The Young Entrepreneurs program equips youth entrepreneurs in Delhi and Mumbai with skills, guidance and support, and access to finance to allow them to successfully start or expand their own small businesses. The program provides these youth entrepreneurs with:
Sandeep is one of these young entrepreneurs.
Sandeep always knew that starting his own business would be the key not only to secure his own financial independence, but also to support his parents and two younger sisters. But at age 26, his part-time job as a waiter in Delhi only earned him 3,000 rupees a month (US$49), which was barely enough to cover his commute and food expenses. Sandeep remained optimistic, knowing better opportunities lay ahead, but he also recognized there were many obstacles in his path before he could realize his dream of becoming a business owner.
First of all, Sandeep didn’t have the knowledge or the skills to start a business. He also lacked mentors in his life who could share their entrepreneurial experience and guide him through the process. And on a very practical level, he didn’t have any idea of what his business would be—nor did he have the money to start it. That is, until he found Young Entrepreneurs (YE).
Through the program’s comprehensive entrepreneurship training, Sandeep gained a range of fundamental business, financial, and life skills. He was also paired with a professional from the food and beverage industry who worked with him one-on-one to reinforce his skills and provide guidance. After working with his trainer and mentor to generate business ideas and conduct market research, Sandeep ultimately decided to start a home-based sweet making business. Through YE, he created a business plan and successfully secured a micro loan to start operations.
As a result of ongoing support and his industrious nature, Sandeep’s business is not only growing—it’s thriving. His new monthly income of 15,000 rupees (US$245) —five times what he was making previously— has allowed him to open his own stall and hire three employees. Nearby offices and schools purchase his sweets to cater their events. Sandeep’s fast delivery service gives him a competitive edge over similar local businesses that are unable to fill orders as quickly. His success has allowed him to pay back his loan on time, and he has already started planning for future expansion.
“Thanks to Young Entrepreneurs for changing my life,” Sandeep says. “I feel proud that I am able to take care of my parents and my family, and I will encourage other youth in my network to be part of this program.”
The Young Entrepreneurs initiative in India provides comprehensive training and support to aspiring and fledgling youth entrepreneurs in Delhi and Mumbai. Since the last report the program has focused its efforts on linking the 720 participating youth to group mentoring and facilitating visits to established local businesses.
The program has linked 304 youth with 42 adult business mentors. The volunteer mentors are professionals from diverse sectors and had diverse sets of expertise, including banking, fashion design, food production, business management, and small business development. The mentors are paired with youth for a minimum of two months, and several continue to meet longer. Additionally, 178 youth have participated in field visits to various businesses, including tailoring shops, boutique clothing stores, and cloth manufacturing and export businesses. The visits allowed youth to gain hands-on knowledge of running a business and to ask the business owners specific questions. If you have not seen it yet, check out Maya’s inspiring story, which was portrayed in this video. She is just one out of 720 young men and women in Delhi and Mumbai to benefit from YE since its inception in 2012.
Below is a short story of Anamika, who runs a small photography business in Delhi.
For 25-year-old Anamika, life is all about colors. That passion would soon help her realize her dreams, but not before she had to struggle to make her own way in the world. Anamika, who comes from a lower middle class family, is now living in Delhi with her parents and two brothers. While she did not excel in school, she had always wanted to do something on her own. Even after completing her studies in computers, she was discouraged from considering a career because she was a girl. Two years ago, her parents were on the verge of arranging her marriage, yet somehow she convinced them to give her one year to see if she could stand on her own feet and live an independent life.
Anamika first learned about photography from a friend who works in an advertisement production studio. But it was not enough for her to earn enough income to support her family. She decided to start a photography business -- working from her home. She had always wanted to own a photo studio and work as a professional photographer. But life continued to be challenging, and her family warned her that she should close her business and prepare for marriage. “My family wanted me to marry early as they believed that as a girl I would become a burden for them if I stayed any longer in the house,” she said.
Anamika came to the Young Entrepreneurs program determined to open her own photo studio. So she shared her business ideas with the team and since then there has been no turning back in her career.
Anamika successfully completed the entrepreneurship course while continuing to run her business. She also conducted market research which helped her target her customers. As a result, she was able to select an ideal location for her new enterprise.
Working with Young Entrepreneurs, Anamika gained the mentoring support she needed to prepare a business plan, which she completed in two weeks. She then applied for a loan, and with that first loan she was able to rent a shop for her photo studio. Contributions from her friends helped her purchase studio equipment. With her new found experience and remarkable dedication, she has now, finally, become a professional photographer, taking photo orders for marriages and other family functions. Her sincerity and punctuality has helped build her business, which earns her a decent income and realizes her dream of being on her own.
While sitting with her mother, she remembers how difficult life was two years ago. Her parents are proud of their daughter, and now encourage her to go farther and live her life as she wishes. ”I would like to thank Young Entrepreneurs for making me a professional entrepreneur. I would suggest that every aspiring girl in this society try to live up to her dreams and enjoy the color of life.”
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The Young Entrepreneurs program provides young people with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to transform an idea into a startup enterprise. To complement YE’s general entrepreneurship training, business mentors supply critical one-on-one guidance and support, such as discussing business plans. The program has also linked 400 startups to financing through a micro-loan fund. Many of the graduates currently operate businesses such as tailoring shops, handicraft stalls, computer and mobile phone repair stores, and food and candy shops. Over the two-year period, youth-led businesses supported by the program have created 550 additional jobs for unemployed young people.
“I want to show everyone that a girl with roots in the village can also create a niche for herself in the big city,” says Maya, a 24-year-old YE participant. A determined young woman, she has dedicated her life to getting an education and developing a fulfilling career that will make her family proud. Maya and her 23-year-old businesses partner Saheb were able to start their own clothing business that is now growing—thanks to the program.
Maya, whose story was portrayed in a video, is just one out of 720 young men and women in Delhi and Mumbai to benefit from YE since its inception in 2012.
The International Youth Foundation (IYF) invests in the extraordinary potential of young people, and the following report includes highlights from the Young Entrepreneurs initiative in India.
Each year, as many as 12 million young people in India enter the labor market seeking jobs that can support themselves and their families. However, the Indian economy only creates about one million new jobs in the formal sector every year. The Young Entrepreneurs initiative responds directly to these challenges.
The initiative has provided 720 youth with comprehensive skills training. Over 200 of these youth have received micro-loans to start or expand their own small businesses. One of these youth is Maya, a 23 year old from Delhi who runs a tailoring and clothing design store. “Being a girl and from a poor family, I was not sure that whether I would be able to start and run my own enterprise. I was about to shut down my business as I had no family support to run the enterprise, no guidance on generating orders, and I was unable to market my finished products. But the training on entrepreneurship has given a new life to me and to my business. Now I am able to bring a variety to my products, introduce new designs, and employ five people. My family has now accepted me as self-employed and I am feeling very happy. Thank you for the support.”
Thank you again for your support and shared commitment to prepare young people to be healthy, productive and engaged citizens.
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