Connect India-Building a Rural Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Connect India-Building a Rural Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Case Code: OPER150
Case Length: 11 Pages
Period: 2015-2021
Pub Date: 2021
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.250
Organization : Connect India E-Commerce Services Private Limited (Connect India)
Industry :Transport & Logistics
Countries : India
Themes: Logistics & Supply Chain,Rural Markets,Platform Ecosystem,E-commerce
Connect India-Building a Rural Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


The case study ‘Connect India – Building a Rural Entrepreneurial Ecosystem’ describes how Connect India sought to become a Last Mile Delivery (LMD) service provider that delivers goods, documents, and various government services to remote rural areas in a unique, cost-efficient way through a robust and efficient logistics network. The case begins by focusing on how low cost internet availability led to an increase in the e-commerce potential in rural India and how the founders L.R. Sridhar and Vijay Mahajan envisioned Connect India as a solution to link customers and producers in rural India with global markets and ultimately create a unique entrepreneur-based distribution model where it would partner with local retail outlets and small business establishments for the last-mile distribution of products in remote areas.

The case then describes in detail the components of Connect India’s Single Terminal with Multiple Services (STEMS) partner-driven, asset-light, business model to offer a multitude of services – including last-mile delivery for e-commerce companies, financial institutions, and government bodies – and a drop-box facility for various institutions. The infrastructure network included Connect India Centers (CICs), Rapid Fulfillment Centers (RFCs), micro-warehouses, and last-mile delivery partners. Connect India intended to help local rural consumption by aiding rural consumers in the purchase of goods from e-commerce websites (‘aided e-commerce’) and delivering them through its logistics distribution system. It also wanted to use the distribution system for reverse logistics whereby Connect India would help rural enterprises, including small and medium scale industries, small-scale farmers, Self Help Groups (SHGs), and others to transport orders received from e-commerce portals and other trading platforms through its logistics network.

The case then touches upon the partnerships Connect India forged to boost its business and the various ground-level challenges it faced. The case finally touches upon the future plans of Connect India, which included raising funds from large investors to expand its network, creating more than 500,000 jobs by 2024, connecting rural artisans and e-commerce platforms, and emerging as a billion dollar enterprise in the last mile distribution industry in the process.


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Gain an awareness of the challenges confronting e-commerce businesses in rural India.
  • Learn how to operationalize a business model by creating the necessary infrastructure components.
  • Gain an understanding of the Single Terminal with Multiple Services (STEMS) model and the value proposition offered by it.
  • Understand the need to create an asset light business model by forging partnerships with consumers, suppliers, and e-commerce platforms to build a viable ecosystem.
  • Become aware of how founders with work experience can envision holistic solutions to large scale issues.



Logistics services,Supply chain;Rural distribution; Rural markets; E-commerce business models; Entrepreneurship; Start-ups; Service operations; Supply chain efficiency; Reverse logistics; Channel management; Channel members; Buying behavior; Warehousing;

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