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Conducive business environment, talented youth to contribute for Atmanirbhar J&K: LG Sinha

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Youth for Atmanirbhar Jammu and Kashmir’

Delivers keynote address at IIT-2020 Global Summit

Jammu, Dec 5: Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha Saturday said youth armed with new innovative ideas are ready to realize the entrepreneurial dreams and in turn contribute to making ‘Atmanirbhar Jammu and Kashmir’.

“We have a conducive environment, a robust grass-roots democratic system and talented young men and women to set up innovative business and services,” Sinha said while delivering the keynote address at the ‘IIT-2020: The Future is Now’ a global summit organised by PanIIT USA, according to an official spokesperson.

Sharing his views on the global business environment, the Lt Governor said: “We are devising new paths, new policies, and new technological tools to strengthen our business ecosystem for the post-pandemic world”.

“I have four Mantras for the ‘Present’ and a ‘New Future’- Peace, Progress, Prosperity, and People First. Being a civil engineering student, I realize that in order to create sustainable development, our growth prospects must depend significantly on policies that are inclusive, people-centric, focus on domestic investment and consumption while at the same time are enabled to compete with top players in the global market.”

While lauding the invaluable contributions of the IIT alumni in nourishing business ecosystem to life and engineering the sustainable future, the Lt Governor remarked, “In India, we have an oasis of talent, it may look like a small drop on the global stage, but they are tributaries of a great river of technology innovation and evolution. IITs and IITians have again demonstrated their capabilities by coming up with innovative solutions to tackle COVID”.

Speaking on business opportunities in J&K, he said, “We have a conducive environment, a robust grass-root democratic system and talented young men and women to set up innovative business and services.”

The Lt Governor highlighted the achievements made towards promoting budding entrepreneurs and said that the UT Government has exceeded the initial target of extended handholding to 8600 young boys and girls, two from each 4290 Panchayats, for setting up their business, and within three weeks, for which more than 12,000 applications were received.

“There are new found dreams of youth of Jammu and Kashmir who are keen to exploit rich dividends of real democracy and do something extraordinary for themselves and the society. We have sanctioned all the cases and today I can proudly say within a short span of a month, in our Union Territory, we have added a team of entrepreneurs in different sectors. These harbingers of change at the grass-roots with right assistance from administration can offer long-term and sustainable solutions to diverse sectors and also improve the business environment in the Jammu Kashmir Union Territory,” the LG said.

The Lt Governor also shared his views on new entrepreneurs and current challenges, and said that the current crisis and the turmoil in several sectors have opened the doors of challenges and opportunities for new entrepreneurs.

 

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Entrepreneurship

Finding money out of business idea and not business idea out of money

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Finding money out of business idea

An entrepreneurial voyage

Dhaar Mehak M

The entrepreneurs approached SIDCO in order to call for help.The most important consideration of a sustainable business is market knowledge. This is followed by the viability of output and the approximate industrial location. Ibrahim Rah, a man stating from the battle to survive himself and sustain his family at an early age came a long way while establishing his firm, ‘Rock-Land Sang Tarash’ along with his friend and partner Bilal Malik. The highlight of this business unit is that the duo has expertise in ‘Hamam’ making and have lately been successfully installing Hamam’s in the first and second stories of the houses in and across south Kashmir.

Practising the skills with hammers and stones, Ibrahim learnt the art of engraving over stones from his father. Like any other local, the toll of conflict did reach his individuality and his elder brother got shot by a random bullet in the 1990s. Soon after, his father passed away in an accident and the young kid was left alone and unaided to take care of his family. Struggling at every step, as he grew old day by day, he gained skill. He wanted to do something big with and about the stones right from the beginning. Managing to sustain his family at the margin for years, he moved out to Saudi Arabia in 2011, worked hard doing stone and tile work and came back in 2015.

Finding money out of business idea

Coming back, Ibrahim tried his best to find a partner to start his long due dream of starting the stone factory. A person agreed to join in and put in a little money. Jointly the duo pooled a basic sum to buy a machine used to cut stones. At the eleventh hour, however, the person backed off and the dream that seemed farfetched till date started to sink. In 2017, Ibrahim was installing Hamam at an acquaintance’s home. While having tea with him in the evening the journey as it is coming up in conversation and the acquaintance said that he was ready and confident in pooling in for a partnership.

When everything was falling apart, exactly at that point a new beginning was being carved from the rubble. Ibrahim went back to Rajasthan ordered the machine and stayed there for three months learning everything he didn’t know and specializing in taking care of the machine. As soon as the machine was ready, they transported it to Kashmir and parked it at home. In 2018, the land got allotted to the duo (Ibrahim and Bilal) in the (SICOP) Vessu Industrial estate of Qazigund. Soon after fencing, gate fixing and generation installation, the first machine was finally installed and the production began in the Fall of 2020 after the clearance of all NoCs and the appropriate registration of the unit.

