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Skill Development
Published on: Feb. 13, 2020, 8:08 p.m.
The Bajaj Group has started a Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme

By Business India Editorial
A

The Bajaj Group has started a Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme along with Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST) that aims to empower disadvantaged youth between the age of 18 and 35 years and turn them into young entrepreneurs, thus integrating them into the economic mainstream.

The group supported the training of 25,000 young persons in Aurangabad and Wardha in Maharashtra to create 1,000 entrepreneurs in five years. It aims to now expand training to another 15,000 entrepreneurs in five years.

unique feature of the programme is that each entrepreneur is assigned a mentor, drawn from the industry, who gives voluntary personalised advice and support to them. Bajaj BYST mentors from urban centres travel to the entrepreneur’s location and provide advisory services right at their doorstep. Most of the entrepreneurs mentored through Bajaj BYST have won awards and become role models and regional icons who are today guiding other entrepreneurs. Bajaj BYST attracted top-notch business leaders to act as volunteer mentors. The programme includes supporting them by supplementing financing, based on assessments done by the mentor selectors. The amounts can vary from Rs5 lakh to an upper limit of Rs1 crore.

The entrepreneurs are also supported with a host of business-related activities such as training, business plan development, monitoring, mentoring and networking. They are nurtured until they are not just self-sufficient but can also contribute to society through the creation of wealth and employment. Many entrepreneurs mentored through Bajaj BYST is guiding other entrepreneurs.

The programme wasn’t without challenges. Roping in financial partners was a key challenge. Moreover, many of the first-generation entrepreneurs were hesitant to start their own business. The loan waivers by governments have impacted CIBIL scores of a very large number of rural poor, thereby complicating the process. To address these, BYST followed a rigorous process.

Selecting an entrepreneur involves counselling sessions for screening and ensuring a steady stream of potential entrepreneurs. Online training helped in converting an idea into a structured business proposition. The physical verification of KYC documents, site verification, verification of financial aspects of the business and the technical viability of the project. And mentor/ mentee get together meetings every quarter through networking, to focus and exchange the views on their experience and mentoring.

Since its inception in January 2015, Bajaj BYST project has supported 370 ventures and disbursed loans worth Rs50 crore. It has trained over 6,300 entrepreneurs and counselled ~7,200 more.


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