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JRD Tata Awards Presented To Underprivileged Entrepreneurs

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu emphasises need for grassroots innovations and employment creation in rural areas

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Many initiatives have been taken across the country to mentor underprivileged entrepreneurs. JRD Tata Awards, established by the Tata Trust, is one such step.

With the collaborative measures taken by a non-profit organisation BYST, several successful corporate houses, including Bajaj Automobiles, and government departments, grassroot innovations and employment are now being looked upon closely.

Rahul Bajaj, chairman of Bajaj Auto Ltd, and Sir Dominic Asquith, British High Commissioner to India, gave away the JRD Tata BYST Awards to young entrepreneurs at a Conference on Grassroots Start-ups for inclusive growth organised by Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST) in New Delhi.

The event was attended by over 500 participants. Bajaj lauded BYST's unique and important role of providing mentoring to underprivileged entrepreneurs competing under difficult conditions.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu addressed the gathering via video conferencing and emphasised that grassroots innovations and employment creation in rural area are key to India's economic development.

He said that grassroots innovations and entrepreneurship would be supported by the Ministry of Railways. Congratulating the awardees and BYST women entrepreneurs for creating jobs at grassroots level, the minister suggested that marketing support should be provided. He added that it is very important to develop a synergy between micro and macro industries.

British High Commissioner Asquith said the UK and India relationship will continue with many more such initiatives and support the grassroots entrepreneurs.

Lakshmi Venkatesan, founding trustee of BYST, lauded the support provided by voluntary mentors who guide grassroots entrepreneurs under the unique BYST program running since 1992. She said that such mentorship is key to the successful examples of small businesses developed by BYST and can go on to create many more new livelihoods, particularly in rural areas.

Tusshar Munnoat from Pune won the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Starting with infrastructure contracts, he moved on to backward integration through manufacturing of asphalt concrete too. Bhaskar Tamuli from Assam revived a traditional craft from Assam as manufacturer of bell metal artefacts and bagged the Special Award for Entrepreneur of the Year.

Sonal Patil of Pune won the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Arun Awatade and Yogesh Kode, also from Pune, won the Social Entrepreneur award. Mentors of the winners were also recognised and awarded.

The JRD Tata Young Entrepreneur Awards were instituted in 1995 to recognise and reward excellence among entrepreneurs and the mentors supported by Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST). The awardees were selected by a jury headed by Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, and included Gaurav Dalmia, Chairman, Landmark Holdings, Vikram Chandra, Executive Director and CEO, NDTV Group, Rajiv Memani, Chairman and Regional Managing Partner, EY India, and Vipin Sondhi, MD and CEO, JCB India Ltd.

BYST is a non-profit organization established in 1992 to help disadvantaged Indian youth to develop their business ideas into viable enterprises.

The Late JRD Tata, Chairman of Tata Sons, the largest industrial group in India, became the Founding Chairman of BYST at the age of 86.

BYST has made JRD's dreams a reality by making many of its entrepreneurs into millionaires and job creators. Since inception, BYST has created awareness and counselled 500,000 youth, helped set up 5,500 ventures, facilitated loan disbursement of Rs 200 crore through public sector banks and generated direct/ indirect employment for 250,000 with a success rate of 98 per cent.