EDI: Rise of New Intellectual Power

In 2011, the Economist wrote a piece in its well-known section (Schumpeter) on emergence of think-tanks at the global platform from emerging countries like India.

“The rise of new economic powers is inexorably bringing the rise of new intellectual powers, too. For decades American think-tanks have ruled the world. They have the finest facilities, the cleverest scholars and the best lunches. They have defined the terms of the global debate and provided America’s hard power with a halo of soft power.
This is still largely the case. But emerging-market think-tanks are growing rapidly, promising to broaden the global debate. The big ideas of the future are increasingly likely to come from them.” The Economist

This is indeed good news for all. In this backdrop, Solution Innovation Review (SIR) narrates story of an Indian institution – the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) which is popularly known as EDI. How this Ahmedabad-based institution is imparting knowledge related to entrepreneurship development and nurturing budding entrepreneurs from various developing countries?

Recently, Dr Suleiman Mohammed – director of Centre for Entrepreneurship Studies at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi at Nigeria attended Faculty Development Programme in EDI.

Speaking to Solution Innovation Review (SIR) Suleiman said, “To start with, EDI is really doing much towards alleviating poverty and increasing general welfare of individuals across developing countries through disseminating entrepreneurial knowledge and skills. For instance the FDP, I have just attended at the EDI is full of experiences (knowledge and skills) that,  if well utilized, will go a long way in creating entrepreneurial mindset among young students of higher institutions of learning through their lecturers.”

EDI was set up in 1983 as an autonomous institution.  It is promoted by financial institutions like IDBI Bank, ICICI Bank, IFCI, SBI and Government of Gujarat.  It has emerged as a leading institute for entrepreneurship development and training in India and around the globe.

EDI offers two unique Post Graduate Programmes under its Centre for Entrepreneurship Education & Research.  It has several training programmes  for national and international participants. EDI implements projects for the state governments, central government and international organisations.

Key Areas

Entrepreneurship in the SME Sector
Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship
Social Entrepreneurship
Family Enterprise
Gender and Entrepreneurship
Sectoral Entrepreneurship

Highlighting recent trends, Suleiman said, “Generally about entrepreneurship development in developing countries, it appears that many nations are not giving it the priorities it deserves even though it is the only way out from the chronic unemployment syndrome evident in their economies. For instance, if Europe and America can pay attention to entrepreneurship to the extent that today small entreprises can constitute bulk of their employment and revenue sources then why we in developing countries will not do that?”

Similarly, Gimo Delfim Fumo from Mozambique (Africa) who attended an entrepreneurship development programme at EDI echoed a similar view and he recognised role of institutions in well being of people from various geographies.

In this backdrop, Sunil Shukla, chief faculty of EDI told solution Innovation Review (SIR),  “At EDI, we know only one thing that is entrepreneurship and we define entrepreneurship as a state of mind not only limited or confine to income generation activities.  It relates to way of thing. If he or she have entrepreneurship mind set they can excel.”

Shedding light on various initiatives, Shukla said, “We have about dozens programmes scheduled every year where we attract about 500 plus participants from outside the country every year. We have our international affiliate offices in South East Asia – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.  We have our own office in China.  We are in process of setting up similar EDI affiliate entrepreneurship development centres in Central Asia and five such centres in African countries. That’s why I said we know entrepreneurship only.”

On being asked about funding ecosystem for budding entrepreneurs in developing countries, Shukla said, “Certainly, that is a core issue for entrepreneur. Some time back, we have done a study on entry barriers to entrepreneurship. Initial support and credit linkages emerged to be one of the bottlenecks which keep youths away from businesses.  So finance is necessary.  Lack of funding is a bottleneck and something needs to be done.”