Will Holt, Programme Leader for our Business Degrees, shares his thoughts during the final days of his trip to India with some of our students, as part of their entrepreneurship module:
It's nice to have internet connection again, although I'm sad to be heading back to the UK today (Sunday) after a fascinating week in India.
The students completed the first part of their project in Goa, and now have a clear strategy for taking the organic cotton/up cycling initiative forward. In brief, they have created a "cotton cloud" campaign with local organisations to promote awareness about the damage caused by GM cotton, which in time we hope will be a global initiative.
The next part of the trip has been in Nagpur, right in the middle of India. We flew there from Goa on Friday and were immediately hit by the heat after stepping off the plane - it's a fiery 43 degrees in the midday sun here! After a good night's sleep on Friday, we drove into rural Nagpur to meet some of the beneficiaries of this project at Chetana Vikas, a local organisation that provides support to women in agricultural communities.
As soon as we arrived we were ushered out of the heat into a room where 34 women from the villages greeted us with singing - proud songs about their strength and independence. There then followed a couple of hours of introductions, where each women told us a little bit about themselves. It was inspiring to hear these stories and we were all struck by the drive and initiative that they all had. Many of them already run their own businesses on a micro scale - the students hope to create a brand that will open up bigger markets to these women both in India and in the UK.
Exhausted, we returned back to the hotel late last night. A few hours sleep later and I hopped in a taxi to Nagpur airport. The students have five more days there to work with the beneficiaries to start implementing their strategy, but my trip has now come to an end. I've been incredibly impressed with the students this week - their initiative and approach has been inspiring. I'm really excited to see what the next week will hold in store from them!