, there is no single agency to provide incubation for a large number of collective enterprises that have been set up in the twenty-first century under the broad title of Farmer Producer Organisations or FPOs.
ISEED seeks to fill this gap by drawing 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 to be seen as start-ups and social enterprises and require similar entrepreneurial thinking and support structures. 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. ISEED, through its coordinator, has also been part of national level policy dialogues to enable effective policies to strengthen FPOs. A recent overview of the FPO ecosystem is available here.
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, APMAS and NAFPO to launch a new FPO manual in March 2019 that focuses on empowering trainers and BoDs of FPOs. The manual has been followed up by regional trainings at Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Eluru and many 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. ISEED hosts several national workshops (2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019).