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IIT Madras Management Faculty Author Book to help Grassroots Entrepreneurs Succeed

Indian Institute of Technology Madras faculty have authored a book to help grassroots entrepreneurs enhance the success and sustainability of their businesses. A video of the event can be downloaded using the following link – https://fromsmash.com/S-2wMgGuR6-dt

Prof. A. Thillai Rajan, Prof. G. Arun Kumar and Prof. Saji Mathew from Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras, undertook a pioneering program in 2016 to train micro and grassroots entrepreneurs as a part of socially-relevant projects of the institute. It was implemented in partnership with ‘Hand in Hand India,’ a non-profit organization, with around 400 entrepreneurs in and around Kanchipuram district near Chennai having benefited.

Releasing the book at a function held today (3rd December 2020) at IIT Madras Research Park, Actor Politician Mr. Kamal Hassan said, “‘Thoduvanam Thedi,’ with its easy to understand narrative, will inspire the first-generation entrepreneurs raring to reach greater heights to realize their dreams. This publication will also help business students and common man to understand the nuances of running a business.”

The objective of the IIT Madras initiative was to pioneer a social concept to enhance the creditworthiness of micro, marginal women entrepreneurs through training and development. The program had several unique features such as being conducted in Tamil, with experienced faculty members, successful entrepreneurs as mentors, and a credit facilitation process as well.

In order to reach out to more grassroots entrepreneurs across Tamil Nadu, Prof. Thillai Rajan, Prof. G. Arun Kumar, and Prof. Saji Mathew have come out with an edited collection of articles written in Tamil by faculty members and mentors who interacted with the participants in the program. The book is titled as ‘Thoduvanam Thedi’ (Tamil for ‘In Search of the Horizon’). The book is being published by Vaanavil publications.

As a part of this IIT Madras initiative, participants were provided hands-on high impact training on various functions of business and management to enhance the growth and profitability of their businesses run by the entrepreneurs. This was followed by a six-month mentorship program to ensure the implementation of the program learning in their own business practices. This was followed by a credit facilitation process for motivated entrepreneurs from various financial institutions and banks.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. A. Thillai Rajan said, “The objective of ‘Thoduvanam Thedi’ is to synthesize and consolidate the lectures of the entrepreneurship development program in print form so that it is easily accessible to the large number of entrepreneurs who could not participate in the program because of locational or other constraints. We believe that by publishing the contents in a book form, we will leave behind a legacy for the entrepreneur community.”

Further, Dr. Kalpana Shankar, Chairperson, Hand in Hand India, which was closely involved with IIT Madras in implementing the program, said, “I have seen thousands of men and women who want to create history as entrepreneurs. ‘Thoduvanam Thedi’ will be an excellent guide to realize their dreams.  It is laudable that the book presents a path to success in a way that can be easily consumed by a micro and small business entrepreneur.”

Lauding the efforts of the authors for bringing out this much-needed compilation, C. Nagarajan, IAS, Director, Entrepreneurship Development and Innovation Institute (EDII), Government of Tamil Nadu said, “Micro and small business entrepreneurs play a huge role in the economic growth of the country.  “Thoduvanam Thedi” shares several strategies to overcome the challenges faced by medium, small and micro business entrepreneurs to lead their enterprises to success.”

Traditionally, the mention of the term ‘entrepreneur’ is associated with founders of fast-growing innovative and technology companies that have turned household names in due course of time. However, beyond the limelight, there are nameless, faceless entrepreneurs at the bottom of the pyramid who play an important role in delivering the essential products and services that are used in daily lives.

Much of the innumerable need-based products and services that we consume – groceries, vegetables, hairdressing, foods and snacks, pharmacy, mobile phone repairs and servicing, dairy products, courier services, bottled water distribution, tailoring, and equipment servicing, among others, are offered by the micro-entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs have moved beyond viewing their enterprise as just livelihood support to bigger aspirations of generating jobs and scaling up, to create a bigger impact with their broader business outlook.

‘Thoduvanam Thedi’ makes a unique attempt at concisely presenting in a book format, relevant business concepts applicable to this segment of the entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs into any form of trade, irrespective of their educational background and size of their enterprise can benefit from the business basics addressed in this book.  Apart from entrepreneurs, potential entrepreneurs and business students will also find the contents useful for a clearer understanding of the concepts.

Tour of IIT Madras Research Park and Deep-tech Incubation Ecosystem

Subsequent to the book release, Shri Kamal Haasan was given a brief tour of the IITM Research Park and Incubation Ecosystem by Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Institute Professor and Professor In-Charge of the IITM Research Park.

Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala highlighted the objectives of the Research Park – innovation, Industry- Academia collaboration, enabling R&D focussed on commercialisation of technology and supporting startups. About 200 deep-tech startups have been incubated at the IIT Madras incubation cell across industry sectors – ranging from AI and Electric Vehicles to Water treatment, Waste management and technologies for Rural entrepreneurs. Shri. Kamal Haasan interacted with a few entrepreneurs including Dr Prabhjot Kaur, Chief Executive Officer, Esmito Solutions, Sabarinath Nair, CEO Skillveri Solutions and Shreeram Ravichandran, CEO of Modulus Housing and Dr Tamaswati Ghosh, CEO, IIT Madras Incubation Cell.

Shri. Kamal Haasan described the IIT Madras Research Park Innovation Ecosystem as “a fantastic temple of wisdom, an edifice of science and wisdom in symphony.” He described the capabilities of our young innovators as astounding and emphasized the importance of celebrating and promoting entrepreneurship for the overall benefit of the country.