As a young economics lecturer in Kohima, Neichute Doulo identified the need for Naga society to look beyond secure government jobs and get involved in building the economy, that was largely controlled by non-locals. It was with this conviction that he left his promising job to found EA in 2000, the same year that he received the Ashoka Fellowship which enabled him to launch his dream project. EA works to change existing and persisting mindsets, launch entrepreneurs while continuosly mentoring them, creating financial and market linkages and providing the perfect ecosystem for business persons.
- Contact via
- Hybrid Social Enterprise
- Banking and Capital Markets; Entrepreneurship
- Areas of Impact
- South Asia, India
Set up in 2000, Entrepreneurs Associates (EA) promotes entrepreneurship as a viable alternative to government jobs and as a tool for peace building. Despite working in a highly resource constrained environment, EA has successfully laid the foundations of a vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem in Nagaland. The challenges being tackled are massive and systemic: lack of financial literacy, access to finance, enterprise management skills, and most importantly, a culture that is highly risk-averse.
EA’s direct operations are managed through three distinct legal entities: EATACOL, a thrift and credit society promoting savings and credit among unbanked Naga households, reducing their reliance on government subsidies; EA, a non-profit training Naga youth on enterprise management skills through customized training modules; and GSL, a non-banking finance company extending loans of $3,000 to $35,000 to entrepreneurs. To maximize its impact, EA complements its direct operations with partnerships with key systemic actors: the Nagaland government, commercial banks, and community organizations such as churches and schools. Recognizing the importance of EA’s work, in 2010 the state government launched statewide campaigns and events turning school and college campuses into motivation grounds for entrepreneurs.
EA’s efforts have also gained credibility and support among the public. The organization raised $3 million in donations through crowdfunding campaigns. Since its inception, over 60,000 Nagas have participated in EA’s awareness-building events and over 4,500 have set up successful enterprises that have in turn created over 17,000 new jobs in the region. In partnership with commercial banks, EA has channelled over $30 million in bank loans to Naga households, an amount that is 36 times its own budget. EA is now focused on expansion within Nagaland and to neighbouring Myanmar. In a first of its kind partnership, the government has invited EA to set up and manage its Startup Village Entrepreneurship programme, which aims to create 4,800 new enterprises.