Bridget IT- Digital Entrepreneur Program Vimukti Pothnal

1. Introduction:
In recent years, there has been paradigm shift in the development of youth in India with a huge focus on livelihood development through micro entrepreneurship. A severe lack of job opportunities for youth, especially rural youth, has led to entrepreneurship, even at the micro level, as a necessary and viable alternative for livelihood generation. Providing the opportunity for youth to successfully start and run a small business will improve rural economy and lead tobetter quality of life for the youth, their families, andtheir communities. Promoting rural enterprise will also serve as a key to stem the migration of youth and bring about a reduction in the number of youth who moveaway from their communities in search of employment elsewhere. With the advancement of technology, and the evergrowing reliance on digitalisation, rural communities are fast being left behind on the availability of technology based services. A huge gap exists between urban and rural communities in this regard.To bridge the gap between urban and rural communities, Vimukti Charitable Trust® in partnership with Development Focus (DF), are pioneering an innovative Digital Entrepreneurship Program in Vimukti Pothnal, Raichur district in North Karnataka. The aim of this unique initiative is to create rural e-entrepreneurs from socially and economically disadvantaged rural communities.

2. Project Overview:
The project, aptly named Bridge-IT, is a micro entrepreneurship program that aims to provide livelihood opportunities and bridge the IT gap between urban and rural India by building the capacity of rural youth in e-entrepreneurship. BridgeIT will focus on building the IT and entrepreneurial skills of rural youth,build their confidence, and enhance their life skills, providingthem with the necessary meansand support to earn a livelihood through e-entrepreneurship. The initiative will not only allow rural youth to be gainfully employed and self-sufficient, but will also bridge the IT gap by enabling the youth to bring much needed IT related services into their communities. By promoting rural entrepreneurship, the intervention aims to improve the rural economy, reduce illiteracy, and provide academic inputs to both school going children and adults through computer based education.

3. The overall goal of the project is to provide livelihood opportunities for rural youth through e-entrepreneurship.

4. The specific objectives of the project are:
• To create rural e-entrepreneurs from socially and economically disadvantaged communities.
• To facilitate rural entrepreneurships and micro enterprises in IT and technology based services.
• To reduce illiteracy among adults through computer based adult literacy programs.
• To provide supplementary academic inputs for primaryschool children in rural areas through computer based education.

5. Project Implementation:
 Vimukti started sensitizing in villages by identifying Livelihood committee and entrepreneurs followed by the rank and matrix. According to this project we needed 16 entrepreneurs, but we succeeded in more than 20 villages sensitizing to identify 16 entrepreneurs but due to some reasons we still held on to 16 of them.

6. Selection Procedure:
Vimukti interviewed more than 100 youth in all the 16 villages and followed by the selection procedure and finally selected 16 Entrepreneurs.

7. Basic Computer Training:
After selecting the Entrepreneurs they can’t start immediately their online business because before starting any business they must be experts in that business that’s why those selected 16 entrepreneurs had to undergo two months of training on Basic computer and online services. Vimukti started training on basic computer and online services, that is why 2 months training was a basic requirement and all the 16 entrepreneurs were everyday coming to Vimukti and morning to till evening they learnt computer skills and online services. After finishing the training, they need materials for starting their business that’s why Vimukti distributed free materials for all the 16 entrepreneurs (2 Laptops, Projector, Internet, and Speaker).

8. Primary School Training by Neeta:
She is from Chennai, she is working in NGO and she had prepared all teaching materials for our Bridge IT project. Practically she demonstrated how to teach in schools and how to follow the lesson plan and how to do effective teaching.

9. Middle School Training by Priya:
Priya Madam had given training about the Middle school teaching, Bridge IT entrepreneurs teaching Basic computer for Middle school children and how to use tech basic computer in schools and do practical lessons for students.

10. Online Service Training by Basavaraj:
 We invited Basavaraj to give online service training to our Entrepreneurs. He had given full day training about different online services, how to find out services and to apply online, and online payment so on.

11. CSC Training by Shiva Shekar Gouda:
 CSC (Common Service Centre) we invited Koppal District Manager to Facilitate about CSC. In CSC more than 300 services are added and its mainly online services that’s why we registered all the 16 entrepreneurs in CSC. All the 16 entrepreneurs got their CSC ID and now they are working in CSC.

12. Photoshop Training by Pradeep Kumar:
We invited Pradeep Kumar to give training about Photoshop, because our entrepreneurs are getting customers for pass port size photos and full photos that’s why we organized training about Photoshop.

13. Book keeping Training by Thomas Paul:
Thomas Paul Sir had given training about Book keeping, in business maintaining records which is very essential and without proper records we are not able to identify how our business going on, that’s why Thomas Paul Sir Briefed clearly on how to record expense, Income, and Profit.

14. Smart classes in Government Schools:
Part of this project that all the 16 entrepreneurs are going to their Government schools for teaching smart classes for government school children, because now all the private schools are digitalized they are conducting smart classes but in government schools there is no smart class that’s why this project through Vimukti giving opportunities to our entrepreneurs to teach smart classes in government schools. Students were learning very curiously because our entrepreneurs are teaching through projector, were showing videos, pictures. Visual teaching is very effective compared to other teaching methods.

15. Adult Literacy Programme:
Our entrepreneurs are teaching 5 days weekly to illiterate Adults in their villages as a part of Adult literacy Programme. This is one of the best opportunities to illiterates to learn education via digital visualization. All entrepreneurs are teaching in their own village and public places.

16. Challenges Faced:
 While implementing this project it was hard to identify entrepreneurs.
 In villages there was competition among themselves to be the part of this project.
 Basic computer training entrepreneurs had some issues on travelling for the training.
 Hardware issues like laptop, speaker and printer for all the entrepreneurs.

17. Results/Outcome:
• Finally, all the 16 entrepreneurs have started their own business in their villages and all the 16 entrepreneurs are happy and eager to do their work and per month they are earning more than 2000 rupees.
• Because of this project all the 16 entrepreneurs have started their own business and earning money by themselves and now we have observed happiness on their faces, and their family members.
• All the 16 village people are also happy about the online shopping, because earlier if they wanted anything they had to travel to city but now all the services are provided by Bridge IT entrepreneur. That’s why now community people are happy to take services in their villages.
• When we are observing happiness in people and everything has happened because of our hard work that is the greatest result for the organization.
• All these developments have taken place because of Vimukti, and further still more such programmes will be introduced for the good of village people and children, youth, for their happiness.

18. Its outcome /changes seen in entrepreneurs and their families:
• Before coming to know anything about this project most of them were unemployed and they were doing daily labour work. But now all of them have started their own shop in their villages.
• Earlier they were not familiar with computer skills but now they are doing all the business in computer and they have mastered computer skills.
• Earlier in villages people were not able to identify entrepreneurs and their role but now all the community people are identifying them.
• Earlier all were addressing them by his/her name but now all are respecting them as a Sir/Madam, because as a part of our project they are also teaching in Schools that’s why children address them Sir/Madam.
• Earlier entrepreneur’s family members were not giving more preference and interest but now they are giving more importance to entrepreneurs.
• Earlier entrepreneurs didn’t have more confidence but now they have more confidence in business and earning money.
• Now our entrepreneurs are role models in their villages because other people also want to follow their footsteps and become entrepreneur like them.
• Now all the entrepreneurs are making good business and earning good money.
• Now all the entrepreneurs are expanding their business to earn more money.
• Community people also helping and encouraging the entrepreneurs.
• Community people have positive feedback about entrepreneur’s service.

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