An Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) initiated here by Entrepreneurship Development Institute, Chennai, Government of Tamil Nadu, has attracted 50 candidates - 25 Scheduled Caste candidates and the rest from general category.

Sponsored by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, the 12-day programme in progress at the training centre of the R.K. Charitable Trust is supported by National Institute of Micro, Small And Medium Enterprises (NIMISME), Hyderabad. Having conducted one Entrepreneurship Skill Development Programme in fabrication engineering, the R.K. Charitable Trust will conduct a similar programme exclusively for SC candidates, according to Managing Trustee N.Kanagasabapathy.

There were schemes of the State government for imparting training in sectors such as trading, service and manufacturing. Funding under the schemes ranges from one lakh rupees to one crore rupees, the General Manager of DIC S.Kandasamy said. Subsidy components varied from 15 per cent to 25 per cent to a maximum of Rs.25 lakhs under the schemes. The time was ideal for entrepreneurs to start ventures by contacting the District Industries Centre, Mr. Kandasamy said.

Inaugurating the programme, T. Ramadoss, Lead Bank Manager, said enough funds were available for forwarding loans to prospective entrepreneurs. The EDP will be useful for fostering entrepreneurship in the region, the Vice-President of Tiruchi Micro Entrepreneurs' Association Kanamail said. In his address, C. Ramasamy Desai, Project Director of Periyar Technology Incubator, said as a partner institution to NIMSME, the TBI was already conducting a programme for SC candidates in CNC.

Two more training programmes in visual effects and CAD/CAM are likely to be conducted in Tiruchi.

In its capacity as a panel member of Rajiv Gandhi Udyam Mitra Yojana (RGYMY), the Periyar TBI was prepared to extend handholding support to new entrepreneurs. S.P. Mohan, Director, Tamil Nadu Environment Federation and Subramani, Training Coordinator, EDI, Chennai, also addressed the candidates.