Saturday, July 20, 2013

Esha as Incubator for the VI entrepreneurs

Yesterday, in a very invigorating discussion with SOIL students on what Esha is and is not, i was trying to stress the point that Esha is in the business of creating entrepreneurs, not contract workers. So the invoice goes in the name of the person and s/he gets the money directly.

And a very old Friend of Esha, sitting nearby, said, "So basically, you are a VC for the VI ?"

At that time, it seemed like a very good way of putting what we do at esha. we train them, incutabe them, mentor them till they are ready to open their wings and fly on their own.

But later, the more i thought about it the more intriguing it became. Like an epiphany, it occured: We dont incubate entrepreneurs. We look for employment options and design solutions and train. A very crucial element is missing here - the fire within. For an entrepreneur, the fire burns within him/her. Its not implanted from someone else.

And thats what's missing in our model - we do not listen to ideas that the VI might have, and then incubate them on these ideas.

And why dont we do it?
A. Most of our people dont know the open market enough to diagnose unmet needs and come up with solutions. They know the VI market very well, and in discussions with them, i have seen them come up with improvement areas for the VI space. So, thats a limitation. We might have to hear 100 ideas, maybe 500, before arriving at a viable one. Thats a risk and headache all incubators take.
B. The mindset. Like all Indians, they are brought up on the assurance of a govt job as a panacea for all financial problems and life problems. It is very hard, really, to break that mindset and think outside that box.

Neither of these, however, is a reason why we should NOT start that model - of listening to people who are visually challenged and want to start a business. Why Not?

So, we're on. The Esha model hereby undergoes a small change and incorporates a new area - we will now, also listen to original business ideas. if we have the moneys, we will do funding. Otherwise, we will mentor and provide guidance through highly qualified and committed Friends of Esha.

What do you think?

No comments: