Rural Livelihood - An Entrepreneurial Solution

The under-utilised strengths of rural areas will be nurtured and honed to create village Self Help Group (SHG) controlled enterprises.

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Rural Caravan Private Limited

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Start-Up (a pilot that has just started operating)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $10k - $50k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 10 - 50

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • India

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

India: Palghar, Nashik


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Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

The unexplored traditional knowledge and human capital of Rural India has the potential to develop into a well-structured product-service industry that can address rural economic development. There is no dearth of potential only a dearth of empowerment. A systematic approach to organise their skills and invoke their entrepreneurial spirit utilizing information and communication technologies in a sustainable way to foster community economic development is the focus of our enterprise.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

We intend to develop rural economic zones (REZ) utilizing one unserved village as a hub village which will host thematic enterprises run and managed by the villagers themselves (either individual or community based organisations). Villagers have the craft of solving their problems. Our focus is to enable and empower them to create scalable and sustainable through process innovation utilizing ICT. We are in the business of standardizing their methods of problem solving and lead them to enterprise creation. One state – One REZ using hub and spoke developmental model. Enterprises would be created along the themes of Energy, Culture Exchange, FMCG, Handicrafts and Infrastructure identifying the village strengths and potential livelihood avenues. Our prime focus is on process innovation – processes that will help and sustain the thematic rural enterprises. We create shared value by making our revenues dependent on the rural enterprise sustainability.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

We have been associated with Amale village in Palghar district for over a year & have currently started the first Energy theme enterprise utilizing a carefully created self-help group. They manufacture the ASTRA improved cook-stoves through a decentralized model and thereby eliminate indoor air pollution. As part of capacity building of the SHG we trained and made them construct and deploy improved cookstoves in 72 households of Amale. We build their capacity to maintain accounts, marketing, lean manufacturing and order management. They are in the expansion stage of the enterprise. With these stoves, the wood consumption has reduced by 60 %. We also have started our efforts in developing an enterprise in ‘Culture Exchange’ theme. We have conducted 3 pilot trips to evaluate the capability of village team to manage trips. In the process we are also documenting digitally the processes involved in setting up the enterprise.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

Currently all our efforts have been bootstrapped from our personal savings. The amount was utilised in making Amale indoor air-pollution free, capacity building of the team and general administration expenses. The idea is to not only create rural enterprise in role of a knowledge partner to village SHGs but also give consultancy solutions to NGOs, Government and Corporate organisations to support their rural development initiatives. Rural Caravan has a revenue from the thematic enterprises for the knowledge and technology partnership provided and also from the developmental consultancy to various organisations interested in rural development. With only one rural enterprise (currently developed in Amale), the annual revenue forecast for 5th year is INR 10 Million for Rural Caravan.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

The fact that an enterprise can be created through villagers who have no formal education and a profit sharing can be developed from process standardization is something that makes the initiative innovative. Most entrepreneurship training programs are focused on skill development whereas we focus on the entire ecosystem development in an experiential manner.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

The founding members of Rural Caravan have spent a significant amount of time in rural areas, which forced us to work on solutions to strengthen the rural economy. We as an organization have evolved to the current model through continuous brainstorming sessions. As they say, the problem is half solved once it is well defined. However, the real problem was with our belief like everyone else that SHGs will not be able to pay. It is during our discussions with current village team, we understood that they do realize the efforts we put in to develop the enterprise and hence were willing to share their income with us. True incubation of the idea happened when the focus was shifted to problem definition rather than solution identification.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Social media


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