The distribution network being developed is represented by rural entrepreneurs in the form of Information Communication & Technology (ICT)-enabled kiosks. The Drishtee Foundation will raise funds in the form of a grant to be either leveraged to secure a traditional loan or as a loan through a microfinance institution. Through either means, each loan will be offered for specific, detailed projects. At each site, a Drishtee Foundation kiosk will provide various critical inputs, such as market access, capacity building and technology usage. The grant funds would act as an ongoing guarantee for our entrepreneurs.
The first such project to be financed through leveraged capital will be the establishment of the ICT kiosks. This is a model that has proven to be self-sustainable and therefore a great tool in regaining the faith of financial institutions. With the increased ownership of these ICT centers by the under privileged, equitable distribution of knowledge among all sectors of society will increase. In the second stage, focus will shift to leveraging finance for ICT related enterprises involving mobile phones and digital imaging. The last phase of growth targets other potentially viable activities that merit loans.
Drishtee has been in the business of providing products and services to villagers at their doorstep since 2006. With 1000 such centers servicing 1.5 million rural citizens, there was a need for introspection and of course correction for the full impact of ICT in villages. If continuing on its present mission, Drishtee could become the world's largest rural distribution network. However, Drishtee would still fail to ensure equity of ownership or bridge the digital divide between the haves and the have nots. With a 125 member team, galvanized for creating a 'rural social Wal-Mart', Drishtee stands apart in its success and findings. Drishtee has partners in Multi-nationals, Corporate, Government and scores of civil society members to help carry on this mission.
In addition to approx. $4.2 million needed to fund this commitment, partnerships are sought for low-cost rural
energy, connectivity and various other products and services relevant for rural areas, on a commercially viable business model basis.