The majority of enterprises in India are very small with investments varying between Rs. 10,000 to a few lakhs. These tiny or nano enterprises generally employ only the labour of the individual and at most, of the family. The needs of such small enterprises are often different from larger microenterprises but due to their small size, this range of microentrepreneurs have not received attention, are significantly underreported and support that could go to them to scale up and expand India’s economic footprint is severely lacking. These microentrepreneurs are increasingly vulnerable to external shocks such as the pandemic, with low levels of resources to cope with disruptions or crises.
We therefore identify entrepreneurs as those who add value to the production process and organise multiple factors of production (land, labour, capital) while making decisions bearing financial risk, in the active hopes of earning a profit, or the cost of living for most enterprises at the lower rung of our economic ladders. These microentrepreneurs run a multitude of small businesses from both inside and outside their homes – they are fruit and vegetable vendors, thrift clothes sellers, bangle makers, tailors and weavers, and agri-based workers such as those engaged in animal husbandry, bamboo products, among others.