Obama meets with entrepreneurs in India
The first business delegation that President Obama met in Mumbai on Saturday was that of about a dozen Indian entrepreneurs, working on such issues as health care and solar energy. Obama is in India with a high-powered delegation of 250 American business leaders and has said his visit to India is like a job-hunting mission.
But one of the first things he learned at the 45-minute meeting at a five-star hotel room was about India's smart cycle-rickshaw revolution in the eastern state of Bihar.
"Obama was in a listening mode, and was very curious when I told him that I head an organization of half a million unskilled, illiterate entrepreneurs, and they are all cycle-rickshaw operators," said Irfan Alam, 29-year-old social entrepreneur who founded the SammaaN Foundation, a group that has evolved a robust revenue model for the cycle-rickshaw pullers. He promotes a redesigned vehicle that has more panels to host product advertisements. It has given the cycle-rickshaw operators, most of whom are poor migrants to the city, a sixfold salary boost in three years. The cycle-rickshaws stock water or juices for passengers, allow them to pay utility bills and even sell scratch-cards that recharge cellphone minutes.
"Our message to Obama was that entrepreneurship is the only remedy for job creation," Alam said. "And Obama talked about how India and America can develop partnerships for more and more job creation."
Alam said that he handed Obama a report and left a miniature cycle-rickshaw for the president. Alam said it is "the clean-energy, short-distance urban transport solution for a world that is starved for fuel."
| November 6, 2010; 8:38 AM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
Save & Share: Previous: Keith Olbermann suspended indefinitely for donation to Dem candidates
Next: Aspiring to be the 'Indian Obama'
Posted by: SatishChandra | November 6, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: SatishChandra | November 6, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Baywoodfarm | November 6, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse