“India needs 100 million net new jobs in the next decade to absorb the demographic dividend,“ said Khanna. “I don’t know of any system in the world that has generated that many jobs in a short period of time without a significant dose of new enterprise creation and entrepreneurship,“ said Khanna, who chaired the Government of India Niti Aayog Commission on Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Emphasising the relevance of this collaboration, R Venkataramanan, executive trustee at Tata Trusts said: “Under this collaboration with Harvard University’s South Asia Institute, we will develop entrepreneurship opportunities that will help provide sustainable prosperity to the local communities. This approach combined with Tata Trusts’ philanthropic vision will help narrow down the existing gap between the demand and supp ly of skilled labour.“
The grant from Tata Trusts is for 18 months. “The challenge and plan is to demonstrate using research and knowledge assets to work with these social enterprises to point them in the right direction and create a system of peer support. This will be done through workshops, on an ongoing basis,“ said Khanna.
One of the glaring issues is that it is a very lonely job being an entrepreneur, said Khanna.The idea then, he said, is to use knowledge assets to bring people together, get a peer group in place without overstating the importance of the facilitator. It’s a learning experience for IIT Delhi as well. “There is an explosion in learning, including social entrepreneurship. We can take some of these experiences to our workshops.Many of these people were students about a year ago. These are young startups and not all are IITians. They are people from Delhi, Kanpur, Utkal University, small colleges in Punjab,“ said IIT professor Professor Ambuj Sagar, who along with Professor PVM Rao is part of this project.
The project aims to mentor and guide people after the duration of the grant, “One of the tasks that we have is to think of ways to continue with this programme, with our partners, the Trusts, IIT-D and other institutions, including the government machinery. The more people talk about it, the better,“ said Khanna.
Shashank Shah, project director at the South Asia Institute said: “There will be hand-holding for all the grantees from now till September across tracks in terms of Harvard, partner institutions such as IIT-D and others.“
The project also plans to run a small competition among selected entrepreneurs and give them small grants. An amount of ` . 50 lakh has been set aside for grant across three tracks.
Source: The Economic Times