IIM-Ahmedabad’s Unique Business Program for Creative Entrepreneurs Can Help Cultural Startups Grow Globally

Indian cultural and creative goods have been a center of attraction for Western consumers for centuries. Indian craft skills, whether making fine muslins from hand spun yarns, by hand kalamkari, the cashmere patterns, naturally dyed with indigo, were so many commodities valued by traders feeding the royalty and the privileged in Europe and elsewhere. However, the entrepreneurial ecosystem doesn’t seem ready to train the next-gen founders of cultural startups.

IIM Ahmedabad’s unique Creative and Cultural Enterprises (CCBP) program is aimed at entrepreneurs in the creative and cultural industries. It aims to bridge the skills gap between talented artists and future entrepreneurs across multiple industries including visual arts, creative services, design, entertainment, new media, performing arts, retail , traditional cultural expressions, publishing and print media.

CCBP founding co-chair Anchal Jain spent more than 15 years in Paris developing different brands, but he always felt that India’s artistic heritage had not been given due recognition. “The program was originally designed as the Crafting Luxury & Lifestyle Businesses (CLLB), but in early 2019 it was transformed into the Creative & Cultural Businesses Program (CCBP). The thought that the world is ready for Indian cultural goods, but we are not as there was no globally recognized Indian brand in the creative field propelled the program, ”Jain said.

In India, more than 30 million artisans are involved in the sector, but despite several interventions, it suffers from a number of challenges that hamper large-scale business investments, said Amit Karna, chairman of the program.

In addition to breaking the molds of the traditional science of branding, CCBP introduced a daring experiment in cultural education by including rural artisans to learn alongside entrepreneurs in the industry. “This involved adapting learning methods for craftspeople in such a way as to ensure learning outcomes without affecting the pace of the class. Group preparation techniques and peer learning have achieved this to a very large extent, ”Karna added.

The 15-day program is delivered through three rounds of classroom interactions (camps) on campus over six months, with research, homework and online interactions. Each participant is matched with a mentor and must build on their respective business cases and prepare for the final presentation in front of a panel of industry leaders.

The value creation process is one of the strongest aspects that sets the program apart from other business incubators. The program chairs believe that everything, including the delivery system, creative talent management, organization structuring and pricing, is very different from the traditional startup system. The CCBP is designed around the principle that the products and services of this industry should have a “strong resonance with their customers and establish an emotional connection to meet their needs”.

“Companies in the creative and cultural industry thrive when they understand their niche, their uniqueness and use their uniqueness to excel and build a business model around it. The creative startups participating in the program are most often rooted in “Indianness”. They need to be trained and scaled so that they are not costly, but priceless. They can be ‘desi’ but have to be rare to make an impact, ”Jain added.

The program is now also working on building original research and writing Indian case studies that participants can learn from.

At first, Karna said, there was a feeling that traditional business school courses did not address aspects essential to creative and / or cultural endeavors. “Over the years we have been right, and the participants especially appreciated the application of traditional concepts of business schools to the creative and cultural business context in a meaningful way,” he added.

Jane Mason, an alumnus of the program, founded Mason and Co – India’s first bar-bean chocolatier, producing organic, gourmet, and single-origin chocolate and cocoa products, where every chocolate bar purchased can be attributed to a specific region. or close. Another alumnus, Vipasha Tilak, started Banjara Talkies – a community-building initiative that focuses on celebrating intimate, invitation-only music concerts. The Banjara experience aims to capture and demonstrate the rich sound tapestry of India.

Marc’s Coffees by Marc Tormo is an Indian specialty coffee company focused on the ‘seed to cup’ concept, roasted with passion and precision. “The program has provided me with a variety of insightful experiences, ranging from critical thinking, decision making and finance to understanding different perspectives. Peer learning has also been one of the catalysts and I continue to stay in touch with talented entrepreneurs from different fields, ”said Marc Tormo, CEO of Marc’s Coffees, who participated in the program in 2017.

Applicants are first shortlisted on the basis of their application form and will then be required to send a Statement of Intent not exceeding 200 words at this stage prior to the interview, including a video interview with the program co-chairs.

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Jamie Collins

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