Indian cultural and creative goods have been a centre of attraction for western consumers for centuries. Indian artisanal skills, whether making fine muslin from handspun yarn, hand-done kalamkari, paisley motifs, naturally dyed indigo, were all prized merchandise for the traders feeding the royalty and the privileged in Europe and elsewhere. However, the entrepreneurship ecosystem does not seem to be ready to train the next-gen founders of cultural startups.
The unique Creative & Cultural Businesses Programme (CCBP) at IIM Ahmedabad is curated for entrepreneurs in the creative and cultural industries. It aims to bridge the skill gap among talented artists and to-be entrepreneurs in multiple sectors including the visual arts, creative services, design, entertainment, new media, performing arts, retail, traditional cultural expressions, and publishing and print media.
The founding co-chair at the CCBP, Anchal Jain, spent over 15 years in Paris developing different brands but he always felt that India’s artistic heritage has not found its due recognition. “The programme was initially conceived as Crafting Luxury & Lifestyle Businesses (CLLB) but in early 2019, it was remodelled as Creative & Cultural Businesses Programme (CCBP). The thought that the world is ready for Indian cultural goods, but we are not as there was no globally recognised brand from India in the creative domain propelled the programme,” Jain said.
In India, more than 30 million craftspersons are involved in the sector but despite several interventions, it suffers from a number of challenges that inhibit large-scale investment from the corporate houses, said Amit Karna, the chairperson of the programme.
Besides breaking the moulds of traditional brand-building science, the CCBP introduced a bold experiment in cultural education by including rural artisans to learn alongside industry entrepreneurs. “This meant adapting the learning methods for the artisans in a way that there are assured learning outcomes without affecting the classroom rhythm. Group preparation techniques and peer learning helped deliver on this objective to a very large extent,” Karna added.