These are the new lines on my resume:
|Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pune, India – Intern|
These new lines on my resume can’t hope to fully encapsulate ten weeks of exploring, learning and growing; nevertheless I am very proud of them. We worked on four major projects during our stint at DICCI, and each came with its own exciting challenges and opportunities for learning.
The first, and to me the most exciting, was the proposal and memorandum we wrote for the new Indian government. DICCI commands so much respect in the Indian political sphere that we were looked upon as advisors to the new Cabinet as it devised its budget and policies with regard to STSC MSMEs for the next five years. We were really thrown into the deep end after a slow start as Mr. Kamble assigned this memorandum to us. After a lot of research – from Byzantine documents on tax policy in Andhra Pradesh to critiques of the German government’s MSME policies to comparisons between the Industrial Districts in Maharashtra vs. Gujarat, – we prepared a ten point document that I am very proud of. The agenda represents weeks of research and also learning to deal with the way things work in a small Indian office, and it really was something to know that it was actually presented to the Indian government to consider in their future policy-making. It really got me thinking about public policy, something I’ve never considered before at all, and I’m going to take a couple of BEPP classes next semester because of this new interest.
The other big DICCI project we did was actually 5 mini projects – We visited and interviewed 5 different entrepreneurs in disciplines ranging from steel fabrication to solar energy, and we wrote a report on each, with a SWOT analysis and recommendations tailored to specific problems the firm was having. Here, too, we faced challenges – language barriers, business owners who were skeptical that two young women from abroad could understand their problems, and of course, Indian Standard Time and all the delays involved therein. But I also learned how to apply research to analyse real problems, how labour contracting, supply chains, client demands and obtaining financing work in real life for micro businesses and the unique problems that minority entrepreneurs in India face. Our deliverable for this project was a casebook of DICCI member’s businesses, showcasing their diversity and resourcefulness.
We switched gears completely for the final task – working to plan the implementation of an online portal envisioned by one of DICCI’s partners and our mentor, Ira. That project was something totally different – but more about that on my next post! [Along with some real withdrawal from samosas and chai – like I love you, Penn, but you are seriously lacking in the chaat and chai department]