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Entrepreneurship – Treading the untrodden path

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Kush Sharma:

Entrepreneur can be Manager but Manager can’t be Entrepreneur.

What’s the similarity between sympathetic bosses and Asiatic lions? Your guess is as good as mine! A vast majority of people don’t like to take orders or being bossed by someone, especially one whom they think is no better than themselves. After all, who doesn’t like to get armed with powers & privileges? Who doesn’t want to enjoy work or life by doing things in the manner one wishes to or getting due appreciation for one’s hard work? Well, entrepreneurship is all about enjoying liberty over what to do and how to do it. An entrepreneur is a person who takes upon himself a new enterprise or venture, one who challenges the status quo and faces all odds, risks and uncertainties with great courage & conviction. He exudes enormous self-confidence & vibrancy and galvanises people by his actions. He not only dares to dream big but he makes others visualise the same. Innovation or sense of difference is an integral part of an entrepreneur’s personality; an owner of a hotel would be called a businessman and not an entrepreneur but an owner of 75 hotels, 6 palaces, 12 resorts & spas spanning 40 destinations in 10 countries across 4 continents would be respected as an entrepreneur. You could be a business entrepreneur — one who finds and pursues the opportunity to gain financial or monetary gains or you could be a social entrepreneur — one who identifies a social problem, uses his entrepreneurial skills and initiates venture to eradicate the problem; it could be both not-for-profit & for profit.

Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurship — an art of managing a business could be taught and learnt. Various institutes and organisations are present throughout India to train the people from all walks of life. Apart from courses, several entities like Incubators, Business plan competitions, Simulations, Bank loans, Angel funding or Venture capitalist could lend a helping hand. A random but a valuable business idea related to social entrepreneurship has been discussed below to set the ball rolling.

Paper Recycling

India is an emerging economy which is growing annually by 7-8% and is expected to maintain a GDP growth of 8-10% till 2050. Currently the paper consumption in India is over 8.5 million tonnes and with the economy poised to get bigger in the future, demand is bound to grow. Industry experts put the paper demand more than 25 million tonnes by 2025. A country may meet the demand but at the cost of 3 billion trees and 100 billion gallons of water! Or another way to do this is to recycle used paper. But we all know that it is already being recycled. Yes, it is but at a pathetic recovery rate of 20% as compared to 70% in US, 80% in Germany & Thailand at 45%. Recycling Industry in India is still at a very nascent stage.

Currently India produces around 15 million tonnes of paper waste every year and large chunk of it finds its place in the landfills. But the interesting thing is that India imports 4.6 million tonnes (worth $ 750 million) every year from European and American continents because recycled paper is scarce in India and virgin paper is expensive. An entrepreneur can sense the opportunity in three basic domains: 1) Collecting the waste, 2) Recycling the waste or 3) Usage of recycled paper for various purposes. Though currently the industry is dominated by local shops or dealers, if researched properly, it will not be difficult to find several ventures that have already been initiated to organise & lead the industry. ITC is one of the major players who have stepped in with the collaboration of Ramky Enviro Engineers — India’s largest waste management company — with the initiative WOW (Wealth-out of-Waste). The initiative benefits all its stakeholders: (1) People – Extra income generated as they are paid Rs.4/kg for paper at their door step, (2) ITC -Availability of local raw materials that are cheaper by Rs.1000/tonne, (3) Municipality – 30% reduction in Solid waste generation which means saving of Rs. 30crores/year in collecting and transporting waste materials to landfills, (4) Government – Reduction in communicable diseases & (5) Environment – Reduction in waste means reduction in usage of natural resources and increased greenery. WOW is a classic example of social responsibility, economic feasibility & environmental impact. It has shown how a simple habit change can significantly benefit the company, the society and the country.

So, next time you throw away a sheaf of paper, do recollect that you are throwing away a business opportunity!

More can be learnt about recycling and entrepreneurship on the sites mentioned below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrepreneurship

http://www.ediindia.org/

http://www.nenonline.org/

www.dare.co.in/

http://www.inc.com/

http://www.ramkyenviroengineers.com/

http://www.cleanindia.org/resoucewatch/waste_paperecy.htm

http://www.ipma.co.in/recycle.asp

http://www.greenobin.com/home.aspx

http://snsvo9.seekandsource.com/srijayalakshmienterprises/

Entrepreneur is not a personality, it’s a mentality!

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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