Dr. Ashok Khosla, Chairman, Development Alternatives Group at Jobs We Want 2019, an event organized to showcase the progress of 18 months of Work4Progress in India, shared that “through Work4Progress programme, Development Alternatives in partnership with ‘la Caixa’ Foundation, will create a million Jobs in India by 2027”.
A 4 day multi-venue event – Jobs we Want 2019, spanning Mirzapur (UP), Orchha (MP), Patna (Bihar), Palwal (Haryana), Ghitorni (Delhi NCT) and New Delhi was organized to commemorate the 18 months of Work4Progress programme in India. The Event had a plenary session on System Change for Entrepreneurship led Job Creation organised at Development Alternatives Office at Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi, which was addressed by Ms. Gayatri Acharya, Lead Economist, World Bank; Mr. Joshua Fisher, Director-AC4, The Earth Institute & Adjunct Professor, Columbia University; Mr. Vipin Sharma, CEO, Access Development Services; and Mr. Rohtash Mal, CMD, EM3 Agri services Pvt Ltd. and attended by among others by Ms. Marta Solsona Masana,”la Caixa” Banking Foundation; Mr. Gorka Espiau, Professor, CIRM-McGill University; Ms. Anna Warrington, Forum for the Future; Ms. Tinni Sawhney, CEO, Aga Khan Foundation, India; and Mr. Phumlani Nkontwana, Founding Director, Fuata Africa.
Work4Progress is an open innovation platform for unleashing the power of entrepreneurship led job creation. Development Alternatives is undertaking this programme in India, particularly in 40 villages in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in partnership with the world’s third biggest foundation – ‘la Caixa’ Banking Foundation of Spain. The tremendous progress achieved under the Work4Progress programme in the last two years was much appreciated by all stakeholders.
Since the project involves learning, process evolution, and partnership building across four elements of dialogue, co-create, prototype and learn; Development Alternatives hosted this national level event. Under the programme, Development Alternatives alongwith ‘la Caixa’ Foundation and its local partners envisage creating entrepreneurs at the grassroots level and through it to create jobs.
Dr. Ashok Khosla, Chairman, Development Alternatives said during the event, “If sustainable livelihoods are the key to sustainable development, micro enterprises are the keyhole. We need to practice innovation that is social in purpose, systemic in nature and inclusive by design.” Dr. Khosla, further emphasized how important it is to “Recognize that interconnected approaches to address deep systemic development issues are necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Ms. Ariadna Bardolet, Director of International Development Programs at la Caixa Foundation, highlighted how “empowering women, the youth and vulnerable communities is key to fight against inequities. At Work4Progress we promote creativity and innovation because we believe employment is a way to advance in social inclusion, and to make equal opportunities a reality to all individuals, despite their particular backgrounds”.
The Work4Progress platform has seen growing participation of enterprise development stakeholders from government programs, financial institutions, technology providers, market aggregators, training institutions, academia and international agencies. Work4Progress platform seeks to expand its network and build more partnerships.
Jobs we Want 2019 was envisioned as a space for sharing and discovering knowledge on systems change for entrepreneurship led job creation. It was designed to seek diverse perspectives that will provide insights on: a) Apply and adapt social innovation tools and systems change approach for viable enterprise development; b) Unlock support services such as finance and marketing to enable a local culture of entrepreneurship; c) Empower women and youth led enterprises for greater participation and inclusivity; d) Collaborations for strengthening the enterprise development ecosystem; and e) Platforms for exchanging learnings and knowledge.
It is important to recognize that interconnected approaches to address deep systemic development issues are necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Work4Progress adopts a methodology based on principles of collaboration, learning and community-led action. These principles strengthen Work4Progress role as an open innovation platform – with the objective of creating an enterprise development ecosystem.
Under this initiative, in India 43 prototypes; 288 entrepreneurs and 635 jobs have been created in 40 villages in the last 18 months. After creating prototypes the learnings will be shared and implemented across more countries, including Mozambique and Peru, which require similar intervention in creating entrepreneurship and job creation, again in partnership with la Caixa.
Along with the creation or rejuvenation of entrepreneurship in India – it should be also pointed out that most of the intervention are planned predominantly for rural areas which will also help in reducing burdens on the urban centres and will help in reduction in population shift from the rural to urban India.