Centurion University is essentially a "B-School for the Poor", as aptly nicknamed by Business Today, one of India's top business magazines. Along with its social enterprise arm - Gram Tarang - the university targets youth in rural, remote, and conflict regions of eastern India with business degree programs, vocational training, and various livelihoods-related initiatives. Below are some salient aspects of our work:
- Tackling rural poverty in conflict areas
While we work across a large geographic area, they are mainly centred in Orissa - India's poorest, most underdeveloped and yet most natural resource rich state. Within Orissa we especially focus on districts which in recent years have seen a lot of grassroots level political violence due to clashes over mining, complete lack of economic opportunities, and general dissatisfaction with government response to extreme poverty.
- Entrepreneurship development in urban slums
The university constantly creates new programs in order to tackle eastern India's livelihoods issues in a comprehensive manner. Thus it has just established a nonprofit arm - that focuses specifically on entrepreneurship development among the urban poor. This nonprofit entity - Centurion Micro Entrepreneurship Development Center - aims to work in a participatory manner with urban slum communities in order to identify opportunities for economic development.
The nonprofit is kicking off its work via a pilot project that shall also be its flagship project - a slum-based micro-business development centre that provides training, business and various handholding services to the hundreds of informal economic enterprises operated by Orissa's urban poor. The project shall focuses on business development, entrepreneurship building, linking of self-employed slum residents to local and regional markets, and vocational training for wage-employment.
This pilot project has been developed in partnership with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (Government of Orissa), and is being implemented in partnership with the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.
- Policy Advocacy
All projects and programs at Centurion (the university, Gram Tarang, the entrepreneurship development center) are implemented in public-private partnership (PPP) mode so we work closely with the central, state and local governments in India. This has allowed us to develop deep expertise, and a wide network that spans government bureaucrats, elected representatives, local communities and civil society stakeholders. As a result we are highly credible policy reform advocates in the educational and livelihoods sector, particularly with respect to policies targeting Indian youth.
For more information about Centurion University or Gram Tarang, please contact:
Abhinav Madan, Managing Director - Gram Tarang, firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about Centurion's urban slum development projects, please contact:
Sobhi Mohanty, Director-Strategic Partnerships, email@example.com