Creating a Supportive Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for Street Vendors: The Case of the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI)
Like many other emerging economies, India has made steady progress towards social and economic development since liberalization. However, poverty and inequality continue to be critical social challenges, driving the poor to seek employment in the informal sector. A significant proportion of the working age population is employed in the informal sector as street vendors or informal entrepreneurs. In the early years after liberalization, street vendors lacked legal and social status and therefore were unable to protect themselves from the harassment by authorities. They could not access critical resources like credit and training. As a result, they remained poor while the rich benefitted from the liberalized regime.
The National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) emerged as a response to the street vendors’ predicament. Through tireless advocacy, it helped create a better entrepreneurial ecosystem for street vendors and thereby improve their quality of life. This paper will describe what NASVI did to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem and the outcomes of its initiatives so far. It will conclude with some ideas about how the entrepreneurial ecosystem for street vendors could become sustainable.
KeywordsStreet vendors NASVI Informal entrepreneurs Informal sector
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