NGO turns angel for disadvantaged entrepreneurs
Fourty-four year old Shailendra Singh, a matriculate from Sikri village in Faridabad and Amin Almel, a 29-year-old diploma engineer from Pune, are entrepreneurs with a difference.
They both started with virtually nothing but their hard work and basic skills, and they were also not helped either by banks or venture capitalists, who usually aid only towards highly qualified executives or technology experts.
The Bhartiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST), a non-governmental organisation set up in 1992, helped them with funding and mentoring, helping them find their place in the sun. Singh and Almel have won the JRD Tata Young Entrepreneur Award for disadvantaged entrepreneurs that the BYST has instituted.
Singh, who supplies blue-collar workers to malls and hospitals, started with Rs. 32,000 loan from BYST after banks turned him down. Almel, whose firm makes nitrogen tyre inflators, got Rs. 50,000. Singh now employs 3,200 people, while Almel’s business has revenues of Rs. 1.75 crore.
“My first business of a flour mill failed but I started afresh and now have an annual turnover of Rs 4 crore,” says Singh.
“I did not have any credibility but only ideas,” said Almel, who is now looking to expand his business after starting exports to Egypt, Africa and United Arab Emirates.
“Our aim is to provide lending and mentoring at the grassroot level,” Lakshmi N Venkatesan, founding trustee and executive vice president of BYST told Hindustan Times. The NGO, with presence in Delhi, rural Maharashtra, Pune, Haryana, Hyderabad and Chennai has generated 20,000 jobs through 1,600 entrepreneurs and has close to 1,500 active mentors.