The promise of SELCO Incubation support to be very operational begins on each of the incubatee locations spread in - Guwahati, Barpeta, Shillong, Imphal, Khargapur, Lakhikantapur, Cooch Behar, Unnao, Lucknow and Udaipur. Post the week long induction program, each of us at the SELCO Incubation team spread out to get a first hand account of the entrepreneur's region and the challenges associated with it. The objective of the visits were to get the pilot program off the ground. This helped them establish the customer segment, get some feedback about customer expectations on the price, quality, service and start building financial linkages. A series of demonstrations were lined up and helped them boost their confidence on how to handle questions on affordability, technology and financing for solar lights. We had a banker's training at the Mewar Aanchalik Gramin Bank which gave an overview of the experience of Aryavart Gramin Bank, Uttar Pradesh.
The SELCO Incubation Centre held its formal induction of the inaugural batch of incubatee’s spread over a week in Bangalore (October 8 - 12, 2012). The induction phase is the start of the philosophy and knowledge transfer over one year duration to each entrepreneur. The critical portion of the mentoring is to induce the business philosophy which seeks to delicately balance the social needs and also building a financially sustainable business. We sought out to load the group with a packed agenda but realized that the process of this ‘knowledge transfer’ will be gradual and experiential. Hence, we boiled down our primary objective of the week long induction as follows:
- Firsthand account of SELCO philosophy and operations
- Mentoring time from SELCO senior management time on various management and business topics
- Field challenges and troubleshooting mechanisms for the pilot and customer segmentation
Below (L to R) Devakishore Soraisam – Manipur Arindam Dasgupta – Assam Manish Khare – Madhya Pradesh Rustum Sengupta – UP & Rajasthan Above (L to R) Mahinder Pal Singh – Punjab Fazle Illahi – Assam A.L.Suiting - Meghalaya
On the invitation of Prof.Madhukar Shukla we went to Jamshedpur in the hunt for solar energyentrepreneurs around Jharkhand region. The serene location at the Xavier Institute of Labor Relations Institute was where we were hosted. Jamshedpur is named after Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata - the founder of the Tata Group. The city is a true setting to witness a social enterprise which was formed to house the Tata Steel. The Tata Sons have a legacy of how their businesses have sustained the communities where they set up base. Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata and the city in the background
SELCO and the senior management has been vocal about the idea of an incubation centre's initiative since January 2012. The publicity it received from all the media in various events has garnered interest among a pool of potential applicants. Hence, we had a backlog of candidates who had met both Ashis Sahu and Harish Hande in the past twelve months. Once the SELCO Incubation Centre was established and we had the communication material ready, we intimated all the candidates who had got in touch with us in this regard. All the applicants were asked to fill in the application form on the website following which we did a telephonic interview.
Ashis Sahu addressing the candidates in Bangalore