The word ‘udhyam’ means ‘enterprise’ in English. Udhyam’s journey began in the two hill districts of Nainital and Almora in Uttarakhand’s Kumaon division, in 2017. A group of individuals who have been making consistent efforts in the mountain region of Uttarakhand for the past 10 years launched Udhyam as a pilot in 2017.
With limited opportunities for work and a declining agricultural sector, the hill districts of Uttarakhand are highly dependent on remittances and have been seeing increasing rates of migration. We believe that entrepreneurship can provide alternatives to migration in the long term.
Providing a platform for entrepreneurship in such a context can be a game-changing initiative – creating jobs for job seekers and setting the stage for other aspiring entrepreneurs.
In the first year, based on a detailed needs assessment by our team across different villages in the region, the Udhyam program was developed, designed, and launched. We started in the first year with our first cohort of 8 entrepreneurs from Nainital district, carefully chosen through a selection process evaluating the viability of their B-plan, local relevance of the idea and its impact on the local economy. Business ideas that were not aimed at the local community, or those that could have unintended consequences on the environment or economy, were discouraged.
Based on an overall good response in 2017, we decided to scale-up the program and took on board a larger cohort in 2018. In our second year, we received an overwhelming response with 499 applications. Of these, we are supporting 40 entrepreneurs as aspiring and existing entrepreneurs.
In the next 5 years, we aim to create at least 700 jobs through 400 entrepreneurs.
Pankaj is the founder of Himjoli, a social venture company in Uttarakhand working with producer groups, thousands of rural farmers, artisans and women’s groups. Before Himjoli, he founded Tinker Toys in 1988 which went to become one of the largest toy manufacturing companies in India. In 1995, he set up Kidstuff Promos and Events, specializing in promotional marketing.
Anjali, an alumnus of the Delhi College of Engineering (DCE) and a 2016 India Fellow, spent a year in rural Bihar developing and piloting a digital language competency program with the NGO Parivartan. She has interned with Teach for India in Delhi and volunteered with Child Rights & You (CRY) for about 3 years before she decided to work full-time in the development sector.
Udhyami Manager (Almora District)
Mahipal has over two decades of experience in travel and restaurant industry. He hails from Almora.
Udhyami Manager (Bageshwar District)
Udhyami Manager (Nainital District)