Posted on: March 8, 2010 in: Business, SocietyAn interview with the emerging markets guru Mr. Pradeep Kashyap, CEO & Founder MART, India.L-R: Dr. Satya Dash, Mr. PradeepKashyap, Mr. Benjamin Mathew, Mr.Sanjay Gupta, Mr. Saroj Mohanta and Mr.Kirti MishraMr. Pradeep Kashyap needs nointroduction. He is considered to be thefather of rural marketing in India and hasbeen a pioneer in designing andimplementing innovative business modelsin the social development sector, especiallyin the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) withseveral exceptional projects since the late1980s. He combines a rich experience inthe corporate world with more than two decades of experience in the social sector. One of the bestknown projects that established linkages between social development and rural marketing was ProjectShakti*, that was designed, piloted and implemented for Hindustan Lever Limited by Mr. Kashyapand his team at MART*. Project Shakti has gained recognition as a leading example of participatorygrowth across the world. In mid February 2010, I had an opportunity to meet and discuss with Mr.Kashyap and MART’s partners Mr. Kirti Mishra, Mr. Saroj Mohanta, Mr. Benjamin Mathew andMr. Sanjay Gupta about MART’s innovative projects and dynamics of changes in rural India. Here area few excerpts from a two hour interview in which Mr. Kashyap spoke about MART and changes inrural India amongst other things.Q. How was MART founded?Pradeep Kashyap: I left the corporate sector after 20 years in 1987 and my idea was never to start anorganisation. I didn’t start an organisation until 1995 when we named ourselves as MART. HoweverMART as a partnership was established in 2003. Before then we had a loose kind of arrangementwhere everybody was working together.My idea was to apply the knowledge I had. I recognised that the strength I had was in the marketingarea and this was completely missing in the social and development sector. Nobody believed that youneeded marketing in the social sector. When you are working with the NGOs who are helping villagersproduce handicrafts, incense sticks or even soaps, they are competing with the corporate sector andthey do need professional marketing to be able to compete with the corporate.
Q. What are MART’s focus, motivations and philosophies?Pradeep Kashyap: Our focus is the BoP emerging markets. The philosophy we follow is social heartand business mind. There are three different kinds of organisations- NGO, corporation and thegovernment. NGOs bring a social heart and a social mind and that is the reason why they are notgood at strategies of scale up. They do great work in small geographies but their work continues toremain localised. The Corporate sector which wants to enter the BoP markets brings a business mindand unfortunately sometimes a harsh business heart. Their whole orientation is mostly beingconcerned about numbers and sales. The government brings a business heart and social mind which iswrong. We realised that we need a different kind of organisation which has a very strong businessmind but has a lot of compassion for the poor- a social heart. Because, unless you empathise with thepoor, you won’t be able to find the solutions that are best for them.Since I came from the corporate sector and started in the working the social sector, I could see apotential for bridges and synergies between these two sectors. The critical role MART plays is to makecorporate understand the community language and the community to understand the corporateparticipation as well as the government. We offer end to end solutions from research to strategy andcapacity building in the emerging markets.Our philosophy is also teamwork in truest sense of team work, and building a totally flexible, non-hierarchical organisation. We are not just giving lip service to this. All our projects are team based.So it’s not uncommon for a junior most person to lead a project in MART if that person has thatcapability which is required for that project. That gives a huge moral boost to young people. They getthe opportunity to lead a project. Our logo is handshake between two people with bowed heads. Webelieve that you can acquire knowledge if you are humble. We are constantly building partnershipswith experts.In 1989 I was appointed as marketing advisor to the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD)Government of India. That opened my eyes to a larger vision and a macro picture of this country. Ihad an umbrella view. That I think was very crucial which has helped to develop this vision becauseone could see it from top and that also gave me excellent networks with NGOs.Q. What other projects did you do during those early years after you left the corporate world?Pradeep Kashyap: With MRD I started a concept of sales exhibition called Gram Shree Melas(exhibition) where artisans could bring their products directly to these exhibitions which are held inthe cities. The advantage to the rural artisans is that there were no middlemen; they get the full valuefor their products. They get to interact with buyers whom they would otherwise never be able to seeand hence not understand their taste. We also used to conduct training programs during melas. Wewould bring some designers, packaging experts, research experts and marketing experts who wouldtalk about positioning and various other things to the rural artisans. I ran this program for three yearsin which 70-80 such Gram Shree Melas were run. The program continued after I left and 300 of suchexhibitions all across India in 75 cities from 1989 till 2000 were run by CAPART- the government’snodal autonomous body for NGOs.
