Nagarik: Growth through collaboration

Nagarik is a platform designed to tackle one of the biggest issues facing the country – large-scale employment generation. The platform looks at employment generation as an opportunity for inclusive growth by focusing on goods and services produced and procured from smaller districts through market connects. And when the issue is as critical as large-scale employment, a multi-stakeholder view to value creation is essential.

How can the private sector and other institutions improve their business performance by joining this platform? We see this happening through three strands of value creation that the platform engenders. Firstly, businesses are looking at goods and services that are anyway available in our smaller districts. Secondly, businesses are looking to expand in these markets, where a majority of India lives. Finally, many businesses are seeking to engage with multiple stakeholders to enhance the ecosystem, so that individual companies are not unduly stretched in reaching these markets, products and services. Often, this can be done by enabling young leaders (namely the millennial generation) to sharpen their skills by engaging with Nagarik.

The need to procure and use the advantages of Tier 2/Tier 3 districts towards lowering the cost of goods and services is an operational requirement. The key input of a platform like Nagarik is identifying resources that large companies need, supplying them in time and as per the quality standards required by the companies using these resources. This includes not only agro and forest produce but also, more broadly, handicraft, vernacular BPO, local tourism and other services. While the platform provides a revenue stream to smaller production or sourcing areas in a Tier 2/ Tier 3 district, companies benefit by gaining an alternative source of supply. This applies not only to large national companies but also to smaller regional companies who are often unaware of sourcing opportunities in adjoining districts.

The need to connect with the current and future customer is central to the CEO agenda. While Tier 1 districts continue to garner a lion’s share of national GDP, Tier 2 and Tier 3 districts are equally poised for growth. These districts are growing faster as a large part of the ‘emerging middle class’ becomes the true middle class. While the customer of today in Tier 1 cities and districts is important, s/he is already being courted by a host of competitors. The customer of tomorrow resides in Tier 2/Tier 3 districts and their needs and aspirations need to be understood – and not just remotely through research agencies. Some Tier 2 districts are fast becoming hubs of enterprise. Nagarik offers a more complete understanding of these districts and markets by providing a connection to the entrepreneurs in these districts. The focus is not solely on consumption, but on building a stronger channel with smaller businesses, which will enable goods and services to be sold in Tier 2/Tier 3 districts.

Finally, business should not look at themselves as ‘pipeline’ businesses of yesteryears where systems and processes are confined internally. They need to attach themselves to platforms that are creating value in a 360-degree manner and with an outward focus. The employee proposition can no longer be inward-looking and confined to an ‘an air-conditioned cabin’. Increasingly, businesses are taking the view that understanding the external environment, both from a customer and a sourcing point of view, is critical for business success. For instance, many companies are allowing employees to spend time with start-ups or enterprises where they learn externally. Others are seeking to incubate enterprises so that they learn from smaller, nimbler enterprises, particularly in non-traditional areas. For instance, our own firm does this through our partnership with T-Hub. Nagarik extends this outward view to leaders and employees of organisations.

Nagarik is a platform where value lies not in pushing a product or service from production point to the sale point. Instead, value is created for all stakeholders by driving growth through connections to each other. For instance, the platform connects large companies to entrepreneurs who can supply raw material from a district. It can connect banks and financial institutions to those in need of finance. It can link institutions like a local industry body to entrepreneurs or regulators. In addition, it will connect employees to external stakeholders more fluidly, without the typical boundaries of old pipeline companies.

Joining this platform will not only enable a company to reduce its operating cost but also help institutions create a strategic growth vector and engage with multiple stakeholders.

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