HYDERABAD: The early 90s were an era in which the ‘Licence Raj’ was abolished and a slew of economic reforms were implemented, heralding a new dawn of growth.
During those times, a few women entrepreneurs dared to step out, overcame rocks and boulders (literally), and founded the Association of Lady Entrepreneurs of Andhra Pradesh, now Association of Lady Entrepreneurs of India (ALEAP) amidst a sprawling industrial estate that was inaugurated by then Chief Minister of AP, Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy, in December 1993. Twenty three years later, ALEAP has trained tens of thousands of women and continues to empower them in entrepreneurship development, skill-based training, mentorship, and other areas.
To create a conducive business environment for emergence, sustenance and growth of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED), an ISO certified institution, was established in 1997 and inaugurated by then President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in 2002 at Kukatpally in Hyderabad.
CED’s mission is to promote economic growth in the country by developing a spirit of entrepreneurship among women. “CED conducts various Entrepreneurial Development Programmes (EDPs) sponsored by agencies of State, Central government and International organisations that focus on technologically-aided theoretical concepts coupled with practical demonstration by experts in relevant fields who give tips based on their years of experience. This helps women to hit the ground running in setting up the business of their choice”, says ALEAP’s Vice-President Dr Jyothi Rao.
CED was established with the premise of training, motivating and handholding prospective women entrepreneurs.
The EDPs are conducted to equip participants by giving an introduction to entrepreneurship, assessment of the participants’ capacity towards entrepreneurship, understand various aspects involved in establishing a company, gain knowledge about the various steps in setting up a small business, various Govt. schemes, incentives and formalities, preparing a business plan, exploring alternatives in formulating viable business models, communications development, and more. Participants of these EDPs benefit by gaining entrepreneurship skills, know-how in preparing a Detailed Project Report, receiving knowledge from successful women entrepreneurs, and in other intangible areas.
CED provides real-world training to its members via ‘Incubators’ which are exact replicas of units in a live production environment. Thousands of individuals have taken part in these programmes and benefited enormously. Some of the Incubators run by CED include - a Food Processing unit, Vermicomposting unit, handmade paper manufacturing facility, Paper-cup manufacturing unit, Floral Preservation by Freeze Drying Technology, Jute manufacturing unit, etc. Over 20,000 individuals have been trained by CED till date.
CED Secretary Tripuramba says the focus of each Incubator programme is to provide guidance to the participants on the trends in the industry, train them in marketing their product and provide technical support and other assistance as needed.
Along the way, CED has won the first prize at the National level for “Responsible Indian BMOs”, organised by the Foundation for MSME Clusters. Moreover, CED is the sole Nodal training institute in Telangana for National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India. Through MANAGE, CED conducts Agri-Clinic and Agri-Business Centre - a two-month training programme for unemployed agriculture diploma holders and graduates.
Apart from MANAGE, CED is also the Nodal Institute for conducting various entrepreneurship development programmes under NI-MSME, Ministry of MSME, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India, NSTEDB, Ministry of MSME, Financial Institutions like SIDBI, SBI, Andhra Bank, etc.
CED also has a ‘Blended Learning Programme’, which allows the participants to ‘pick and choose’ how they want to learn. This provides them greater flexibility about when they want to learn. The programme ‘blends’ face-to-face training with interaction from experts comprising different fields on an e-platform. The programme also conducts webinars for participants.
With an aim to improve the service sector, CED conducts sectoral-based entrepreneurship development programmes such as in Food Processing, Hospitality, etc. It also organises ‘Train the Trainer’ programmes for NGOs, Consultants, etc. It indirectly helps students of Science and Engineering colleges gain practical skills by holding an entrepreneurship development programme for the faculty in government and private colleges.
CED interacts with colleges and universities of repute on a regular basis for conducting Entrepreneurship Awareness Camps, Faculty Development Programmes and Women Entrepreneurship Development Programmes, among various other entrepreneurship development programmes. For those who are interested in setting up an export-import business, CED offers help in areas such as providing documentation, information on relevant policy and procedures, etc.
CED has its footprints in the International arena as well, organising entrepreneurship development programmes for women associations in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), in partnership with GIZ, Germany.
On future goals, ALEAP President K Rama Devi says that they are planning to set up a ‘We-Hub’ facility at APJ Abdul Kalam Green Industrial Estate in Nandigama in Patancheru mandal of Sangareddy district to provide hands-on training opportunities for women of economically weaker sections of
CED in collaboration with Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) is conducting dedicated programmes under the Union government’s ‘Stand-Up India’ scheme where people belonging to SC, ST and women are given preference. ALEAP is one of the recognised incubators under this Central Government Scheme.
