Incubation support is widely accepted as an important ingredient in the entrepreneurial eco-system for promoting entrepreneurship. Incubation centres at premier institutions like IIT’s and IIM’s have been successfully churning out entrepreneurs .In these incubation centres, technology , infrastructure and mentoring support become the main drivers in facilitating enterprise creation and today we have innumerable examples of successful start-ups with innovative ideas and venture funding from various incubation centres .
In a country like India, promotion of enterprises in the rural sector has to be an important component of the development strategy. Rural incubation support in areas like agro and food processing ,handloom and handicraft can play a vital role in promoting micro enterprises. An Entrepreneurship cum Skill Development Programme by itself is not enough for grounding enterprises. Through such a programme, a trainee becomes aware of opportunities available and is motivated to start a business but that by itself is not enough to start a venture and sustain. Once the programme is over, the aspiring entrepreneurs are often at a loss as to how to take forward their business plan .The gestation period between applying for a loan to getting it sanctioned often becomes too difficult to sustain and many such aspirants go back to their comfort zone. It is at this juncture that an incubation centre can play a big role. Business opportunities in the rural sector is mostly in the agri,handloom and handicraft sector and incubation centres in these sectors can work as a springboard for micro enterprises to emerge.
Experimenting through the Incubation centre on Readymade Garments at the Indian Insitute of Entrepreneurship for the last three years have yielded some very positive results. Through this centre post skill development training handholding support for market access is provided.Skilling by itself is not enough to start a business. What is needed is further support on developing proficiency in finishing and understanding the market. By receiving this entire support at the readymade garments incubation centre,20 incubatees from four different states of North east-Arunachal Pradesh,Sikkim,Mizoram and Assam in the last two years are today self-employed and many are planning to scale up o the next level. What is most interesting is that 90% of the incubatees were school and college dropouts. The skill training and incubation support helped them to gain confidence, understand the market and earn their livelihood. Two incubates from Sikkim have started their retail outlet and are planning to scale up further. However it is seen that more educated a person is, greater is the possibility of scaling up. There are two graduate incubates from Assam who have started their micro enterprises on Readymade garment making and bag making .Their background helped them to capitalise on the opportunities and start on an enterprise mode.
These examples reinforce the role that Incubation Centres in sectors like handloom,handicraft and agri sector can play in facilitating enterprise creation amongst school and college drop-outs across the country.