Staff Reporter

TIRUCHI: Tamil Nadu will have the highest number of 75 Entrepreneurship Clubs out of 240 approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for the Southern region on a yearly basis, under a scheme to support five universities - one each in North, South, East, West, and North-East - to run 1,200 clubs in the next five years with Rs. 12.5 crore budgetary support.

The composition of clubs for the other States in the southern region, based on existing clusters is: Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka - 60 each, Kerala - 40, and Puducherry - 5 Clubs. The scheme, one of the promotional packages for Micro and Small industries, envisages membership of 50 per club with the objective of benefiting three lakh entrepreneurs during the five-year period, bringing together entrepreneurs, universities and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises - Development Institutes (MSME - DI). In the southern region, the VIT University performs the task.

Devised to encourage entrepreneurs to run self-employment ventures of Micro or Small enterprises, the scheme will serve as a base for them to solve their common problems. It will facilitate a shift from lobbying mode to facilitation mode, providing hard intervention in the form of technology and soft intervention like arranging workshops, seminars, guidelines to obtain ISO certification, ISI marks, participation in trade fairs, and implementation of quality management tools.

According to inputs provided by MSME-DI, Chennai, the Clubs will be a forum for exchange of ideas on new technology; market trend and potential; training for human resources; initiation of new concepts; credit; suggestions for anti-dumping, and ‘watch’ on items flowing into the country due to globalisation. While consulting the university for establishing the E-Clubs, the MSME-DI will take into confidence the leading associations in the area.

The objectives of E-Clubs are enhancing productivity and competitiveness; capacity building of micro and small enterprises; facilitating substantial economies of scale; providing business assistance; providing management training; enhancing production process; providing incubator service; attracting new firms and talent to regions; improving infrastructure through government schemes; improving regulatory policy; and establishing technical standards.

The benefits encompass mutual learning; easy access to market; wider reach to entrepreneurial units; increased level of enterprise; evolving new ideas and new businesses; determining specific solutions to specific needs; advantageous scale of operation; easy access to credit; subsidies for participation in foreign trade fair; and consultancy and reimbursement for ISO 9000/14000.