A former college lecturer who helped create over 15,000 jobs across the north-east by training youths to become entrepreneurs has won an award from the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
Neichute Doulo, a former lecturer in Economics at Baptist College in Nagaland, won the ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2016’ given by the Schwab Foundation, which works closely with the World Economic Forum, in partnership with Jubilant Bhartia Foundation.
Leaving his secure job in 2000, Doulo launched Entrepreneurs Associates (EA) to teach the youths of insurgency-hit Nagaland basic skills, provide start-up capital and marketing network for initiating small enterprises.
This venture was his second attempt after 1992, when he had formed ‘Beacon of Hope’ to motivate youths to take up jobs that may even look small, but the process did not sustain and he joined a regular job of teaching.
“When we started, 13 of us at EA donated Rs 500 and one day’s wage as initial corpus. So, we started our journey with an initial capital of Rs 7,500. We began by making greeting cards and selling leather belts and bags, which helped us raise a few lakh rupees,” Doulo said.
After the humble beginning, EA went to the people seeking donations as an investment in the organisation, he added. Now, EA provides financing at 16 per cent interest to youths to start their own small businesses and over 10,000 people have availed loans from it.
The organisation, which expanded its services to neighbouring Manipur around three years back, received RBI approval as a lending institution and has been instrumental in channelising over Rs 150 crore of loans with 100 per cent recovery to banks.
“It was a big challenge initially to motivate people. We have been able to create 15,000 jobs, either directly or indirectly, in Nagaland and Manipur,” Doulo said.
Currently, more than 2,700 enterprises are running successfully and over 3,500 farmers are on sustainable livelihood cultivation with direct support from EA.
Doulo says his organisation has been invited to impart training and launch other activities in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam by respective local governments.