Then in 1993 I bid for and got a World Bank project called Women’s Enterprise ManagementTraining Outreach Program (WEMTOP) for which the requirement was six people and therefore I hadto set up a team. It was working with poor women who were artisans etc and teaching them businessskills, how to cost their products, break even analysis. It was very innovative training. This was alldone through visuals, lots of games and role plays. After WEMTOP, we disbanded and then in 1995we started MART. Later in 2000 we started project Shakti which was until 2005, that was the first bigvisibility project we did. That put us on the national and the international map.Q. You have been mapping rural India for 2 decades. What in your opinion have been significantchanges in rural India?Pradeep Kashyap: There have been a few significant changes. The first is the microfinance (MF)movement- today there are 7-8 million women’s groups serving about 70-80 million rural families outof 160 million families which means half of rural families are linked to a MF Institution or Self HelpGroup. What this has done has empowered women now that they have control over money. That hasbeen the first major shift or change where the power equation has changed, as earlier a wife dependedon her husband for any expenditure whereas now she has her own money and own savings, so she canuse that for family health and education. Besides managing money they are also interacting with theirpeers and many of them are members of the federations, they go for meetings at the district HQ,district collectors and because of such exposure, the rural women have gained confidence.The second major change has been the Panchayati Raj (local governance system in villages) wherethe women got 30% reservations in Panchayats (the rural governing assemblies). That has createdwomen leaders empowered in politics which is transforming rural India.The third one is road connectivity. In the first fifty years since independence we only connected 40% ofvillages by roads in next ten years we connected another 30%. The pace of road connectivity has beenvery fast over the last ten years. Today except for very tiny villages almost most villages are connectedby roads and once you get connected by road, it means that you then come into the mainstreameconomy. The produce can then reach the mandis (local markets) or other benefits such as if you wishto establish a school in the village then you can transport all kinds of materials that you need to buildthe school to the village. Road connectivity really transforms the village economically.The fourth is that the overall awareness about education has gone up in the villages. Today if you talkto any rural women her priority number one is to educate her children. Before, they didn’t know thateducation could be such a differentiator.The fifth change has been media penetration in rural India. There are more TV sets in rural India thanin urban India in terms of sheer number. TV is seen like a family durable as it is seen to benefiteverybody. TV gives them contact with the world.The next big change has been technology, especially mobile connections. There are already 100million connections in rural India out of 160 million families. By 2012 there will be more than 200million mobile connections in rural India that means more than one connection per family. The mobileplatform is now becoming universal for all kinds of information exchange whether it is Reuters MarketLight or mandi prices or even monitoring health through tele-medicine. So information is becoming
real time, therefore solutions have been much more impactful. So what is happening is that, what brickand mortar infrastructure couldn’t achieve because it wasn’t possible to go round to 600,000 villages,technology has suddenly made the world flat, as Friedman says.Q. What are your thoughts on entrepreneurship and education in rural marketing?Pradeep Kashyap: Government can’t be creating too many salaried jobs. 93% of our workforce is ininformal sector. We have immense numbers of young people and therefore the challenge is to how tocreate jobs through self employment and entrepreneurship. The government has recognised that.We have initiated innovative models such as 3M and Inclusive Marketing. 