“In India, there is a huge demand for skilled manpower and motivated entrepreneurs,” said Arun Kumar Jha, Director General of Niesbud, in an exclusive interview with SupportBiz.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
What is the key focus of Niesbud?
Entrepreneurship development in India is still a nascent area. A lot of work still needs to be done in this domain. At Niesbud, we work on nurturing entrepreneurship and on skillset development.
It is important for entrepreneurs to innovate and think out of the box to grow in the competitive market of today. The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) has a mandate towards promoting entrepreneurship and skill development. Niesbud and the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship, Guwahati, are two important institutes that are working towards this mandate.
What is the biggest challenge for entrepreneurship development?
In India, there is a huge demand for skilled manpower and motivated entrepreneurs. The market has several new opportunities to offer, but people are still using conventional methods of business, and are, hence, struggling to achieve growth. This mindset needs to be changed, which is a major challenge.
We also focus on educating underprivileged people and enabling them with entrepreneurship skills. Reaching out to such people is often a challenge, but we have been doing this successfully.
What is the impact that Niesbud has created so far?
In the last two years, we have trained over 70,000 students, of which over 20,000 have secured gainful employment and about 10,000 have started their own businesses.
In the last year alone, we have trained over 40,000 students, in various fields. This year, we are targeting at training 50,000 students in the area of entrepreneurship and skill development.
Niesbud has become self-sustainable, and we have started generating revenue on our own. We also get invitations from other developing countries for consultancy to enhance the level of skill and entrepreneurship development there.
Sustaining existing entrepreneurs is an area of considerable concern too. What activities does Niesbud undertake in this direction?
We understand the importance of this aspect. In this direction, we conduct Continuing Education Programmes for SSI Entrepreneurs, besides providing counselling and consultancy. These are short duration training programmes, focusing on various topics such as working capital management, marketing, project identification and selection and accounting.
Presently, there is a lot of concern over several engineering and marketing graduates being unemployable. How do you look at this situation?
In an analysis, I found that a major part of graduates from engineering and management colleges in India are not fit for employment. We are working aggressively to resolve this issue. In the next six months or so, we will be starting a new program for engineering and marketing graduates to upgrade their soft skills, in order to enhance their employability factor. We will also educate these graduates in entrepreneurship.
In India, there are more than 15,000 graduation colleges and thousands of engineering institutes. However, in most of these institutes and colleges, there is very little focus given to motivating students to foray into entrepreneurship. Every college is getting recognized by the number of job placements that they secure for their students. Very few of them actually focus on entrepreneurship. According to me, this mindset needs to be changed.