Salaam Bombay Foundation will formally launch its incubator programme, Entrepreneurship Incubator for Grassroot Adolescents, on July 15 on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day.
Seventeen-year-old Divya Periyaswami had set up a small, home-run beauty parlour after enrolling herself at NGO Salaam Bombay Foundation’s skills@school Beauty & Wellness training programme. She had big dreams and her small business held much promise, only for Covid-19 to disrupt her plans. With no platform to learn and grow and government programmes on skill development and entrepreneurship only targeting those over 18 years, any lesser mortal would have given up. But not Periyaswami.
She returned to the NGO’s entrepreneurship incubator programme as a student of the pilot batch and learnt business concepts and skills such as customer approach and budgeting. She also took to Instagram to grow her network and showcase her work. Having faced challenges trying to initially convince her conservative family, Periywswami now wants to become a full-time beautician and set up her own studio.
Having successfully trained the pilot batch, Salaam Bombay Foundation will now formally launch its incubator programme, Entrepreneurship Incubator for Grassroot Adolescents, on July 15 on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day. The NGO hopes to amplify the earnings of its alumni, who show the prowess to set up a business with a long-term goal and vision to scale up that business, with entrepreneurial training. The programme will be limited to entrepreneurs in the 16-20 age bracket and aims to help them become innovative with their ideas, generate income, and become self-sufficient.
The foundation has worked with government and municipal schools since 2002, providing vocational training to at-risk grassroots adolescents. It understood that exposure to problem solving through innovation at a young age increases the appetite for risk and also develops an entrepreneurial mindset. The only thing needed to do this on a large scale was a structured system and it hopes to implement that with the Entrepreneurship Incubator for Grassroot Adolescents.
The NGO believes entrepreneurship is critical to boost economic growth and development and adolescents are an untapped talent pool in this regard. This is particularly true in a post-Covid world that has witnessed the Indian economy shrink as hundreds of thousands became jobless or saw their incomes dwindle. Salaam Bombay Foundation hopes Periyaswami’s story would inspire countless others to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit and promote self- employment, thus reducing unemployment and also generating jobs for others. The foundation has provided vocational skill training to over 22,500 adolescents starved of resources. If properly nurtured, the foundation hopes they will turn into entrepreneurs for tomorrow.