BDS+ Special Focus India: Three reasons to join a Training of Trainers in India

SEED trains BDS providers on toolified and collaborative approaches that help early stage eco-inclusive enterprises have more impact.

SEED is looking forward to bringing Training of Trainers (ToTs) workshops for Business Development Service (BDS) providers also to non-metro cities in India. SEED trains BDS providers on toolified and collaborative approaches that help early stage eco-inclusive enterprises have more impact. 

Read on to find out about the opportunities and value SEED ToTs bring to BDS providers and the reason why awareness on and support for eco-inclusive enterprises in small cities remains low, in contrast to well-developed support systems in metro cities in India. 

Indian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are key employers and drivers of economic development. India’s economy is made up of 6.8 million MSMEs, which account for 29% of the Gross National Product (GNP), employing more than 110 million people. India’s large size means multiple markets exist within, in turn allowing a diversity of SMEs to service them. With increasing awareness around environmental and social issues and a matching demand for more ethical products, there is ample room for eco-inclusive enterprises to develop.

India’s growth of both eco-inclusive and regular SMEs means the need for BDS services is increasing alongside. However, access to quality, practical training - that considers the reality and constraints of SMEs - is proving to be difficult for its BDS providers.

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Currently, there are several country initiatives that seek to further entrepreneurship such as youth entrepreneurship and gender equality programmes. There is a large offer of BDS services, which brings about an “acceleration and incubation fatigue”, as witnessed by Chandrakant Komaragiri, Country Director at Ennovent India Advisors. He comments: “Entrepreneurs are spoiled for choice”, and they are the ones who ultimately decide which BDS provider they want to work with. However, a worrying issue is that the quality of these services may not be the best. You throw a stone and you’ll hit like 10 acceleration programmes [...] We don’t know how much quality they actually provide, but every other day there’s some other challenge, some other award, to run some other accelerator in the country, at least in the metro cities so, [...] the entrepreneurs are fatigued [...], know they are spoiled for choice almost. [So they say] ‘we’ll choose whether we want to be part of your programme or not.’”

In addition, training is concentrated in tier 1 cities, reaching fewer enterprises in smaller tier 2 cities [cities with 1-5 million inhabitants]. In small cities, BDS providers are not aware of all the opportunities for ToTs, “everyone talks about tier 2 and tier 3 cities, [...], but these cities are left out” said Mr. Komaragiri, leaving an untapped market and hindering the opportunity for the development of BDS providers and eco-inclusive enterprises in small cities.

So, what opportunities do SEED ToTs bring to the table?

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1.     Quality training in a crowded landscape of Business Development Services (BDS)

SEED has been present in India since 2013 with SEED awards and SEED Catalyser Support, and in May 2019 in Mumbai it held its first ever BDS+ ToT. Two workshops have been held so far, reaching over 50 BDS advisors. In a crowded landscape, SEED’s training approach and tools have been tested and improved over time, offering BDS advisors quality tools that they can easily use and promote to other BDS advisors, which encourages more BDS advisors to join future ToTs. Likewise, the enterprises trained can also advertise the toolkit among their peers, bringing new opportunities for BDS advisors to offer their services.    


Entrepreneurs in India have many options to choose from, and would evaluate effort to reward ratio when deciding which BDS advisor to work with. As Mr. Komaragiri explains, “most acceleration programmes require a lot of time commitment with the reward being hazy. SEED, on the other hand, goes to the enterprise and customises as much as possible. The tools are easy to use and learn, providing tangible results with a fair time commitment”. SEED’s tools and methodology stand out, bringing quality training that speaks for itself. SEED has built a network of  BDS advisors over time, raising the quality of BDS services in a country that has lots of services to offer but not always of a proven quality.


2.     The ‘go-to’ hands-on practical training for early stage enterprises focused on impact

SEED’s tried and tested tools take into account the ‘reality’ of the enterprise. Allowing for BDS providers to go to the enterprises rather than “dragging them out of their context”, providing practical knowledge and not just theory.

SEED’s ToT provides simple tools that help enterprises improve their models, identify key impacts and prepare pitches or growth strategies. It is especially helpful for early stage enterprises, as Mr. Komaragiri comments, “for the enterprises that are still unsure, that are still figuring out their business model, the toolkit is extremely helpful.”

SEED’s toolkit is also useful to experienced consultants who provide BDS services. It allows experienced consultants to refresh their knowledge in basic business development concepts and areas. Thus, provide precise support for the small and growing enterprises they work with, aiding in the development of their effective business models.


3.     We’re looking forward to focusing on non-metro cities…

Having identified a need for exploring the market in tier 2 and 3 cities, SEED is looking forward to organising ToTs and extending the opportunities for business development services providers and entrepreneurs this year. It is building on its earlier experience, collaborating with Sandbox Startups (Deshpande Startups) and with support from the International Climate Initiative, holding a ToT workshop in Hubli, Karnataka. Here participants from tier 2 and tier 3 cities prototyped solutions to the challenges that incubators and accelerators in non-metro cities face with a view to creating and delivering impactful incubator programmes.


Click here to find out more about how SEED is extending its ToTs to non-metro areas.