When Small is Big

Dr. Trilok Kumar Jain
Published on: 3rd April 2014
My next few lines will be unacceptable to you, as you have been trained by the so called modern institutions to think big, really BIG. The modern entrepreneurship classes would not talk of such ideas. But, is it necessary to follow what everyone is blindly pursuing?

When everyone is talking about big projects, big investments and big entrepreneurial opportunities, there are still some people who are content with doing small. Common people now talk about billions and millions as if it is a small amount. I teach entrepreneurship and students come out with projects, which require millions of dollars as initial investment. Nobody talks about starting small ventures. The creative potential and the impact of a small venture is completely ignored. Can you dream of starting a very small and impact making business, which requires small capital, small resources and thrives on the creativity of a small group? People argue that if small can do wonders, the big should do even more. But that doesn't happen. Bigger the project more is the necessity to look at financial & administrative issues like break-even, profitability, survival and the really important issues get ignored. How many big projects really look at the social development as their fundamental objective? How many big projects really put human touch to their initiatives? The mechanisation of human relations is taken for granted. Individual issues are ignored completely. Sometimes this standardisation and uniformity kills individuality.
when small is big,entrepreneurship
Indian society like other so called under-developed regions has developed a rich social fabric, where small initiatives from the members of society help in protecting the society at large. It is not the government, nor any NGO that helps the common people, but mostly it is the next door neighbour. For ages, the so called under-developed countries have nurtured and protected a highly developed social development orientation, which is slowly dying its natural death with the government taking charge of welfare initiatives. Before this happens, there are persons like me, who can still appreciate beauty of this amazing social support mechanism. There is no charity, there is no name, there is no fame and there is no NGO either. It is just because we are humans. This touch of bare humanity will loose against the onslaught of the so called development and welfare orientation.

Do I appear to be more abstract and boring? Yes! I am. I should give you some example to illustrate my point. Annapurna Mahila Self Help Group in Sriganganagar (Rajasthan, India) is a small imitative to organise women to prepare food products like Papad, Badi, spices etc. It gives priority to the women, who have faced some or the other challenge. If a woman gets divorced, or a woman becomes widow, her life becomes a burden. Annapurna invites that woman to join it and start doing some productive activity. Such distressed woman would need more counseling, more financial support and more patience also.
Annapurna provides all these. The initial payments provided to such women are far more than their productivity so that they get motivation to restart the battle of life. Financial profit may be less, but the social impact is more. Annapurna has enabled many such women to become self-made entrepreneurs cum wage-earners today. This small initiative may not come in any newspaper or TV or may not be recognised by the government, yet it is able to change the lives of many. This is just one of the many such initiatives that I've noticed around me in smaller cities and villages. No large project has given me its parallels. The investment in such projects is tiny in comparison to big projects. For example, the investment that is required in creating refinery in Rajasthan, is enough to start about one million Annapurnas. Therefore, I wish to support these small initiatives. These small ventures are bigger, and make better impact than the so called bigger multi-million dollar projects.
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