Connecticut Pilot

December 16, 2008 - Anil SrivastavaAnil Srivastava

Andrea has been talking of a local pilot. In a conversation between Andrea, Denise and me the idea again surfaced.

We in United States are living in difficult times. Every day hundreds and thousands of people are being laid off. The worst hit from all account will be people without a college or professional degree. These are the very same people who can easily sink to the bottom and depend on safety nets.

Millions of jobs that President Obama talks of creating will not come out of rebuilt factories and huge enterprises but more and more out of home based enterprises, they used to talk of "cottage industries" in India, and virtual assistants are a cottage industry of the new technological century.

Poverty is poverty, whether in the United States or Bangladesh. It is equally demeaning and dehumanizing here as abroad. It is more ridiculous in the richest country on earth. We know a socialist society could not eradicate poverty because of the inefficiency in a state-managed economy and we know that the capitalist market economy has miserably failed us. It is now for us to devise a way out of the hole we find ourselves.

Self-employment has to be the new mantra. Create jobs for ourselves and create a network around us to bring other people into gainful employment.

Nothing is impossible if we put our heads together. Denise said she was going to draw the concept to send to Andrea. I thought I will put a list for us to think about:

  • Find a person who has the desire to be the leader. S/he could be a supervisor level person who has been recently laid off but does not desperately need a job to put food on the table or pay the rent and utilities for a at least 3-5 months from his or her saving. This is a sweat s/he is willing to invest.
  • Let us go out and find a lawyer and an accountant who is willing to provide pro bono service to help him/her to form a corporation and do the right thing from law point of view. This is important when negotiating for work.
  • GVAN team should work as mentor/guide, seed investor with ideas, maybe find small capital, source grants and contracts, in kind resources (computers, connectivity, training), making the connection, and business development. In return GVAN could get some founders equity in the new VA company.
  • Hold hands through early stages.

Foundations like Kauffman and agencies for minority (MDBE), woman (WDBE) and disabled (DSDBE) owned, disadvantaged business enterprises must have funds to support such an initiative. Maybe Grameen Foundation may have a role.

We can learn from developing countries and in applying those ideas here, we may develop a universal model for GVAN entrepreneurship.


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