Over the years, I Create India has developed the foremost Practical Entrepreneurship Development Process. It is the most successful program for the unemployed youth and the disadvantaged, especially women at the grassroots in India and has won many top International and national awards. Our expertise honed in over the years has been highly acclaimed for its simplicity, participatory and heavy experiential learning comprising of role plays, team work ,creative exercises and more. We have developed a successful facilitation pedagogy, manuals, worksheets, handouts, games and similar material to support our program
In order to accomplish its mission of creating job creators, I Create continues to share expertise and program with other govt, private sector and civil society institutions and organizations with mission similar to I Create. This sharing is done in a structured manner to avoid any dilution in the quality during implementation.
There are two models for this:
A. Setting up an individual I Create Center to serve a specified geographic area.
B. Institutionalizing the Entrepreneurship Development Process by partnering with institutions and organizations that have State or National level foot-print.
We call our approach to grass roots entrepreneurship training and development through decentralized service delivery (by our centers) and centralized knowledge pool, technical support and quality control (by I Create) as the Modified Business Format Franchising (MBFF).
We bring systemic approach of Business Format Franchising to the non-profit world through our MBFF model. We believe that even the non-profit organizations should be run on the principles of a disciplined business – with plans, accountability for performance, systems to handle all known and sometime unknown variations, fiscal responsibility etc. We call our model “Modified Business Format Franchise”, as certain aspects of BFF, like excessive standardization, over-bureaucratization and expenses like franchise fee etc., have been done away with and central theme of system-dependency (as opposed to people dependency) has been retained.
Any organization such as a Trust, Company or an individual that wishes to start Entrepreneurship Development Activity in a chosen geographic area can approach I Create with sponsorship for setting up and operating an I Create Center. After due-diligence about the organization or individual in terms of resources available and the mission and vision, a MoU is executed between the two parties.
Roles and responsibilities of Sponsor and I Create are clearly defined in the MoU.
I Create coordinates setting up and managing of the centers. It provides guidance to the centers in their program implementation and shares best practices from various centers. It makes the resources of MAGIC Fund available to the beneficiaries trained and mentored at these centers.
There is no franchise fee, royalty or marketing expenses to be paid to I Create.
Center sponsor provide necessary resources and guidance to Center Director in coordination with I Create. Sponsor is often invited to be a member of the Advisory Council of I Create
Organizations with large foot print and significant volume of beneficiaries with Entrepreneurship Development as a core mission also form strategic alliance with I Create. The partner organization sets up centers in multiple locations and I Create provides technical support to develop the Entrepreneurship Eco-System for the beneficiaries of the organization. Tweaking of the content and methodology is carried out, if warranted, based on the beneficiary profile.
Entrepreneurship Development Process can be broken down in to five distinct but interrelated stages. These stages are
A. Creating Awareness about Entrepreneurship
B. Providing Training in Entrepreneurial Skills
C. Mentoring Aspiring Entrepreneurs in putting their Business Plan together
D. Helping with Access to Finance and
E. Business Mentoring & Hand Holding during the initial stages of enterprise operation.
These stages are progressive and one needs to undertake the journey from being aware of benefits, pleasures and risks of entrepreneurship to starting an enterprise to implement a well thought out plan based on an idea that is both technically feasible and commercially viable.
As mentioned elsewhere, I Create has developed the foremost Practical Entrepreneurship Development Process. It is the most successful program for the unemployed youth and the disadvantaged especially women at the grassroots in India. I Create has developed content and methodology consisting of session plans, worksheets, hand outs, games, activities, checklists and such other material appropriate (our IP) for each stage of the process. This IP ( Intellectual Property ) is made available to facilitators for use in the sessions.
Facilitators are first trained by I Create at the Training of Trainers (TOT) program. TOT is both a “Know-How” and a “Show-How” program. Freshly trained facilitators are hand held by I Create while they conduct sessions. This is like on-the-job training for facilitators. This is a very crucial step, prior to Certifying the Facilitator as “I Create Certified Facilitator” and helps us prevent dilution of quality of I Create Program.
Facilitators are the critical link between the IP developed by I Create and it reaching the beneficiaries. All potential facilitators have to undergo the TOT program of I Create before they can start handling the sessions independently. TOT is typically a five full day-long program with batch ranging between 20 and 30.
Facilitators need to undergo refresher programs to ensure that they are up-to-date in terms of content and methodology. Such refresher programs are conducted by the Academy for the benefit of all Facilitators. Additionally, to ensure that the new facilitator is well versed in I Create methodology, we provide help by way of on-the-job training.
In certain situations, potential beneficiaries are to be made aware of Entrepreneurship in general and about I Create program in specific. The program is conducted over a two to three hour duration, wherein the participants are made aware of the pleasures and perils of entrepreneurship. They are given input about what is involved in an entrepreneur’s journey from idea to implementation and beyond. They are also made aware of the opportunities to participate in I Create programs. This program also helps in identifying potential beneficiaries for the next stage of the process - Aspiring Entrepreneurs Workshops (AEWs) of I Create. In short, this can act as the first selection sieve.
This is a typically five day workshop for a batch size of between 25 and 30 participants. The beneficiaries are motivated to learn more about the “how” of entrepreneurship and generally are equipped with a skill or hobby or domain knowledge they want to convert in to a business. In this highly interactive and fun-filled workshop of experiential learning, beneficiaries participate in team activities, group learning and learning by doing mode. At the end of the workshop they would have learnt about the steps involved in the journey from Idea to Execution and practiced doing it in teams and produced a business plan.
After the AEW, typically about six to ten (20 to 30% of participants) come forward to start their own business. These are the candidates who are put through the next stage - Business Plan Mentoring.
Candidates participating in this stage are highly motivated to start a business with an idea they would have finalized. Such individuals (protégés) are given one-on-one mentoring by I Create Mentors. The mentoring engagement can last anywhere from one month to three months, depending on the time spent by the protégé on the process of developing the business plans in all its aspects. Culmination of the mentoring process is a confident protégé with a business plan for implementation, in search of capital (if required). During the mentoring, protégé is made aware of various options available to get funding – starting with own capital, friends and family, various government schemes etc.
Protégé would have been made aware of during mentoring the various options for funding the project and he/she would have identified most appropriate one in the business plan. This is the starting point for seeking capital per plan. Protégé is guided in this by the mentor.
This stage of the process is when the individual has already started the business. He/she may face problems not anticipated in the plan and needs to talk and get counsel from somebody able to help. Our mentors take up this role. This is also a one-on-one process as the situations would be unique to the individual.