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33 | Creating viable

33 | Creating viable business models for inclusive growth through the National Optical Fiber Network Model 1: Rural entrepreneur-led model This model involves training and empowerment of rural entrepreneurs who work closely with farmers. Social businesses such as eKutir have proved that a scalable model can be built on these lines and the various relevant ICT offering – applications for seed selection soil analysis, crop planning tools, etc., – can be offered. The social businesses, with their affiliation networks, can source the necessary tools and content for farmers. Offerings can include low-cost information on seeds, fertlizers, cultivation, types of crops grown, crop prices, and other key aspects of agriculture. Proposition: Real time access to agricultural information through ICT, building rural entrepreneurial skills in the process Figure 9: Business model for rural entrepreneur- led agri knowledge hubs Source: KPMG analysis Note: Agro-companies can be the content providers in some cases

Creating viable business models for inclusive growth through the National Optical Fiber Network | 34 • Input –– Connectivity: Through the NOFN. Panchayats can facilitate provision of premises –– Training and manpower: Rural entrepreneurs are provided free training on agricultural domain by social businesses and Government agencies –– Physical infrastructure: Computer terminals, broadband connection, building, furniture, power supply (including alternative energy sources) • Cost –– Capital expenditure: Initial investment from entrepreneurs includes purchase of ICT equipment (kiosks/ netbook) and specialized agri-content and tools from content and technology partners. Entrepreneurs may approach Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) to avail loans at marginal rates of interest. –– Operational expenditure: Includes salaries of additional staff/trainers • Revenue stream: Advertising revenue and referral commission from agri companies, one-time membership fee from farmers and fee per service used • Government support: This is a commercially viable model requiring no financial support from the Government. However, soft support in the form of facilitating access to technology providers, providing loan facility at preferred terms through RRBs, facilitating access to existing infrastructure, etc. is crucial for the success of this model. • Benefits –– Government: Improved farm productivity, increased income generation, equitable growth, and rural skill building. Higher acceptability as is led and driven by villagers themselves –– Farmers: Timely access to weather information, crop health and agricultural best practices, resulting in improved farm productivity and higher income –– Rural entrepreneur: Income generation • Critical success factors –– Proper training of rural entrepreneurs –– Availability of relevant agri-content in vernacular languages

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