The user-friendly portal (www.standupmitra.in) for this scheme gives information about various loans that can be availed. “SIDBI is the nodal implementing agency for this scheme and CED is happy to be associated with this esteemed financial organisation which is also our sponsor for all seminars and exhibitions”, says Tripuramba. SIDBI GM G Sampath Kumar and DGM AL Ravindran praised the work being done by CED and said they are looking forward to oversee more EDPs being conducted in the Telugu-speaking states.
Optrobox is a corrugated box manufacturing and packaging company. Founded by Padmasri in 2016, its clients include companies across FMCG, Textile, and other sectors. “ALEAP’s EDP has helped me gain knowledge in manufacturing. The team also helped me in preparing the Detailed Project Report (DPR) and other finance-related paperwork”, says Padmasri.
Managing Director, ReEnergy Infra
Founded in 2011 by Padmavathi and her husband Ramalingeswara Rao, ReEnergy provides Solar UPS/Inverter systems, solar fencing, solar water heaters and other solutions. Hospitals, schools, industries, residential complexes are some of its clients. “CED has helped us in setting up stalls and in procuring a site and availing a bank loan”, says Padmavathi.
Dr Swarna Latha
Manufacturer, ‘Anandi’ Sanitary Pad
“I am eternally obliged to ALEAP’s President K Rama Devi. She motivated me a lot and helped me in overcoming my fears and doubts”, says Dr Swarna Latha, who oversees the manufacturing unit of ‘Anandi’ - a compostable sanitary napkin. The pads are being supplied to schools, colleges, hostels and other government organisations across the Telugu-speaking states.
Founder, JG LED Solutions
Founded by Satyogi in 2015, JG LED Solutions helps assemble 3W, 5W, 9W bulbs to be used in Panel Lights, Tube Lights, Street Lights, and more. “CED and ALEAP have helped us in more ways than one - in the bulb assembly process, and in getting the necessary documentation”, says Satyogi. The company is currently working on developing a 0.5W rechargeable Night Lamp.
Founder, Chocolate Hut
An intense love for sweets made Lakshmi set up Chocolate Hut in 2000. Today, the company manufactures and exports customised chocolates all over the country. They are the pioneers of Fountain Chocolate in India. “CED has supported us in securing the food/trade license and other documentation”, says Lakshmi. The company is intent on giving franchise opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Founded by Manisri V in 2010, Digifit is a pioneer in bringing custom-fit 3D floor mats (for use in four-wheelers) in the Indian market. “CED has helped us in setting up stalls, and in procuring a place for building a plant”, says Manisri. The company aims to get into the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) industry and export to international locations in future.
Ashwini Reddy Fashion Designer
When she was a kid, Ashwini used to dress up dolls. Today, she has her own clothing line under the label ‘Ashwini Reddy’. Her clientele includes television and movie actresses, and others. Her label has been showcased in ‘Hyderabad Haute Couture Week’ in 2015. “I have received a lot of guidance and support in documentation and other areas from CED”, says Ashwini.
Waman Reddy Founder, Ayyappa AgriClinics
Waman Reddy, who had attended CED’s Agri-Clinic (AC) and Agri-Business Centre (ABC) programme, went on to establish Sri Ayyappa AgriClinics in 2011 in Adilabad for selling pesticides, seeds and fertilisers. With an initial investment of Rs 22 lakh, his company now boasts of an annual turnover of over Rs 1.5 crore. “CED’s AC and ABC schemes helped me a lot”, says Waman Reddy.
Dr Mahalakshmi Reddy Founder, Lyo Florals
Hyderabad-based Lyo Florals is a pioneer in flower preservation technology. The company preserves flowers using advanced artistic techniques which can then be mounted in a variety of attractive cases, creating evergreen memories for its customers. “CED’s Floral Preservation by Freeze Drying Technology Incubator helped me launch my dream career”, gushes Dr Mahalakshmi Reddy.
Naresh V Founder, Urban Delicacies LLP
Naresh along with his friends launched a ‘Mist n Creams’ store at Bengaluru in Nov 2016. The outlet prepares fresh ice cream right in front of you in a few minutes. “CED’s Incubator programme helped me in fulfilling my dreams”, says Naresh. He and the team are planning to open more outlets in Bengaluru and expand to other cities in the near future.
Ajita Suchitra Veera Film Director / Producer
Ajita is the Founder of Imaginem Cinema Pvt Ltd. Her feature film ‘Ballad of Rustom’ (2014) was in contention for the Best Picture during 86th Academy Awards, 2014. Her earlier short film ‘Notes On Her’ was an official entry to the Oscars in 2003. “CED’s Blended Learning Programme helped me discover my passion in filmmaking, which is an infinite mystery in itself”, beams Ajita.