Business Planning Workshop in India

A project in India aims to show that empowering people economically can also improve their health. The Public Health Foundation of India and the State Employment Generation Mission in Assam conducted a four-day business planning workshop in Guwahati, Assam’s capital.
India Agriculture photo
Courtesy of Ray Witlin, World Bank

A project in India aims to show that empowering people economically can also improve their health. The Public Health Foundation of India and the State Employment Generation Mission (EGM) in Assam conducted a four-day business planning workshop in September 2012 in Guwahati, Assam’s capital. MEASURE Evaluation provided workshop facilitators with basic business planning for health tools, which the facilitators then adapted to create a business planning field book.

The workshop trained 25 participants—five individual entrepreneurs as well as representatives from four nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that work in livelihood, a field that includes such areas as agriculture, dairy, and horticulture. Seven EGM project managers also participated in the workshop.

The workshop involved conducting six sessions and assignments on specific topics, such as the market for business opportunity, about how to create a business plan. Following the sessions, participants worked in assigned groups on a related assignment, such as designing a market study, and applied it to their livelihood area. Other sessions taught at the workshop include developing an organization’s vision and mission statements, researching business opportunities, and coordinating team responsibility and timelines. 

After completing the sessions, participants presented their market pitches and business plans to A.K. Absar Hazarika, EGM project director of Assam, who judged the best business plan of the groups. 

Teaching these business skills can “empower local and relatively small NGOs to approach more funders, creating employment opportunities for people and thus leading to better nutrition, education, and access to health services,” according to Anupama Hazarika, an associate professor with the Public Health Foundation of India and one of the workshop’s facilitators. It is important for participants to incorporate monitoring and evaluation into their plans, she says, “so at the end of the program, they can measure what they achieved.” Hazarika and her colleagues hope to conduct another workshop in January 2013 with a new group of participants in a different state in India.