It is estimated that by 2030 nearly 50% of India’s population will live in cities. Consequently 70% of the employment will be generated in the cities. In such a scenario it is important to look at how cities can help businesses. This paper focuses on understanding sustainability of livelihood entrepreneurs in Chennai, capital city of Tamil Nadu, and one of the largest Urban Agglomerations in India. The study is situated in one of the densely populated business districts in the city that is home to diverse businesses and accounting for revenues of nearly Rs.200,000 million annually. The specific objective is to look at the food-vendors with the objectives: (i) to understand the viability and sustainability of the business; (ii) to enumerate risk elements of the business and see how they are addressed; and (iii) to recommend the scope for improvement and opportunity from a policy perspective. The findings are based on field work done in the business district and gains importance in the context of the Sustainable Development Goal 8 which looks at promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; and Sustainable Development Goal 16 which works to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. The paper helps in gaining a perspective of how livelihood entrepreneurism can be promoted - helping in using an opportunity that is sustainable as also pursuing one’s passion.
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