On 7 November 2023, ATPAR’s Incubation Programme at BIMTECH Campus concluded with a Convocation for 80 NEDAR Network Entrepreneurs with Disabilities. This groundbreaking initiative provided financial support and mentorship to Persons with Disabilities (PwD). The convocation ceremony was presided over by the Chief Guest, Shri Rajesh Aggrawal IAS Secretary, DEPwD MSJE, in recognition of the successful completion of an impactful virtual incubator programme established by the AIC BIMTECH and NEDAR Foundation.
In the convocation address, Shri Rajesh Aggarwal underscored the necessity for a societal paradigm shift to enable Persons with Disabilities to pursue self-employment and entrepreneurship. Following the accounts of several participants regarding the most significant obstacles they encountered, Mr. Aggarwal expressed his intention to look for ways in which certain gaps in the funding process could be addressed and further advocated for increased social funding through digital processes to assist individuals with disabilities. He appreciated the Virtual process of the Incubation Program of NEDAR Foundation and the Returnable interest free Grant process supported by Partners - Collective Good Foundation-Samhita Social Ventures and USAID which was directly administered on a paperless mode making it easy for the Entrepreneurs to get comprehensive resources and strategic guidance.
Dr. H. Chaturvedi, Director, BIMTECH while welcoming the Chief Guest, highlighted the mission is to promote and support Entrepreneurs with Disabilities across the country. Furthermore, he emphasised how every micro business unit has a significant potential for self-reliance while simultaneously giving back to society.
Thilakam Rajendran & KV Rajendran, Director of the NEDAR Foundation, emphasised that the ecosystem still has some voids, such as Street Vendors lacking licences and micro and nano enterprises lacking accessible incubator support, among others. They have also shared their story on how they were able to bring the participants together and develop the NEDAR Entrepreneurs Business Network – currently having over 225 Members from across 18 States. (NEDAR is an acronym for – Network of Entrepreneurs With Disabilities for Assistance and Rehabilitation)
The entire programme was built on a mentorship cohort that ran for 40 hours prior to convocation, AIC-BIMTECH as an execution partner to ATPAR, performed critical roles in spreading knowledge to participants and touching on various entrepreneurial themes. The participants run various micro businesses such as manufacturing of Corner Shelves, Shoe Soles, Carry Bags etc., Retail & Service Sectors – like Common Service Centres, Tiffin Service, Tailoring shop, Mobile repair shops, Fast food stall, Tea and snacks stall, a fruit seller and many more that we see every day providing a small but significant percentage to our economy. Supporting individuals through the SAMBHAV programme in areas such as business expertise, legal and compliance, money management, marketing, and knowledge of government programmes such as MSME and UDYAM registration and Mudra Loan. It was a challenge to disseminate information in a local language devoid of jargon; over eight mentors devoted countless hours of study and assistance to instruct participants. All eight micro- entrepreneurs who have earned a certificate of completion and received Rupees twenty thousand (20,000) interest-free returnable grant through the Revive Programme of the Collective Good Foundation – Samhita Social Venture, which is funded by USAID India.
Above all, the event was attended by over 120 participants which included 80 entrepreneurs with Disabilities, Dr. K.C Arora, acting CEO AIC-BIMTECH, Ms. Veena Reddy, Mission Director – USAID India, Mr. Arman Ali, ED, NCPEDP, Mr. Anil Kumar, GM & Mr RK Mishra, GM from NDFDC, Ms. Ritu Halder, ED, Samhita Social Venture, Ms. Imrana Khera, USAID and many others including members of NEDAR Entrepreneurs Network.