It is being attended by 50 college students from across the State

A month-long residential entrepreneurship development programme, which will groom youth aspiring to become entrepreneurs began at IIT Madras (IIT-M) on Tuesday.

Launched by the Entrepreneurship Development Institute and Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Housing Development Corporation (TAHDCO) with the support of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), IIT-M and MaFoi Randstad, the programme is being attended by 50 college students from across Tamil Nadu, including 25 candidates from underprivileged sections.

Inaugurating the programme, Chief Secretary K.S. Sripathi hailed the role of the supporting institutions in designing a training module for promoting entrepreneurship.

Vishwanath Shegaonkar, Principal Secretary, Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department, said the government, which spent Rs.25 crore on vocational training of 20,000 SC/ST students and another Rs.10 crore on Backward Classes and Most Backward Classes could consider replicating the entrepreneurship training model in other parts of the State.

P.K. Mohapatra, chairman of the CII sub-committee on inclusiveness and affirmative action, said a CII survey among 320 private sector companies had shown that SC/ST recruits constituted 16.5 per cent of workforce. This reflected both the progressive attitude of companies as well as the State's political and social leadership that prioritised education of the underprivileged.

The CII would help make the training programme an annual fixture and schedule training of at least 1,000 candidates in 20 batches each year.

The course involved about 100 hours of academic orientation, exposure to finance, marketing and HR precepts, a two-hour session every day where an entrepreneur shared experiences and visits to select factories/business houses.

K. Pandia Rajan, managing director, MaFoi Randstad, said entrepreneurship, especially in smaller towns, had succeeded in breaking many barriers of background and gender stereotypes. The essentials of entrepreneurship, he said, were a powerful idea, an execution plan, identity, tenacity and co-creation.

C.K. Ranganathan, immediate past chairman of CII, urged youth not to worry about needing huge capital for a start-up.

Pointing out that many large companies were started on modest venture capital, he said the problem was not money but ideas.

Ashok Jhunjhunwala, professor, IIT-M, urged youth to take start-ups to the rural areas as there was need for generating rural employment.

Sudeep Jain, Special Officer, Entrepreneurship Development Institute and C.B. Kamble, managing director, TAHDCO, also spoke.