Deploying Technology to Grow Micro-Enterprises in India: Evidence From Urban Gujarat

18 October 2016

This report delves into the use of technology amongst micro-entrepreneurs in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and explores its potential to transform them into larger enterprises. It emphasises the challenges faced by micro-enterprises and offers policy recommendations for fostering employment opportunities.

This report, based on primary data collected from micro-entrepreneurs in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city, delves into the role of technology within the micro-enterprise landscape.

The report examines three key aspects: (i) the extent to which informal micro-enterprises make use of technology, (ii) the policy framework governing their access to technology, and (iii) the broader potential for technology to catalyse the expansion of micro-enterprises into small and medium-sized enterprises, consequently generating employment opportunities.

The study looks at micro-enterprises in two distinct informal settlements, Saraspur and Sarkhej, and includes data from a variety of entrepreneurs engaged in businesses like apparel, furniture, provision stores, tailoring, and beauty parlours. The analysis reveals that micro-enterprise owners possess a basic familiarity with technology but face impediments, such as limited access, exposure, or information, that hinder their ability to fully harness its benefits and upgrades, thus constraining them from embracing advanced technologies.

The report commences with an overview of urban informality, micro-entrepreneurship, technology utilisation, and relevant Indian policies. Subsequently, it presents findings from the study of 327 micro-enterprises in Ahmedabad, with a focus on technology access, adoption, and its perceived impact on business. Finally, the authors offer policy recommendations directed at Indian policymakers, emphasising the role of technology as a catalyst for fostering micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), particularly those owned by women, to create more and better employment opportunities.

This report was featured as a chapter in “Transformations in Technology, Transformations in Work”- a joint report co-authored by the global partners of JustJobs Network.