Finding money out of business idea

Currently, the ‘Rock-Land Sang Tarash’ unit is classified as a micro-unit as per the MSMEs definition (2020) based on the value of their ‘Plant and Machinery. The current turnover of the unit is limited given the infancy of its operation. The unit currently employs four machine operators, twenty labourers and two drivers; all locals. The unit specializes in Hamam installation (on any floor of the house), stone cutting, tile making, stone panelling and other related things. The vision of Ibrahim along with Bilal and the entrepreneurial zest makes this unit a uniquely inspiring story of struggle, entrepreneurial spirit and steady growth. The current plans of the duo include further specialization and innovation in stone designing for houses and offices. With no proper mechanism of advertisement in place yet, the unit has a growing client-ship based on grape-wine.

The story of Ibrahim has certain underlying entrepreneurial lessons. The lesson he sums up from his own struggle is the notion of finding money out of business ideas and not the other way round. No entrepreneurial milestone could be reached till the person tastes dust for himself. At a more universal level, the story of the Rock-Land Sang Tarash is well-grounded in the principle of feasibility and viability of the business. Given the cold weather in the region, the obsession of people with the construction of up-to-date houses and the warm-blooded human nature compelling people to keep themselves warm; the viability of a stone unit in the region is quite obvious. In light of this example, a practical lesson is put forward for all the aspiring and potential entrepreneurs of checking and accessing the feasibility of a production line/business unit in the region (of J&K) before investing in an(y) idea.

Finding money out of business idea

The local market in J&K is still a big income booster for the firms located across India given the consumer nature and income level of the state. If researched properly and accessed with a vision, the industrial potential of J&K is deemed to touch great heights capturing the local market and decreasing the problem of unemployment. At the same time, the stories of struggle can be translated into anecdotes of success made of hard, smart and steady work…

The author is an industrial researcher and can be reached at [email protected] 

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Entrepreneurship

The Rise and Fall of ESSAI Industries | A tale of Kashmir entrepreneurship

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Rise and Fall of ESSAI Industries

Dhaar Mehak M

The entrepreneurs approached SIDCO in order to call for help.Given the context and historicity of the state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir (JK), the public sector influence on the industrialization process in the region has been considerably high. As such, the Department of Industries and Commerce has been the nodal public sector agency to control, coordinate and guide the industrialization process in J&K right from 1970.

One of the main corporations of the Industries Department is the J&K State Industries Development Corporation’ (SIDCO). The aim of the government behind setting up this corporation was to accelerate the process of industrialization in J&K in an advanced and modernistic manner. The main function of SIDCO is to promote the development of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in J&K. It is equally responsible to undertake all the Research and Development (R&D) pertaining to viability of potential units in light of location, economy, market and other business viability conditions. The smooth functioning of the firms located within the industrial estates falling in its jurisdiction are completely the responsibility of the ‘Institutional Entrepreneur’ that SIDCO is described to be.

In light of the growing job demand and falling job availability of the people, the J&K Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) was established in 1997 as a premier training institute of the DIC. The main aim behind establishing the JKEDI is to put in place, foster and uphold the growth of entrepreneurship in J&K. As such, the JKEDI has been facilitating young enthusiastic and potential entrepreneurs with training, seed capital and other resources to undertake productive activities.

Rise and Fall of ESSAI Industries

And on the receiving end in one unique case are two young dynamic entrepreneurs who left their jobs in order to venture together into self-employment giving vent to their entrepreneurial spirits. Having decided to quit the 9-5 job, two of them began to research the local market and the suppliers that dominated the J&K market. One stark thing found during 2010-11 was that 98% of ‘nails’ used in the construction of all sorts across J&K are imported from the rest of the country and only 2% of the demand is met by local production. No matter the size of a nail, the fact of the matter is that the construction industry dominated J&K and ‘nails’ are a fundamental requirement in any sort of construction.

After exhaustive research, the two young men decided to start the first ‘Wall-Putty’ unit in the region. The ‘ESSAI industries’ as they named it in high hope, were facilitated by JKEDI in setting up their plant. The unit was started by employing eight people in 2013 in the Lassipora Industrial Growth Center, Pulwama falling under SICDO. The unit started off well as recalled by the duo with a market response better than their expectations.

The Flood of 2014 disrupted the production for around six months and the production was resumed in the spring of 2015. The shock of 2016 partially hampered the production process and during 2017 the production, supply, marketing and demand were as high as it could get. With this, the obvious business plan of the extension was set in the plan and the ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NoC) for the construction of ‘Plaster of Paris’ (PoP) was attained from SIDCO itself. The construction of the unit began in the March of 2018, on 4 Kanal of land in the same estate. The project cost of the PoP plant was 3.56 crore in 2018 and the trial batch was produced in the March of 2020.

