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UAIL’s ‘Project Udyamee’ galvanizing rural entrepreneurs in Odisha



A couple of years ago, Suresh Naik of Surugunja village under Rayagada district used to work as a migrant labour in Kerala to eke out a living and meet the basic needs of his family. But now he is an entrepreneur who not only heads a fabrication unit but also offers jobs to others. For this transformation in his life, he gives all credit to “Project Udyamee”. This project, the brainchild of Utkal Alumina (UAIL), an Aditya Birla Group company, has been instrumental in transforming lives not just for Suresh but several others of the region.

This unique sustainable livelihood program which was kick started in July 2021 by Utkal Alumina in association with Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII), aims to promote 300 entrepreneurs in non-farm and agri-allied sector through Rural Business Incubation Model which is one of its kind across India in such large scale.

Going in line with the clarion call of Atmanirbhar Bharat and to fulfil the objective of MDG, this project has been implemented in the interior and inaccessible areas of Kashipur of Rayagada and Thuamul Rampur of Kalahandi districts of Odisha, to transform the lives of the local population for a socioeconomic upliftment.

Informing about the project, Utkal Alumina Unit Head Mazhar Beig says, “This unique sustainable livelihood program supports the government ecosystem of MSME, SMEs, OLM, etc. in the state while bringing the plan to fruition on the ground for a long-lasting outcome. At Gokulmunda village in Tikiri, a rural business incubation center has been established to offer business development services, such as enterprise mapping, business plan preparation, convergence, market help, etc. to the first- and second-generation business owner while meeting market demand, support rural businesses, and improve the skills and expertise of these new business owners, it is also creating livelihood clusters.

UDYAMEE Center offers a complete range of services for business setup, including planning, execution, marketing, securing financing from formal financial institutions and angel investors, as well as connecting with prospective government programs and subsidies. The team has successfully trained six UDYOG Mitras (Community Care) throughout the course of a year-long project implementation. These individuals are providing business development services at the grassroots level as Industry Promotion Officers.

Till date, 1519 people have received business mapping counselling, 111 appraisals and business plans have been authorized, and 85 businesses have really started off. As many as 18 PMEGP/MSME loans totaling Rs. 124.86 lakh were sought for as part of convergence. The Regional Industry Centre (RIC) Rayagada authorized 17 PMEGP/MSME projects totaling Rs. 104.86 lakh. As of today, three loans totaling Rs. 20.75 lakh have been approved and given to business owners on the advice of RIC.

UAIL have provided Rs. 20.94 lakh as seed fund capital (Enterprise promotional grant) to establish the businesses, while 85 entrepreneurs each contributed Rs. 55.29 lakh. According to the monthly income tracking records, depending on the type of businesses, entrepreneurs have begun to generate monthly income ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 70,000. However, 85 enterprises make an average monthly income of Rs. 10192.26, adds Beig.

RIC Rayagada GM Bikash Chandra Bain lauded Utkal Alumina’s efforts in implementing Project UDYAMEE in the outlying area and training first-generation business people who would act as a change agent in the region’s evolving entrepreneurial sector. In terms of fostering entrepreneurship, we see project UDYAMEE as an extension of the Regional Industry Centre department, he said.

Appreciating UAIL UAIL for bringing this creative concept under its CR & Sustainability Department, EDII Regional Head Subrat Biswal said that the project would not only support businesses but would also help the local economy in general.

As a responsible corporate citizen, Utkal Aluminium International Ltd. is committed towards the socio-economic wellbeing and transforming the lives in the tribal hinterland. UAIL is relentlessly working to improve the Human Development Index of our community through various CSR, CR & Sustainability initiatives in 232 villages of 25 Gram Panchayats of Odisha. UAIL is touching the lives of more than 2,01,000 people through its 5 Pillars of interventions education, healthcare, sustainable livelihood, rural infrastructure and addressing the issues of their socio-economic concern. UAIL’s unique multi-stakeholder-based initiatives are in line with Sustainable Developmental Goal of United Nation 2030.

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