Business Gym (for nano, micro, small and medium business entrepreneurs)

Business Gym helps entrepreneurs manage their businesses better and increase their profits by >40% within a period of 18 months.

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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Rajendra Joshi

Initiative's representative date of birth

14 October 1958

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Man

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • India

Where are you making a difference?

Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Varanasi

Website or social media url(s)

When was your organisation founded?


Focus areas

  • Helping people adapt to technologies of the future
  • Financial skills and capability
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $50k - $100k

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

This entire exercise owes its conception to an ardent pickle maker. It was realised by SAATH functionaries that the 'Picklemaker's Business', couldn't be referred to anyone else, as he had not shared his contact information. This tryst with the picklemaker, Sri Shantilal, who was a resident of Vasna in Ahmedabad, kindled the idea of a 'Business Gym'. Similarly, SAATH had been in touch with many other informal micro businesses that it could engage with. This fact allowed SAATH to be invigorated and create the program of Business Gym, that reached current standards in 4 years time since its inception. More than 1200 such micro businesses have been through the Business Gym.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

Individual micro entrepreneurs operate on a small scale with daily transactions and small to non-existent profit margins. Businesses are precarious, at constant risk of stagnation or complete failure. In recent years various micro finance programs have offered many possibilities. However, the other essential component for developing their business is use of finances, knowledge of the market and strategies for increasing sources of funds.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The Gym offers a hand holding approach. The program of Business Gym offers the following: a. Training on entrepreneurship, management skills, financial inclusion, and soft skills is given. b. Hand holding in various dimensions of business operations. c. Advocacy and communication on the benefits of micro entrepreneurship. d. Financial assistance and consultancy services. d. Education and training on theoretical concepts and practical learning. Mentors of the gym help participants understand various facets of entrepreneurship, apply the learning and constantly assess the impact the program has had on them. They also, motivate, equip, and moderate those wishing to become nano/micro entrepreneurs, catalyze nano businesses already in operation to be more mainstream, forecast and model new businesses, and achieve higher productivity and profitability. Business Gym aims to make micro entrepreneurs productive, proud and confident individuals.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

In 2018, Hemaben, a paraplegic woman who ran a beauty salon, learned about Saath’s Beautypreneur program at the Business Gym. Through Saath’s program, Hemaben learned how to explore the market, form stronger relationships with clients, and implement detailed business plans. Skills such as tracking income & expenses and marketing, which she had never considered before, helped enormously. Her monthly income has now increased from Rs.15,000 to 40,000 within one year. With the increase in income, Hemaben gifted her husband an auto-rickshaw and is paying for her children’s continuing education. She continues to work with Saath’s Salon-I programme as a trainer teaching over 100 students a year. This helps tide over a lean season; May to August.

6. Financial capability: how is your organization or project creating innovative solutions that arm people with ability to optimize their current and future financial health

In a laborious hand-holding exercise by the mentors of Business Gym; the participants/entrepreneurs are given log books for them to record transactions for a year. These are monitored on monthly for financial performance. They are taught to carry out analysis of their services. Their operations are overseen such as in existing materials required vs alternatives, lean / peak season management, inventory and product management services, supply chain management. Detailed feedback and mentoring is made available for strategic components such as pricing, drawing one's salary as differentiated from business cash-flow. The entire process is documented and is tailor-made according to the entrepreneurs nature of business and his/her capabilities in 3 stages: 1. Profiling of entrepreneur 2. Training followed business augmentation activity 3. Post profile of entrepreneur over given time-frame

6a. Please describe what aspect of financial capability your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress.

The aspect Business Gym focuses on is Financial Hygiene (clarity of knowledge of the terms and processes of business vs personal finance). It tries to achieve a measurement of such Financial habits by installing systems and by participatory mentoring of the concerned entrepreneur's business, especially in its book-keeping and records maintenance, plus a detailed engagement on running operations close to established financial plans.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Bsuiness Gym has presence in Ahmedabad, Baroda, Kuttch, Jaipur, Varanasi, Palanpur, Bhavnagar, Jaipur & Varanasi. Over 1200 entrepreneurs have been engaged so far. They are categorized as below: 1) 49 entrepreneurs through generic Business Gym 2) 413 Beauty-entrepreneurs 3) 517 Rural Women Entrepreneurs 4) 312 Home-Entrepreneurs A couple of success stories are: 1. Vinodbhai Raval, Tea stall owner – Paldi, Ahmedabad, 5-member family, Monthly household income: Rs. 55,000, Educational qualification: Secondary school, Monthly income: Rs. 30,000, Monthly income of Rs. 40,000 post the program 2. Sundar ben Sargara, Savoury Snacks manufacturing, 6-member family, Monthly household income: Rs. 15,000, Educational qualification: Standard 8 (secondary school)Monthly income of Rs. 19,000 post the program

10. Team

Program Manager (overall) is a qualified post graduate in Urban Management Each city has a team of three: 1. Program Officer is a graduate full-time employee 2. Master Trainers are graduate contractual employees 3. Field Facilitator are graduate contractual employees

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Email

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. OVERALL Evaluation:

Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 0%

Maybe - 100%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 0%

Maybe - 66.7%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 33.3%

3. Does this entry have SOCIAL IMPACT?

Yes, absolutely! - 66.7%

Yes/maybe - 33.3%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

4. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 0%

Maybe - 66.7%

Maybe/no - 33.3%

No - 0%


Yes, absolutely! - 33.3%

Yes/maybe - 33.3%

Maybe - 33.3%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

6. FEEDBACK: Highlights

IMPACT POTENTIAL: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) – and you have a concrete plan for future impact. You have specific tools for measuring impact. - 100%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful solutions - 0%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work operationally and financially in the present and future; your plan is specific and you value sustainability. - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You have a good plan on how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 100%

Other option - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: Areas for Improvement

IMPACT POTENTIAL: make sure to provide specific instances of your social impact (or how you plan to measure impact) – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, the main activities/products, and provide evidence of (or plan for) impact evaluation - 0%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: make sure to describe how your solution is unique and innovative – it is helpful to include the research you have done on past solutions and how your solution is different from (and/or builds upon) these. - 100%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 100%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: make sure you describe your plan for how to empower others to become changemakers through your programming, service, or product - 50%

WRITING STYLE. Try to be concise, descriptive, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

Other option - 50%

Attachments (1)

Business Gym .pdf

Business Gym - A Program Report


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