3M is basically for largescale employment in rural areas. The first M stands for microfinance. To start any business you musthave some money or access to capital. The second M stands for market because you’ll only be able tomake profits if you are able to sell your products and there is demand for it for which you must have amarket for it. And what we say that in the rural context the ‘hat’ (local village market) is the firstaccess for poor people because they cannot jump straight from village to market in Kolkata, thereforethe first access they have is to the hat market. The third M is ‘Microplanning’ where you look at thekinds of raw materials available in that area, what are the kinds of skills people possess, because itwould be best to start those activities for which people already have skills.I have been championing entrepreneurship courses for the business school and I taught courses inXIM- Bhubaneswar in 1993 called ‘Start your own business’. XIMB was the second institution afterIIMA which had this course. Now most of the B- schools have entrepreneurship courses. My wholepremise was that MBA and business institutions produce job seekers but what we need are jobcreators. If they (MBA students) have been equipped with all this knowledge then they should take therisk and have the courage to start something on their own and provide employment. So that is what isneeded.Before, rural marketing was not taught in many business schools. I wrote the rural marketing bookfive years back and now we conduct courses on rural marketing in B-schools. In the meantime, ruralmarkets also started expanding, corporates also started focussing on rural markets and hiring peoplewith rural marketing background and management school saw a demand from companies and startedto meet market demands.Q. How do you see MART growing in future?At MART we have been focussing on innovation. By and large we don’t like to do projects of samekinds and like to innovate with new kinds of projects. Learning is a continuous process and you neverstop learning. Over the last 10 years we have enough data and enough experience about rural India.We have created a number of learning platforms such seminars on rural marketing, rural distribution,rural telecom, rural insurance. We are very clear that we will be in the emerging markets and we thinkwhether it is the neighbouring countries like Bangladesh or countries like Brazil we will have ademand there. We are expanding our geography and we are also expanding our sectors. Earlier wewere in marketing and livelihood, now we are in healthcare, agribusiness, insurance, banking andtelecom. These are the opportunities that we see for ourselves.
Interview & compilation by, Dr. Satya Prakash DashCentre for India & Global Business, Cambridge Judge Business School University of Cambridge19 Responses to “An interview with emerging markets guru Mr. Pradeep Kashyap, CEO & FounderMART, India” 1. Vikas Goyal Says: March 10th, 2010 at 4:44 pm Nice comments by Pradeep Kashyap. Rural India is changing fast and will be the main engine for growth in the future. 2. D.Nageshwar Says: March 22nd, 2010 at 12:01 am Everyone of us has to understand the difference between working cultures of government, ngos and corporates, as defined by Sir Mr. Kashyap to re-define our roles appropriately in the socio- economic uplifting of poor, so that it can contribute to the real growth and development of all of us. 3. Raj Jani Says: March 23rd, 2010 at 7:15 am Though Pradeep has clearly outlined the strategy by saying that we need more job creators in the country today than job seekers, I’d like to add here that this is not possible simply by promoting usual products and services. Here again we need innovative products, applications and service delivery. For example technological applications like bio-gas, milk chillers, inverters, pre-fabricated bricks and energy saving stoves is increasingly creating jobs in rural world both in product and service domain. Catalytical institutions like MART can play a critical role in disseminating knowledge and bringing innovation closer to poor. 4. Hemendra Sharma Says: March 23rd, 2010 at 10:35 am I liked the points mentioned in the interview especially the points indicating about the change in rural India. I also believe that professional human capital is the essential requirement for the promotion of rural enterprise. 5. Puneet Srivastava Says: April 5th, 2010 at 12:24 am
