Indo-US 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Program

University of Calcutta

Claflin University

Project Outline

Promoting Eco-friendly Entrepreneurship Development For Women in West Bengal

The proposed program for Promoting Eco-friendly Entrepreneurship Development For Women in West Bengal presents a collaborative three year project in the area(s) of sustainable development and community development jointly developed by the University of Calcutta as the lead institution and Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC, U.S.A. The goals of this project are to form a consortium for research on sustainable development and to collaborate with the University of Calcutta faculty in developing a program within the Business school for promoting eco-entrepreneurship among women in the state of West Bengal. Claflin University's faculty members will participate in a long term consortium for research on sustainabledevelopment and eco-entrepreneurship in Kolkata and share their knowledge with their graduate students as well as the greater Orangeburg area clients of the Center for Small Business Development at Claflin. The primary objectives of the proposed collaborative program are (1) To establish a Center for Sustainable Eco-entrepreneurship Development at the University of Calcutta (2) To use NGO resources to offer a certification program to urban women in West Bengal.

This partnership will generate a new model for a springboard program that will be sustained in West Bengal sites. The visits in the faculty-student exchange program will enable both universities to collaborate on research in sustainable eco-entrepreneurship among women in both countries.

The specific objectives of the proposed collaborative program will be:

  • To establish the Center for Sustainable Eco-entrepreneurship Development under the joint supervision of the Department of Business Management and the Women's Studies Research Centre at the University of Calcutta.
  • By using the expertise of faculty members from Claflin University and other consultants from the U.S.A., a modular training program in eco-friendly small/micro business development for faculty and graduate students will be developed at the University of Calcutta to create a pool of trainers for the Indian Women's Eco-Entrepreneurship Program (IWEP).
  • By using the existing NGO resources, in collaboration with Claflin, the new Center will offer a modular training program to award certification in eco-friendly entrepreneurship for urban women in the areas of effective communication skills, small/micro business management skills, and technology integration skills in business management.
  • To establish long term collaboration between the University of Calcutta and Claflin University to build capacity and expertise among the faculty in sustainable eco-entrepreneurship. Faculty from both institutions will conduct research on the data collected from the programs established. The program will hold an annual conference at the University of Calcutta to promote research on sustainable entrepreneurship with women's eco-entrepreneurship as a significant area of focus. If funded, this project will not only promote eco-friendly entrepreneurship development but also create long term collaboration between the two institutions in the areas of environment friendly small/micro business research and community development. The proposed program requests Rs. 14,560,000 ($242,700) with cost-sharing from both universities.

The goal of this project is to train and support sustainable entrepreneurial development among urban women from diverse communities in the state of West Bengal. The Indian Women's Eco-Entrepreneurship Program (IWEP) is an outreach, education, and engagement initiative that will focus on Indian women entrepreneurs to promote business growth, increase trade both regionally and internationally, create better business environments, and empower Indian women entrepreneurs to become voices of change in their communities. There will be an emphasis on promoting environmental sustainability through the development of recycling microbusiness among women.

Building on the SHG-NABARD foundation already in place, through the Indian Women's Eco-Entrepreneurship Program (IWEP), we seek through social innovation to help dismantle the obstacles to business opportunities and economic participation that Indian women face. The initiative identifies and builds networks of women entrepreneurs across India poised to transform their societies by owning, running, and operating micro and small businesses, and by becoming voices for social justice in their communities.

The women selected for the program enroll in customized certificate programs for four weeks. Topics covered include marketing, accounting, writing business plans and accessing capital. Investing in the power of women is one of the most effective ways to reduce inequality and facilitate inclusive economic growth.World Bank research has shown that investing in education for women has a significant multiplier effect, leading to more productive workers, healthier and better-educated families, and ultimately to more prosperous communities.

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