Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII), an autonomous and not-for-profit institute, set up in 1983, is sponsored by apex financial institutions – the IDBI Bank Ltd., IFCI Ltd., ICICI Bank Ltd. and the State Bank of India (SBI). The Government of Gujarat pledged 23 acres of land on which stands the majestic and sprawling EDII campus.
To pursue its mission, EDII has helped set up 12 state-level exclusive Entrepreneurship Development Centres and Institutes. One of the satisfying achievements, however, was taking entrepreneurship to a large number of schools, colleges, science and technology institutions and management schools in several states by including entrepreneurship inputs in their curricula. In view of EDII’s expertise in entrepreneurship, the University Grants Commission had also assigned EDII the task of developing curriculum on entrepreneurship and the Gujarat Textbook Board assigned to it the task of developing textbooks on entrepreneurship for 11th and 12th standards.
In order to broaden the frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, EDII has established a Centre for Research in Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CREED), to investigate into a range of issues surrounding small and medium enterprise sector, and establish a network of researchers and trainers by conducting a biennial seminar on entrepreneurship education and research.
In the international arena, efforts to develop entrepreneurship by way of sharing resources and organising training programmes, have helped EDII earn accolades and support from the World Bank, Commonwealth Secretariat, UNIDO, ILO, FNSt, British Council, Ford Foundation, European Union, ASEAN Secretariat and several other renowned agencies.
The Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India assigned to EDII the task of setting up Entrepreneurship Development Centers in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam and Uzbekistan. Five such centres in African region will be established very soon.
The Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) epitomises both a will and a belief – the will to advance the frontiers of development and the belief that education and training can have a multiplier effect on this process.
As the concern for economic development became all-pervasive after the Second World War, interest in entrepreneurship ceased to be a subject of merely academic romance. The primary focus was no more on abstract or theoretical conceptualisation; it now shifted to exploring practical measures to augment the supply of critical actors in the entrepreneurial process – persons possessing both competence and aptitude to initiate, nurse and expand industrial enterprises. Concomitantly, the belief in the efficacy of education and training to inculcate and develop entrepreneurial urges and capabilities also increased and programmes, directed specifically to this end, began to come to the fore.
The success story of the Gujarat experiment, in the meantime, spread far and wide and the Ford Foundation encouraged the Gujarat team to test out its EDP strategy in a few less-developed states. The effectiveness of EDP having been thus established, development agencies in many parts of the country mounted their own EDPs, patterned after the Gujarat model. The process continued to gain momentum so much so that, by the beginning of the 1980s, EDPs were being conducted in some form or the other in larger or smaller numbers in most parts of the country, under the auspices of a variety of agencies, including Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO), network of the Government of India which launched a national EDP for unemployed engineers and later, for the educated unemployed. The Gujarat CED provided professional support to a few of these. With the increasing number of organisations seeking such support from the Gujarat centre, it was felt necessary to set up a national resource organisation, committed to entrepreneurship education, training and research.
The result was that by the beginning of 1979, as many as 85 EDPs had been conducted in different parts of the state, training over 2,000 potential entrepreneurs. Encouraged by the outcome, the Government of Gujarat and the indusrial promotion & assistance agencies in the state set up a separate autonomous organisation – the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) – entrusted exclusively with the responsibility to undertake selection, training and development of first-generation entrepreneurs in the state.
This led the GIIC, together with other state agencies, to conceptualise, develop and mount in 1970, a three-month training programme known as Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP). The initiative was so well received that it became a regular feature in the GIIC activities. Some other state level development organisations joined the original promoter in sponsoring EDPs.
In India, the first few programmes of this type were organised by a foreign researcher, on an experimental basis, in the early 1960s. But, they failed to provide the desired momentum. What really inspired the birth of training efforts for entrepreneurship promotion in the country was a purely indigenous initiative, the ‘Technician Scheme’, launched in 1969 by two state-level credit and infrastructure assistance agencies of the Government of Gujarat – Gujarat Industrial Investment Corporation (GIIC) and Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC). The scheme visualised 100 per cent finance without collaterals, based entirely on the viability of the project and the competence of the person behind it. A large number of people took advantage of this scheme. The real gain of the scheme, however, was the realisation that India has vast entrepreneurial potential which can be developed through planned appropriate interventions.