Harvard South Asia Institute and Tata Trusts Concludes Project on “Livelihood Creation in India Through Social Entrepreneurship and Skill Development”

~ Showcases Project Outcomes In Three Publications Released In The Event ~

Bangalore, January 23rd, 2016:  The Harvard South Asia Institute (SAI) in collaboration with Tata Trusts successfully concluded the 18-months project on ‘Livelihood Creation In India’ (http://southasiainstitute.harvard.edu/livelihood-creation-project/) in an event hosted in New Delhi today. The event was graced by Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, who also delivered the keynote address.

Harvard South Asia Institute and Tata Trusts Concludes Project on “Livelihood Creation in India Through Social Entrepreneurship and Skill Development”

The event showcased an overview of ‘Livelihood Creation in India’ that focuses on three key areas: Rural Livelihood Creation in the handicrafts and handloom sectors; Educational, Social and Economic Empowerment of Women; and Science and Technology-based Social Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Shashank Shah, Visiting Scholar, Harvard Business School and Project Director and Fellow Harvard University SAI, who led the project said, “The Harvard SAI Team visited over 40 crafts enterprises across 10 states in India to study various implementation models and understand the challenges and issues faced by grass root organisations. These provided valuable insights. The major challenges faced by the sector could be classified into eight broad categories: policy and regulatory environment; working with artisans; sales and marketing; fundraising; human resources; scaling up; communications; and monitoring, evaluation and quality control.”
The project aimed at addressing these challenges and filling the capacity gaps through residential workshops jointly conducted by Harvard Faculty and in-region experts. Over 50 crafts enterprises from 15 states of India were shortlisted for the workshop, which focused on themes including artisan outreach, product design, process innovation and supply chain efficiency, branding and merchandizing, fundraising, policy and certifications, scale, management and growth, and the use of online platforms and social media. During the workshop, the participants were immersed in the signature Harvard Business School case methodology. The workshop on science and technology based social entrepreneurship was conducted in collaboration with IIT Delhi and focused on diverse themes including business perspectives to social entrepreneurship, perspectives from the government, design for success and impact, perspectives from the industry, and leveraging external resources. Over 25 social entrepreneurs from 14 states were shortlisted for this workshop.

A vital part of this project was to stimulate interventions and scale up existing initiatives that can lead to greater impact in select geographies. Social innovation grants totalling INR 50 lakhs were given to 12 budding social entrepreneurs and crafts enterprises in India to achieve this objective.

Professor Tarun Khanna, Director, Harvard University South Asia Institute; Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School; and Chairman, NITI Aayog Expert Committee on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Government of India, and faculty chair of this project, shared the project findings and outcomes with the audience. Explaining about the project, he said, “The South Asian Region is a laboratory for entrepreneurship, technological advancement and cultural diversity. The Harvard SAI consistently makes efforts to use its multi-disciplinary faculty expertise to contribute to India and the region with research-based learnings and interventions.”
“The core objective at Tata Trusts”, said Ganesh Neelam, Head Technology and Innovations, Tata Trusts and Director -Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives (CInI) & Foundation for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (FISE) “is ‘Making a sustainable difference in the quality of life’ for communities we work with. Science and technology play a critical role in resolving the challenges faced by them and the Trusts’ collaboration with Harvard University SAI is a step towards identifying some of the best possible technology solutions, to address barriers being faced in the areas of livelihoods, healthcare and education to name a few. With the key focus being scalable social impact, this programme brings together multi-sectoral strengths to create a platform for capacity elevation and innovation across the country.

“Tata Trusts have historically supported visionary individuals and organizations with the passion to promote India's rich crafts and their potential for creating dignified livelihoods for our artisans. This collaborative effort with Harvard University SAI is an effort to build an engaging network of organizations that share a common purpose to rejuvenate India's crafts and its practicing artisan communities with the intent to deliver catalytic economic and social impact. Social entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations and artisan collectives came together under this unique program to learn from each other, get mentoring, pitch innovative ideas and receive seed funding to fund a passion project. The intent was to create an enriching experience for key players in the sector to help deliver resilient and sustained impact in artisan communities they work with” said Reshma Anand, Head Partnerships, Strategy and Crafts, Tata Trusts.
Later, two panel discussions followed. The first one was on Rural Livelihood Creation in the Indian Crafts Sector, anchored by Dr. Vandana Bhandari, Former Dean and Professor National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi. The second on ‘Science and Technology Based Social Entrepreneurship’ was anchored by Professor Tarun Khanna.

As a culmination of the project, the Harvard team released three publications which include reflections by subject experts and showcase some high impact interventions by participating organisations. These included:
Innovation in Tradition: Rural Livelihood Creation in the Indian Crafts Sector
Science for Society: Science and Technology Based Social Entrepreneurship
Task-shifting in Healthcare: Reframing the AYUSH Debate

While a series of webinars and workshops were conducted by subject experts including Harvard faculty members, as part of this project, now ‘Livelihood Creation In India’ will host a web portal that will include information generated during this project. It will focus on the above mentioned thematic areas to promote the socio-economic advancement of women. The portal will also showcase best practices and innovative interventions, feature organizations outlining the work they do, include developments in technology, training programs and resource material created by organizations, and collate precedents on data collection, research capabilities and data evaluation.

About Harvard University’s South Asia Institute
The Harvard South Asia Institute (SAI) engages faculty and students through interdisciplinary programs to advance and deepen the teaching and research on global issues relevant to South Asia. Over the past decade, SAI has built an extensive network of stakeholders across India who have played significant roles impacting social entrepreneurship and livelihood creation in the country. Its network includes over 1,700 Harvard alumni across disciplines who have returned to India and lead organizations in the public and private sector, and over 100 faculty members who focus their cutting-edge research and teaching on issues and subjects directly related to South Asia. SAI organizes 70 events annually which include seminars, symposiums, workshops and webinars in Boston (USA) and in India. Through these meetings, SAI regularly partners with experts and leaders in the government, academia and civil society organizations.

About the project
Under the project, 125 organizations from across 15 states in India were shortlisted through a rigorous selection process. Based on the needs of the participating organizations, four capacity building and strengthening workshops were developed and delivered in January-February 2016 with the overarching themes of ‘Rural Livelihood Creation in the Indian Crafts Sector’ and ‘Science and Technology Based Social Entrepreneurship’. A total of 16 organizations also received social innovation grants of INR 50 lakhs. A total of 12 organizations have been showcased in the publications.

About Tata Trusts
Tata Trusts is amongst India's oldest, non-sectarian philanthropic organisations that work in several areas of community development.  Since its inception, Tata Trusts has played a pioneering role in transforming traditional ideas of philanthropy to make impactful sustainable change in the lives of the communities served. Through direct implementation, co-partnership strategies and grant making, the Trusts support and drive innovation in the areas of education; healthcare and nutrition; rural livelihoods; natural resources management; enhancing civil society and governance and media, arts, crafts and culture. Tata Trusts continue to be guided by the principles of its Founder, Jamsetji Tata and through his vision of proactive philanthropy, the Trusts catalyse societal development while ensuring that initiatives and interventions have a contemporary relevance to the nation. For more information, please visit http://tatatrusts.org I Social Media handles: Twitter:@tatatrusts / Facebook: Tata Trusts / Instagram: tata_trusts.