Isn’t entrepreneurship a spiritual process?

Destination 2: Art of Living, Bangalore

Jagriti Yatra is the journey of awakening, and the awareness leads to set greater goals in life and work passionately towards creating a better world. The second destination of Jagriti Yatra 2015 is Bangalore, which is well acclaimed as the Silicon Valley of India. This year the location was the Art of Living (AOL) centre in Bangalore, which turned out to be an amazing experience for the yatris.

The interactive session with the spiritual guru Shri Shri Ravi Shankar was indeed thought-provoking, and a real motivation for the yatris to lead a life of excellence. With its humble beginning as a small school in a sleepy village in 1981, Art of Living Foundation has now established its presence in 155 countries and empowering millions of people to live a peaceful life. A day on AOL and an interactive session of one hour with Shri Shri Ravi Shankar has made the day memorable for the yatris.

Here is the takeaway from the interactive session with the guru which is a piece of motivation for every passionate youth, “To be in a comfort zone is a sign of old age. What other feels difficult, it is entertainment for the youth.”

The noon session was also reviewed as equally motivating, as it started with a session by N. S. Parthasarathi, CEO of Mindtree. It followed with a panel discussion about Digital India, in which Shradha Sharma, Founder of Yourstory, took the role of moderator. Rahul Yadav, the brain behind Housing.com, was among the panelists, and the yatris listened to the story of his entrepreneurial journey.

JEN, a new edge to building middle India

Jagriti Enterprise Network (JEN) is yet another initiative by the core team of Jagriti to go a step ahead in its goal of building India through enterprises. It aims to institutionalise the wide and diverse network created out of the yatra each year and contribute a share to the development of middle India by enhancing the enterprise ecosystem. It enables the enterprise ecosystem accessible in small towns and villages through its network of facilitators at the district level.

JEN is closely linked to the JEC, which stands for elaborated as Jagriti Enterprise Network. In short JEC is the brick and mortar institution while JEN is the blood and sweat of Udyam Corps, and works for a common goal of building India through enterprises. Udyam Corps is the selected employees of JEN and they act as facilitators to bring in the support of the entrepreneurial network to the people in the underprivileged areas. They act as a support system for small and medium enterprises to get access to the top level management of organisations.

JEN aims to boost the entrepreneurial activity especially, in middle India by implementing a district level development framework and works at the grass root level in each district. JEN works with rural entrepreneurs by providing incubation facilities, giving access to funding sources, finding out the potential markets and helping to accelerate the business growth by proper planning and strategy implementation. Furthermore, local collaboration as well as exposure to the outer world is provided.

Hardly a year after its inception, JEN is now supporting three business projects in Deoria, an undeveloped village in the outskirts of Uttar Pradesh. By taking support of the JY network spread across the country, JEN has been able to help entrepreneurs to find potential markets to sell their products. JEN has a five member team dedicated to boosting the enterprise ecosystem in the selected locations initially and have already secured support from organisations like Tata Trust.

Amit Raj, who spearheads the JEN, was a facilitator during Jagriti Yatra in 2014. He is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Mines, Dhanbad, and has proven expertise in leadership, business development, and technology led business transformation. He has been working with Infosys for almost a decade in Australia, before he joined with JY. However, his entry into the JY family was pretty coincidental, although he was looking forward to volunteering opportunities in social sector back in India.

According to Amit, the attitude towards starting an enterprise among the communities in middle India has a long way to go. The major challenge JEN faces is to change the mindset of the people and they provide awareness programs for starting enterprises to meet the goal. As part of expanding the awareness about entrepreneurship, there are 12 yatris from Deoria in Jagriti Yatra 2015.

The mission of JEN is to nurture around 1 lakh entrepreneurs by 2022, when India celebrates its 75th Independence Day.Both JEN and JEC is part of a national mission of creating four centres of enterprise in four chosen cities, namely Deoria in Uttar Pradesh, Kajrat in Maharashtra, Madurai in Tamil Nadu, and Ganjam in Orissa. JEN looks forward to support around a hundred of enterprises and thereby provide employment for 1000 people by 2017.