WOW!!!! Aspring Rural Marketers — just read this for the perfect foundation from decades of experience and clarity of thoughts. Congrats Mr. Kashyap.6. Bijay Kumar Satpathy Says: April 5th, 2010 at 12:27 am This interview can be a eye opener for both corporate and goverment agencies to explore the rural market which immense potential to create emplyment oppurnities and reaching the poor through innovative service delivery model .7. Pradeep Lokhande Says: April 5th, 2010 at 2:14 am very thoughtful & useful comments,8. Mukul Lala Says: April 5th, 2010 at 2:29 am Mr. Kashyap has rightly pointed out: Flow of money, growth of the PRI, Connectivity, growing awareness, education and proliferation of technology deep down into the rural areas has brought about the much desired changes. To usher in Sustainable Economic Growth more concerted efforts are required by all the stakeholders. Mr. Kashyap and his team are playing their role very efficiently and effectively. I really admire him for all his efforts and wish him all the best.9. A.N.Pandey Says: April 5th, 2010 at 3:10 am The interview is full of learnings for the persons like myself who is willing to learn about rural marketing. Significant changes in rural india during past two and half decades are definitely based on microfinance initiatives for small artisans looking for their enhanced skills and economic growth in rural area10. RAPatankar Says: April 5th, 2010 at 5:14 am
I have known shri kashyap for the last 12 years or so and worked and interacted with him very closely.he is one of few people who i think are original thinkers and who is capable of giving shape to a concept with widespread societal benefit. he is truly a “GURU”.11. RAPatankar Says: April 5th, 2010 at 5:17 am The five important aspects of changing priorities in rural markets is a definite change agent for the better.12. Satish Tiwari Says: April 5th, 2010 at 6:09 am Grt Thought Shared By radeep now everybody is understanding the importance of rural India. We can not imagine 2020 India without developing this rural segment which is Annadata for us. Bharat we build sampurn India.13. v.n.choudhary Says: April 5th, 2010 at 6:23 am MY CMPLIMENTS TO THE GURU AND HIS TEAM FOR THE MISSIONARY ZEAL AND FOCUSED APPRPACH TO UPLIFT POOR BY PROVIDING THEM NECESSARY SKILLS. MY BEST WISHES AND REGARDS v n choudhary 965099049014. SURJEET SINGH Says: April 8th, 2010 at 2:44 am Pradeep has got a real understanding of rural india. There is a need for more entrepneurs in the rural area who have all the 3MS -Money, Market & Micro Planning. This will reduce exodus of people from villages and put less pressure on cities. I feel that MART can play a bigger role in this direction.15. Dr.Sumesh Raizada Says: April 9th, 2010 at 10:45 pm Very useful and informative especially for those who sincerely and selflessly want to work for the rural development in India or elsewhere.Mr.Pradeep Kashyap is an authority in the field of
rural marketing and has been working tirelessly for last several years in this direction. His thoughts and experience is definitely going to enrich and assist the individuals as well the organization that want to operate in the rural markets.16. sudhir kumar roy Says: April 13th, 2010 at 10:06 am I fully endorse the views of Mr.Kashyap especially that of having a social heart and business mind. With the spread of microfinance through Self help groups, there has been a growth of entrepreneurs but they fail because of lack of access to market.Thanks to the team of MART, they have made a positive impact in the areas where they have provided sensitive support17. Sanjay Kumar Ray Says: April 17th, 2010 at 12:28 am It’s very candid and thought provoking interview by Mr Kashyap . As far as changes in rural land scape is concerned in my view the introduction of Information Communication Technology(ICT) driven initiatives like establishment of Common Service Centers and Kiosk banking concept will change the lives of rural people. So in my mind these initiatives will bring more inclusive growth at village level and help over all development of Rural citizens. We need to leverage these initiatives.18. Dr.Prasanna kumar Says: April 26th, 2010 at 1:28 pm I had the previlege of being part of a rural healthcare project with MART during my MBA. Ryral healthcare through the vision of people like Mr.Kashyap, Dr.Devi Shetty, Dr.Balasubramaniam of SVYM to name a few makes us, the younger generation to sit up & take notice. Through this interview Mr.Kashyap has given expert opinion about the paradigm shift happening in Rural India and the scope for replicating the success stories. I must admit that Mr.Kashyap is one of the inspiring teachers in his domain.19. Raman V Machiraju Says: May 21st, 2010 at 4:01 am Nice to read about the interview and the valuable inputs from Pradeep Sir, yes he is certainly a great motivator & trainer. I was fortunate to be associated with MART in one of the most successful projects which is talked about even today under his guidance. My passion for rural marketing & development has been groomed well during my short stint with MART, which I always remember.
Kudos to MART team !!!Regards,Raman V Machiraju,firstname.lastname@example.org