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Jagriti, a non-profit that nurtures and promotes entrepreneurship in small towns and non-urban areas, announced today that it has partnered with Zoho Corp., a global technology company headquartered in Chennai, to set up a Digital Centre of Excellence (CoE) at its upcoming campus at Deoria, Uttar Pradesh. The Digital CoE will aim to incubate 3500 local SMEs and provide technical support to 20,000 other companies, thereby promoting decentralized development and the creation of local intellectual property.
The center is one among the six CoEs being set up in the new 6-acre campus of Jagriti Enterprise Centre-Purvanchal (JECP) in Deoria. The six CoEs will cater to SMEs in Deoria and 15 surrounding districts, and focus on different areas, namely: Agro-processing, Healthcare, Digital, Women, Rurbanization, and Handicraft & Apparel.
As a key partner for JECP’s Digital CoE, Zoho aims to create an innovation sandbox in Purvanchal by bringing its knowledge, expertise, and resources to the entrepreneurs in the region. This includes support in the form of technology, training, mentorship, and more.
Sridhar Vembu, CEO and Co-founder, Zoho Corp. said: “We are invested in creating knowledge hubs, and promoting R&D and entrepreneurship, particularly in smaller towns and rural areas. Only by decentralizing development and tapping into the talent pool that exists in villages and small towns will we be able to develop the technological capabilities and know-how necessary for a resilient economy. While we have been undertaking such initiatives in southern India, this partnership enables us to expand them to the north as well.”
Speaking on behalf of Jagriti, Shashank Mani, Founder of JECP said, “Zoho’s values and vision are very similar to Jagriti. They seek to impact the small towns and districts of India with a deliberate long-term approach. The Jagriti Enterprise Centre-Purvanchal and this partnership for the Digital CoE exemplify these values, and will accelerate inclusive growth in Purvanchal that creates employment in this region.”
Shoaib Ahmed, Chair of JECP Digital CoE said, “Jagriti is a pioneer in focusing on enterprises in Tier 2 and Tier 3 districts. This journey started a decade back with our flagship programme Jagriti Yatra, which has produced 6,000 leaders. JECP and Digital CoE are the culmination of that effort, providing those in Purvanchal a world-class center in ‘Middle India’.”
Praval Singh, VP – Marketing & Customer Experience, Zoho Corp. said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has proven that digital transformation is the key enabler for SMEs, providing them the agility to pivot and adapt to changing market conditions and seize emerging opportunities. The Digital CoE will enable local enterprises to capitalize on this trend by utilizing Zoho’s resources and expertise.”
Building India through Enterprise
Jagriti, a renowned non-profit organization that has been positively influencing the country’s youth through its various initiatives for over two decades, believes that entrepreneurial energy in Tier 2 and Tier 3 districts in “Middle India” has to be mobilized for revival and growth of the region, and of the country. According to a Nesta report, Jagriti is “one of the few incubators beyond metros focused on small towns and districts, particularly Uttar Pradesh where employment and entrepreneurship are most needed”.