with Ranjeet Ranade & Bablu Ganguly

CREAM is a  barefoot management course for grassroots level entrepreneurship managers.  A group of mainstream managers have got together and devised a field based management course for people from NGO and CBOs. The course was crafted such that certain basic knowledge from the mainstream is adapted culturally and organizationally to suit the NGO and CBO environment, and ethos.  Two years and several graduates after, Ranjeet will share with us the knowledges and learnings of the CREAM experience.  Bablu from Timbaktu took a hard look at three decades of his activism and nature work, and went into Timbaktu Organics full steam to test his dream of a strong local and decentralised economics.

The genesis of CREAM is from the thoughts of Bablu Ganguly of Timbaktu Collective which were on these lines – “The people we work with should participate in larger markets and they should do so from a position of strength. We must work on equipping them with skills and knowledge to do so…”

Rural attitude towards entrepreneurship is changing in a positive way. NGOs want to encourage the population they serve to take on livelihood (business-like) initiatives. But people involved in these initiatives often don’t know how to own, start, and manage a business. Supply can’t handle these challenges as the standard MBA is high cost, elitist and hence beyond access for this population. The current scope of Bachelor of Commerce and other degrees don’t address their needs. CREAM (Course in Rural Entrepreneurship, Administration and Management) attempts to fill this gap between the demand and the supply.

CREAM is a travelling program which is spanned over 6 months with 5 days of teaching every month. The delivery is bilingual (English and the local language) and the coverage does the balancing act between breadth and depth of a number of business management areas such as finance, sales & marketing, operations etc.

The first program and was conducted in Andhra Pradesh from June 2009 to December 2009. There were 18 participants which had business managers managing businesses initiated by NGOs. The second program was run in Kerala for its state government poverty eradication mission (Kudumbashree). The objective was to train 30 micro-enterprise consultants who in turn are providing business consulting services to 15,000 micro-enterprises started with the help of Kudumbashree. The next program was for Vikas Bazar Network which is a network of 15 or so organizations in the state of Jharkhand. Their work is in the field of providing market-based intervention. The focus of this program was to cover basic business functions as well as basic project management processes such as planning, monitoring, and risk management.

Unediting transcript of the Sharing Session is here.

Short film on the Certificate in Rural Enterprise Administration & Management course offered