Bridge IT Project
About Bridge IT: It is aptly named Bridge IT (Information Technology), a micro entrepreneurship program that aims to provide livelihood opportunities and bridge the IT gap between urban and rural India by building the capacity of rural youth in e-entrepreneurship. Bridge IT will focus on building the IT and entrepreneurial skills of rural youth, build their confidence, and enhance their life skills, providing them with the necessary means and support to earn a livelihood through e-entrepreneurship. The initiative will not only allow rural youth to be gainfully employed and self-sufficient, but will also bridge the IT gap by enabling the youth to bring much needed IT related services into their communities. By promoting rural entrepreneurship, the intervention aims to improve the rural economy, reduce illiteracy, and provide academic inputs to both school going children and adults through computer based education.
Where? By Whom? To bridge the gap between urban and rural communities, Cod Nerc Head Office Aizawl in partnership with Development Focus (DF) signed the agreement on 29th March 2018 from Corporate Social Responsibility Fund, pioneering an innovative Digital Entrepreneurship Program with Aizawl district of Mizoram. The aim of this unique initiative is to create rural e-entrepreneurs from socially and economically disadvantaged rural communities. The primary goal of the project is to facilitate rural youth to become e-entrepreneurs and for the youth to build sustainable business with their computer and technical skills.
Why Bridge IT? In recent years, there has been paradigm shift in the development of youth in India with a huge focus on livelihood development through micro entrepreneurship. A severe lack of job opportunities for youth, especially rural youth, has led to entrepreneurship, even at the micro level, as a necessary and viable alternative for livelihood generation. Providing the opportunity for youth to successfully start and run a small business will improve rural economy and lead to a better quality of life for the youth, their families, and their communities especially in Mizoram. Promoting rural enterprise will also serve as a key to stem the migration of youth and bring about a reduction in the number of youth who move away from their communities in search of employment elsewhere.
Duration? The project has been implemented over a 2 year period starting from March 2018 up to February 2020 with full financial assistance and support from the partner. At the end of 2 years, the project will be overseen by Cod Nerc for a further 3 years of Self-sustaining phase from March 2020 till Jan 2023, with partial support and a small financial incentive from DF and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fund.
For whom? The project is mainly for the unemployed youth in Mizoram who does not get the reliable job due to lack of opportunity and financial problem. The project divided the target areas into 3 clusters: Thingsul Tlangnuam, Falkawn and Sialsuk in Aizawl district in Mizoram. Each cluster consist of 8 Entrepreneurs (youth) from poor tribal / rural backgrounds. Besides, among the 8 entrepreneurs 1 of them is chosen as Cluster Lead (coordination). Besides this, there is 1 Module Lead (Manger) to coordinate the project. Therefore, including the Module Lead Cod Nerc now has 25 staffs in these 24 villages.
Hardware for Free: Before the selection of entrepreneurs, in each village Livelihood Committee was formed consisting of 5 members (3 women and 2 men) from the marginalized group who knows well about their village and the people who needed this kind of help. So, after all the 24 entrepreneurs were selected by Cod Nerc in collaboration with the Livelihood Committee (LC) the project provides free Laptop, Speaker, Netbook (small laptop) and projector. Moreover, they are given orientation/training in computers and Internet based services, entrepreneurial skills, communication skills, life skills, and handholding support to start their own IT / Internet based businesses. A strong emphasis was placed on empowering young tribal women to take up this opportunity to become entrepreneurs and establish their own e-enterprises. Additionally, all these entrepreneurs are paid monthly honorarium of INR 5000/- and Cluster Lead post receives INR 12000/-
Outcome: Introducing Bridge IT project in these villages is one of the most productive and exciting projects of Cod Nerc; it is truly an open door for them to be able to earn their own living besides starting their business. It is quite helpful in identifying suitable candidate in these villages. Cod Nerc is happy to see the entrepreneurs’ enthusiasm in earning money to supplement their family come through the hardware they received.
Moreover, it is so overwhelming to see the enthusiasm and commitment of the Livelihood Committee (LC) taking importance in finding out the best possible candidate, some village even made a notice through a public address system in order to find out the best and needed person to aware the people so that they can help the committee from missing out the needy.
Time constraint due to excessive travelling
Budget limitation for hiring resource person