IIT Madras to train 300 Micro and Marginal Women Entrepreneurs in Tamil Nadu

Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras launched a new initiative on Friday, 28th July 2017, to train 300 micro and marginal women entrepreneurs in Tamil Nadu. The Institute has joined hands with CAMS Group, which is providing a funding support of about Rs. 45 lakh, and Hand-in-Hand India, a charitable trust, for this three-year project.

The program aims to provide high impact training to the women entrepreneurs by providing key inputs in different areas of business and management. This will help participants to improve their growth rates and profitability.

In order to be effective and meet the needs of the participants, the program will be conducted in Tamil language. The beneficiaries will be identified by Hand-in-Hand India and finalized by IIT Madras and the training will be conducted in entrepreneurs’ localities.

Speaking during the launch of the initiative, Prof. Nagarajan, Dean, Industry and Alumni Relations, IIT-Madras, said, “IIT Madras has established itself as a leader among academic institutions in promoting entrepreneurship among its faculty and students, with alumni being a solid pillar of support. In particular, social entrepreneurship is a key imperative of the Institute, and corporate support in the form of CSR has come as a tremendous boost in this respect.”

Speaking about this program, Prof. Thillai Rajan, Department of Management Studies, IIT-Madras, and one of the Program Directors, said, “This initiative is a result of the spectacular success of an earlier pilot program done in January 2016. About half of the participants in that pilot program successfully obtained bank loans within six months of completing the program.”

Participants began to organize and run their business in a more systematic manner after the program, which provided comfort to banks in their lending decisions.
The program is specifically designed for the needs for women entrepreneurs and will provide insights on various areas such as finance, marketing, information technology, banking, and soft skills. The program would be delivered by faculty members from the Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras and experienced practitioners from the industry.

Each year 100 people would be trained for three years. Each program would be for a week, which would be followed by a reflective session after six months to understand how the program has impacted the participants.

Speaking about this project, N K Prasad, President and Chief Executive officer, CAMS, said, “CAMS as part of its CSR activities has been carrying out various projects in the fields of education, vocational training, healthcare and other social Welfare activities. In the current financial year, CAMS is delighted to be associated with IIT-Madras in supporting the training focused at small scale Entrepreneurs. We are sure that the proposed training which include workshops, mentoring and monitoring sessions to be carried out by eminent faculties associated with IIT Madras would go a long way in the entrepreneurs scaling up their operations.”

A key feature of the program is the mentoring support to the participants after the completion of the program. The mentors would guide the participants in developing a business plan, and Hand in hand would facilitate in the process of obtaining financial support for entrepreneurs developing the best business plans.
Prof. Thillai Rajan, said, “A major thrust of this program is to enable the participants assume the mind-set of an entrepreneur rather than the mind-set of being self-employed. An important problem faced by a majority of micro and marginal entrepreneurs who start and run micro enterprises is the lack of formal training in running a business. The problem is even more acute for women entrepreneurs. While most of them have some degree of domain experience in the areas in which they operate, business skills and knowledge are mostly self-learnt. Through this program, it is our desire to make modern management insights and knowledge easily accessible to these marginal entrepreneurs.”

Dr. Kalpana Sankar, Chairperson and Managing Trustee, Hand in Hand, said, “The training will help SHG women to manage the enterprises with profit and grow the business.” Dr. Jeyaseelan, Group CEO, Hand in Hand added that, “This training will enable the SHG women to move their enterprises from informal to formal sector.”
The program directors, Prof. Thillai Rajan, Prof. G. Arun Kumar, and Prof. Saji Mathew, faculty members from Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras, took part in the launch function held at IIT-Madras on Friday, 28th July 2017, along with G. Manikandan, Company Secretary.

Experienced and social minded entrepreneurs have been invited to volunteer for being honorary mentors to the participants in the program. Those who are interested to participate in this satisfying role can contact Prof. Thillai Rajan at [email protected].