Entrepreneurs Associates has grown into a hybrid model providing a continuum of services to foster a vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem in Nagaland, and the Northeast region. Having achieved deep-rooted impact and successfully scaled their programs to promote behavior change in Naga youth, EA continues to respond to, and counter the root obstacles for entrepreneurship through self-awareness and education, knowledge, access to finance, among others. The work of EA can be broadly classified into incubation, ecosystem building, and advocacy all working strategically to fulfill the mission and vision of EA.
1. Basic Entrepreneurial Skills Training (BEST)
BEST is designed and implemented by Entrepreneurs Associates (EA), and is perhaps one of its only kind. BEST is a rigorous program on entrepreneurship for start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs; and aspires to create Feast of Merit Entrepreneurs (FOME). FOME is a concept developed by EA based on the Naga tradition of feast of merit, where an individual who acquires wealth shares it back with his community. Therefore, FOME are entrepreneurs who find innovative solutions and take the society forward as part of her/ his own success.
The whole module of BEST is an intensive theoretical and practical training spanning over 30 days and amounting to about 90 hours. BEST is also an incentive based training, allowing trainees to earn while they learn, making the training effectively low cost. In this way, it is an inclusive approach providing opportunity to interested individuals from lesser-privileged backgrounds. With the objective to immerse trainees into the practicality of business, BEST lets the trainees experiment business ideas; sell products; interact with successful entrepreneurs; visit sites; undergo apprenticeship through EA’s vast entrepreneurial network; and eventually, develop their own business plan.
One of the most unique features of BEST is the FOME Award, created specifically to support local entrepreneurs. In partnership with EA’s financial wings for credit linkage, FOME Award provides interest free loans up to Rs. 1 Lakh for a period of 2 years. This initiative has yielded positive results to foster entrepreneurial activities in deserving individuals.
2. Basic Business Skills Training (BBST)
Basic Business Skills Training (BBST) is a training program designed for entrepreneurs who have little, or no education. EA conducts BBST training with the primary focus to instill basic foundation of business and streamline entrepreneurial ventures. The training strives to integrate sustainability and survivability through concept, creativity, and innovation in an increasingly competitive market. BBST varies from 2-5 days, depending on the trainee target groups.
In the FY 2017-18, numerous BBST was conducted for various groups. The BBST module is followed by SVEP (Start up Village Entrepreneurship Program) to train potential entrepreneurs, mostly with minimal education. BBST module is also widely utilized in EA’s project to uplift women street vendors, where the main target group is dropouts.
3. Excellerate! The Business Growth Training (BGT)
Business Growth Training (Excellerate) is an advanced entrepreneurship development program designed and implemented by Entrepreneurs Associates (EA) aimed to maximize growth for existing entrepreneurs. BGT follows an interactive module, where a platform is created to discuss opportunity identification, innovation, strategizing, discovering routes to funding, investment, management, and scaling of enterprises. BGT is mainly targeted at First Generation Entrepreneurs (FGEs) who have been in business for a minimum of two years.
4. Affirmative Customer Experience (ACE)
This program aims to provide skills to build confidence, become self- reliant, and grow, personally and professionally. This in turn, will allow vulnerable youths to turn away from anti-social behaviors. A soft skill program, the Affirmative Customer Experience seeks to fill the gap created in the market for growing demand of professionals in the sector of business.
ACE reaffirms EA’s belief that the growth and success of an enterprise is also measured by providing its employees the right opportunity to learn new skills and explore their potential. ACE seeks to infuse excellent customer services for individuals who are both job seekers and job-holders. Varying from 3 to 20 days, ACE grooms individuals to become their best.