For simpletons like us, the day starts with a humble cup of coffee, a beverage that stimulates us into activeness and kickstarts our day. What if this humble cuppa could change the entire history and culture of a community? What if I say I see it snowballing into a revolution? Jharkhand Open Coffee Club, frequently called as JOCC is one such community that is bringing about a revolution in the mineral rich state of Jharkhand and which will surely change the ecosystem of entrepreneurship in India.
Exchanging ideas especially when they are in the form of a solution to anything that is wrong greatly interests Indians. The most prevalent ways of discussing ideas are either over ‘Chai-Sutta’ in panwadis or over coffee in cafés. So, it was not surprising to see a bunch of coffee enthusiasts meeting frequently at CCDs to discuss the start-up landscape in Ranchi and the changes that can be brought about. Judging by how the discussions progressed, one could easily see that the group was not a gathering of random people frustrated with the lack of visible business opportunities but a group that actually meant business. The meet-ups were open for all and word about it started spreading like wildfire. The group was also joined by people working in the government. The Jharkhand Government took an innovative step to invite suggestions from the people while drafting the “Jharkhand Start-up Policy” — a first-ever initiative by the Government of Jharkhand focused on aiding the start-up scenario. The group welcomed this opportunity with open arms and contributed to the document and it was heartwarming to see the Government inculcating its inputs and suggestions into its final policy draft.
The group kept meeting regularly but there are 2 mutually exclusive events that led to what we call today as JOCC. The US Consulate at Kolkata organised a meeting at Radisson, Ranchi with a few who were actively trying to bring about a change (they do not wish to be named and played an important role in getting things done; members who can be called the Bahubalis of the group). A fruitful discussion followed which motivated the group for the next lap. Meanwhile, Assocham organized a start-up conference and Mr. Bharat Jaiswal in his keynote speech mentioned about the CCD group, thereby giving the group its first recognition.
The biggest difference between a seasoned consultant and just another knowledgeable guy is that a consultant knows the importance and art of structuring. Our CCD group had consultants (identities to be kept anonymous) who decided to brand the community to create an impact. Thus, a process of finding a name and voting resulted in the birth of Jharkhand Open Coffee Club (JOCC) and the core agenda was set after having open discussions and debates. Our objective is to reach out to the 3.25 crore population of Jharkhand and help them out. We help and encourage people right from the stage of idea generation to helping and guiding them in execution. We discuss about recent trends and developments across sectors that benefits the group. We have people from diverse backgrounds which helps people to exchange ideas, skill sets and most importantly resources which was till now inaccessible due to lack of awareness and/or networking. As the community keeps on growing so does the knowledge, network quotient and the resources at disposal. The group has recently seen the involvement of many faculties and students turning up for the meet-up which is bringing about a cultural change amongst the people of Jharkhand which was unheard before. We also have seen an increase in connect with the VC firms and incubators keeping an eye on this budding part of the country. The group doesn’t restrict itself to entrepreneurs or VCs or people living in Jharkhand (we have people contributing from not only across India but also from the United States of America) but is open to anyone who wants to contribute in the growth of the Jharkhand Startup Ecosystem and pushing the state towards development. In order to improve participation at all levels, the community has an egalitarian approach: each member is a founder and a member.
When you talk about start-ups in India, the conversation veers to the start-ups in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad and the budding ecosystems such as Kolkata, Jaipur, Indore etc. but to name 10 start-ups in Jharkhand, would be quite a riddle. However, I would like to share a surprising piece of information: the Ranchi Meetup organized at IIM Ranchi under the banner of YourStory Meetups was among one of the most active meet-ups in recent times in India and garnered a positive response. The lack of adequate information about the nascent start-ups in Ranchi including the fact that the first bitcoin bonds in the world are being materialised by the citizens of Ranchi in Ranchi or for example new products being developed here that have the potential to create waves in the market are largely unknown to most of us. The Butterfly Project spearheading the women entrepreneurship or social entrepreneurs leveraging modern technology to impart education in rural Jharkhand, the wheels are rolling. The communication channels at our disposal are yet to be leveraged but that is on the verge of change. Please click the following links and witness one of the biggest socio-economic revolutions in Eastern India first-hand:
We have lots to tell you about the other exciting stuff happening in Jharkhand but let’s save it for another post — we don’t want to give you an overdose of caffeine! This community could be the largest open community in the world where everyone would be a founder. It’s not the coffee kicking in for the folks of Jharkhand, its reality! So, keep calm and for once instead of going to Haveli, Aao Kabhi JOCC Meet-up Pe; Drink Coffee and Do Things!
- A JOCC Member who happens to be neither an entrepreneur nor a start-up employee, neither a VC nor an HNI, just another guy who wants to see Jharkhand thrive!