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How Delhi Govt Funds Young Entrepreneurs

By Akshara Srivastava
December 08, 2021 11:30 IST
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With a budget of Rs 60 crore, Business Blasters, which is part of the Delhi government's Entrepreneurship Mindset curriculum, aims to nurture entrepreneurial skills among students, including taking calculated risks and bouncing back from failure.

Photograph: Kind courtesy AamAadmiParty/Twitter

Megha (she uses only her first name), a Class 12 student of SKV, Janakpuri, in Delhi was always enchanted by tie-and-dye.

So when the opportunity presented itself in the form of Delhi government's Business Blasters initiative, Megha grabbed it immediately.

As part of a five-member team, and with Rs 10,000 seed money in hand, she started Rangbahar Apparels, selling tie-and-dye dupattas.

"I plan to take this forward and make it bigger by expanding my product range -- from towels to sarees," she says.

"I want to be a businesswoman and this initiative has given me a huge push to pursue my dreams."

 

Like her, Soofee, a Class 11 student from government co-ed senior school in Nagloi (he too uses only his first name), and his group decided to turn a family practice into a business.

The team, Mystique Dates, sells a healthy powder made from date seeds.

The powder, which Soofee's grandfather started making at age 40, is a staple in his home.

With the seed money of Rs 10,000, the team bought 10 kg dry dates and deseeded them, and dried them to make a powder.

However, costs were running high. So they turned to companies that make protein shakes to procure the seeds from at Rs 80 a kg.

"The powder has become a huge hit with my teachers and peers. My family has fully backed this venture. My mother helps me out in the kitchen and my sister helps me edit videos for promotional content," says Soofee, adding, "We have a lot to figure out ahead. Our delivery costs are very high, and with 2 kg seeds, we only get 1 kg of powder."

This young businessman has priced a 100 gm bottle of the powder at Rs 250.

IMAGE: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, center, at the Business Blasters launch. Photograph: Kind courtesy Manish Sisodia/Twitter

With a budget of Rs 60 crore, Business Blasters, which is part of the Delhi government's Entrepreneurship Mindset curriculum, was launched across government schools on September 7.

The programme aims to nurture entrepreneurial skills among students, including taking calculated risks and bouncing back from failure.

The pilot project was launched at the School of Excellence, Khichripur, Delhi.

Under the initiative, students from Classes 11 and 12 receive Rs 2,000 each as seed money to take forward their proposed business ideas.

The students have to form teams, think of a business idea and then make a presentation before their classmates and teachers.

The classmates ask questions and give feedback. The teacher marks students on three simple criteria with a 'yes' or a 'no'.

Teams that get all three 'yeses' and a no objection certificate from their guardians are eligible for the seed money.

As many as 300,000 students from across 1,000 Delhi government schools have participated in the initiative through nearly 51,000 teams.

And 24 teams have been selected to pitch their ideas to a panel of investors for funding through a television show, Business Blasters, which will air every Sunday at 7 pm on select Hindi channels.

Both Megha and Soofee's teams have been shortlisted for it. The first of the eight televised events was aired on November 28.

From the remaining teams, the top 100 will get an opportunity to participate in an expo-style exhibition, which will be a platform for them to meet entrepreneurs and investors from across industries.

The top 10 teams will get an opportunity to raise more capital from investors and get direct admission in Bachelor of Business Administration courses in universities such as the Delhi Technological University, Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women, Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology etc.

"We are encouraging students to be innovative and work on projects that address a need or a problem around them," said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who holds the education portfolio.

"We want them to work on projects that are useful and have a potential to grow."

In the pilot project, the participants were mentored by students from Delhi Technological University.

"Similarly, for the ongoing programme across the 1,000-odd schools, we have assigned business coaches to as many as possible and are encouraging schools to onboard local entrepreneurs from their neighbourhoods who can guide the students," said Sisodia.

"We are also in the process of onboarding 1,000 business coaches, among whom will be entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, home-grown business owners, consultants and subject matter experts who will coach the teams that progress to the next round."

Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com

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Akshara Srivastava
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