Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Small Businesses
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Small Businesses (CCISB) was established in February 2004 with the support of All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI). The CCISB is increasingly recognized as one of the key innovative and all-encompassing initiatives taken in the risk mitigation sector.
After the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, AIDMI decided to help the disaster affected people in the relief phase. Surveys were carried out in 19 communities in the affected area, and from them 14 were selected to receive assistance. Different types of relief – such as livelihood relief, education, shelter, community infrastructure and training – followed by rehabilitation, were provided. Beneficiaries who had already received assistance from the Livelihood Relief Fund (LRF) from AIDMI received secondary support as per their need. This continued for two years, until the 1200 beneficiaries did not need any more relief, but rather means to support them financially. Money lenders do provide loans, but the interest rates they charge are too high. The same goes for different banks, which also demand several documents in a rather lengthy process. Therefore, the beneficiaries met and discussed the possibility of having some kind of rotating fund from which they could borrow money. The idea was discussed first among the community volunteers, then with AIDMI’s local team members, and resulted in the idea of creating CCISB.
Thus, in February 2004 – with valuable support from AIDMI – the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Small Businesses was born, registered as a public charitable trust under the society registration act. It has a membership based structure, and provides different types of benefits for its members. For being a member, the beneficiaries have to pay just Rs. 10 per year which makes it easily accessible for poor beneficiaries. Being a member of a Chamber of Commerce and Industry should not only be a privilege for rich businessmen, but also for poor business men and women.
Our vision is disaster risk mitigation through better livelihoods and stronger inter-community networks; and promotion of entrepreneurs and social inclusion.
Our mission is to help the disaster affected poor and vulnerable community to create and enhance a more inclusive local economic development through providing more voice, visibility, and influence to the disaster-stricken small businesses.
CCISB, as an organisation, has four guiding objectives for its work:
- Efforts towards the restoration of the economy and the development of poor and small-scale businessmen affected by the natural disaster, re-establish livelihood and the beneficiaries’ economic condition.
- Disaster Risk Reduction in the context of economic and social safety for the poor, small-scale business men/women affected by the natural disaster.
- Helps communities to rehabilitate and develop cities and villages based on the development of the affected vulnerable men and women, in the context of the Gujarat tradition. To facilitate the development process for the affected population, CCISB will provide different type of assistance.
- Create awareness about Disaster Risk Reduction among the poor small-scale business communities affected by natural disasters so that they are better prepared for working with their business, and linking this with national development.
Since its establishment, CCISB has focused its activities towards Livelihood/Economic Development; Capacity Building and Institution Building; Area Improvement; Support Services like Health, Shelter, Education; Research, Development, and Policy Initiatives; and Natural Resource Management.
The foundation of CCISB was laid in Bhuj town of Kutch district of Gujarat and over the years, its activities have reached to various villages of Bihar, Kashmir, and Tamil Nadu besides Gujarat.
All the villages and slums where CCISB has focused its activities are disaster affected and are economically and socially challenged and backward. The Sabarkantha, Kutch, Patan, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Kheda, Gandhinagar, and Surendranagar districts of Gujarat were affected by 2001 earthquake whereas the areas covered in Kashmir were affected by 2005 earthquake. Further the villages of Bihar where CCISB carried out its activities were affected by 2007 and 2008 floods whereas in Tamil Nadu, CCISB covered the 2004 tsunami affected areas.
CCISB focuses on poor and vulnerable community members from informal sectors. Majority of the members covered work within four categories of small businesses i.e. small vendors, small businessmen, landless labourers and home-based workers.
Members covered under various activities of CCISB belong to economically weaker sections, S.C., S.T., O.B.C., and Minorities and their income lie between Rs. 1000 and 6000 per month.
In its first year of operation i.e. 2004-05, CCISB had 1194 members and at present, the total number of CCISB members is 3000, with approximately 25 percentage of them living in Bhuj.