Rise and Fall of ESSAI Industries

Soon after the production of the trial batch the dusting issue surfaced, which was obvious given the existent technology and practices of production pan-India and ironic in light of the NoC already given to the entrepreneurs. The vicinity reported dusting issues. Queries and complaints surfaced. And given the principle of ‘greatest good of greatest number’ the production of the PoP plant was brought to a halt. The market share of the unit declined drastically. The unit failed to meet the suppliers’ demands on time. Delays became a routine and order cancellations increased. About 45 people employed in the unit lost their jobs with the shutting down of the plant. With this, the ESSAI industries and their celebrated PoP vanished from the market leaving the entrepreneurs to find non-obvious ways to pay off the debts.

The entrepreneurs approached SIDCO in order to call for help. The very genuine and obvious demands of the unitholders are to auction the closed unit and relocation of the firm so that production could be resumed. It has been observed that the authorities have failed over the past two years to undertake these two simple tasks in order to liberate the duo from the crisis they are facing. The auctioning notices (one or two) have failed to materialize. No relocation is being facilitated and no committee is being made to look deeper into the issue and no solution has been proposed to date.

Rise and Fall of ESSAI Industries

At the individual level, the duo has been liquidating their household assets to repay the debts and pay the banks. During 2020-21 they have repaid Rs 32 lakh to the bank while there has been no production. Both the entrepreneurs who are in their 30s are facing hypertension and are on high medication. They have been living stressful lives all of a sudden with the halt in production and facing a downfall that is technically unjustified. While narrating their woeful story they sigh remembering the good times when they were capturing the local market and doing excellently well in business.

The most important outcomes from examples like these are the wrong market signalling. Instances like the above one make entrepreneurship look risky and non-rewarding. In the region of J&K where the job market is already constrained and the unemployment rate is 22%, the only viable solution is that of self-employment, the scope of administrative bottlenecks and callous approach is literally nil. DIC and all its affiliated corporations must revisit their mandates and understand the serious role they are charged with. While the above issue should have been sorted out in a weeks’ time, it can’t be left lingering in thin air for years at a stretch. This write-up will be followed back in three months’ time to access the latest development on the self-employment scenario in the region in light of the case just highlighted here.

The author is an industrial researcher and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

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Entrepreneurship

Culture of an organisation and changing it

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Culture of an organisation

BY Mohammad Mutaher Zerger

Culture of an organisation! So what is this culture? Something we subscribe to once we enter an organisation. Something that needs to be learnt? Something that’s aloud? Well, culture is culture, whether it is of a civilisation, a species or a family. It’s something, which is an invisible code of conduct, something which a person is accustomed/ acclimatised to, over a period of time, being at where he is.
Culture is like the atmosphere. It is invisible, yet its effect is felt and felt strongly. If you are able to survive within this atmosphere/ adapt to it, you feel better there, if not, you feel hypoxia.
Lots of startups these days feel the need for a culture; actually there, always is one, but it’s not the one which is feasible for their organisation now, it isn’t keeping pace with the pace of the development of that organisation, their demand is to become more adaptive and innovative and for that their culture needs to be the one which enhances that adaptation and innovation, aiding their rapid growth and expansion. So they are actually looking for a Cultural Change.
Culture change is often the most challenging part of the transformation of this young organisation. Innovation and speed demand new behaviours from leaders and employees that are often opposing/hostile to corporate cultures; which has historically been adapted/ has historically come into existence.
Culture change can’t be achieved through top-down mandates or SOP. It lives in the collective hearts and habits of people and their long term perception of “how things are done around here. Someone with authority can’t demand compliance to culture, it’s within.
Well, What are some of the things we can do to enhance the change of the auto-adapted culture of an organisation?
Simply explaining the need for a change of a culture is not going to change it, there are some vital practical steps (among numerous ones) which an organisation needs to employ over a period of time to bring in that some change in the culture, and make this culture bend towards the direction the organisation wants it to bend towards.
Cause of existence of an organisation and its benefit to society and employees at large:
The growth and actions of the organisation should speak about the benefits it is imparting to the society and employees at large; the growth should be synchronised with the vision; what this rapid growth has in store for the employee and the society as well. Some short term benefits should be employed immediately and long term ones should be clear without any fog. This will give the employee an inert, inner, sense of security, which will auto help him, adapt to the cultural change, without him consciously knowing that he is adapting to this change of culture; actually without him knowing that culture is changing.

Creating the Networks of Change

Advocacy of change and its benefits to the organisation and people within and outside the organisation should be aloud. It can be so when an organisation creates a network of advocates who have understood the benefits of this change, and this network goes out and re-networks and again re-network to make this change understood to the masses at large. It takes its similarity with the adaption of the religions worldwide, where the missionaries go all out to spread it, advocating its benefits for the one who adapts it and to the society at large.

Creating Dissemination Platforms

Creating dissemination platforms is vital for understanding the response. It’s like having dual communication with the people who are the recipients of this cultural change. Encouraging the employees and leaders to interact on these platforms is required.

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