The notion that there exists creative complementarities between research, practice and teaching is well established (Mahoney & McGahan, 2007). Consequently, my academic efforts strive to create harmony between research, teaching and practice. My ongoing research in several low-income communities has enriched me as a marketing scholar. The insights generated have both a) theoretical significance for the discipline and b) practical relevance for the low-income communities I work in.

For the last 16 years, I have been running several eduction centers in the heart of major urban slum in Chennai. The community center acts as a) a nodal point for academic research, embedded deep within the community and b) a hub for delivering several social services (research-based & otherwise) to the community. As a marketing scholar studying how external organizations enter and create solutions for subsistence marketplaces, running such a venture provides an opportunity to learn as well as apply and test the learning. The dynamic interplay between research and practice enriches both spheres and reflects the core spirit of engaged scholarship (Van de Ven, 2007).



Evening education programs for school going children in the community



  Awareness Program for Parents

  Education Center in a Fishing Village


Since 2009, I have been closely involved in the activities of Marketplace Literacy Communities (MLC). MLC offers marketplace literacy education to subsistence consumers and entrepreneurs in rural and urban Tamil Nadu, India.  The marketplace literacy education program was developed after years of research on subsistence consumers and entrepreneurs and enables its beneficiaries to function effectively in the marketplace as customers and as entrepreneurs. My work with MLC has involved a) conducting basic research and b) program evaluation and enhancement.



Interviewing an entrepreneur at MLC


Subsistence Entrepreneurship Art

There are multiple pathways to understanding subsistence entrepreneurship. Art, particularly local art, is one powerful medium that can aid in the understanding of subsistence entrepreneurship. For the unexposed, art can render familiar, the unfamiliar world of subsistence entrepreneurship. For the expert, art can render unfamiliar, the familiar world of subsistence entrepreneurship. This continuous process of learning and unlearning is crucial to knowledge creation in any arena.

In service of the above goal, I have, in this webpage, aggregated works of art dealing with the subject of subsistence entrepreneurship. The pieces featured include paintings, films and photographs. Most of the works have been created by local artists and capture the local scenes.

I hope that these pieces evoke fresh thoughts and stir discussion among those interested in this global globally pervasive phenomenon of subsistence entrepreneurship.

I dedicate this collection to the spirit of the subsistence entrepreneurs across the world who take agentic action in the face of severe economic hardship, to better their own circumstances, and that of their families.



Photo Book

Tales from Chennai: Entreprenuership from the Streets of Chennai

There are more than billion entrepreneurs in the world who live in poverty and operate micro-enterprises as a way of meeting their basic needs. Despite the pervasiveness and vitality of this global phenomenon, we have come to associate the word entrepreneurship exclusively with wealth creation and affluence.