Sramana Mitra points to a paper by Kirk Magelby and writes: “MicroFranchising is a development tool that seeks to apply the proven marketing and operational concepts of traditional franchising to small businesses in the developing world. The primary feature of a MicroFranchise is its ability to be streamlined and replicated. The businesses are designed for microentreprenuers and usually target development issues such as health, sanitation, and energy.”
The Economist writes in a survey: “After this year the majority of people will live in cities. Human history will ever more emphatically become urban history.”
The Mint has an article by Atanu Dey and Reuben Abraham:
India has a choice of futures, say, in 2030. Will the majority of Indians continue to live in 600,000 small villages engaged in near-subsistence agriculture or will they be in living in 600 well-planned vibrant cities (or 6,000 towns of 100,000 population, for that matter) working in non-agricultural sectors and enjoying a rich social and cultural life?
Depending on how we use our resources, the latter future can be a reality. Achieving that reality would be the greatest challenge for India and arguably, the most rewarding as well. Rather than trying to trap people in villages and agriculture, the focus should be on the creation of new urban centres which will lead to economic growth and development of people
Atanu Dey has put up his presentation on RISC made recently at ISB. It is good supplemental reading to the ongoing Tech Talk series.
India Knowledge@Wharton writes:
On one side are the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and the consumer durables companies. On the other are consumers in rural India, potentially the largest segment of the market. Finally, the two are coming together.
The fact that this has not happened in the past is not for want of trying. In Mumbai and New Delhi corner offices, executives have long recognized that to build real sales volumes they will have to reach outside the big cities. In several categories, rural India already accounts for the lion’s share. According to MART, a New Delhi-based research organization that offers rural solutions to the corporate world, rural India buys 46% of all soft drinks sold, 49% of motorcycles and 59% of cigarettes. This trend is not limited just to utilitarian products: 11% of rural women use lipstick.
A note from Nokia: “Mobile communication is revolutionizing economic and social life in rural India, spawning a wave of local entrepreneurs and creating greater access to social services according to a new study by The Center for Knowledge Societies (CKS) commissioned by Nokia. The research identifies seven major service sectors including transport, finance and healthcare that could be radically transformed through mobile technologies.”
India Knowledge@Wharton writes:
In India, the history of rural finance is typified by the image of a nationalized banking system which has failed to deliver credit and, if it has, not been able to recover it. Microfinance, by contrast, is increasingly being seen as an innovation in lending and the panacea for rural India’s indebtedness to money lenders.
The recent focus on microfinance in India marks a paradigm shift in orientation. The recipients of state-sponsored subsidized loans in the early 1980’s, 75 million poor households today have become the driver of new assets. While no accurate estimate of the size of the Indian microfinance market exists, M-CRIL (Micro-Credit Ratings International), a leading micro credit rating agency based in Gurgaon, puts the estimated demand at Rs. 480 billion ($10.7 billion). That is calculated for 60-70 million households at an average household credit demand of Rs. 8,000 (less than $200).
Indian banks may soon saturate high- and middle-income customers with retail loans and home loans, and are under pressure to move to low-income and even poor households. To do this, they are choosing to partner with MFIs, most of which have current recovery rates of over 96%. Foreign banks with little or no presence outside India’s major metros are also looking to work with MFIs to secure their micro-lending market shares.