Chennai, June 25:
A few students from the southern region have learned and proved to be socially responsible business entrepreneurs. SIFE, an internationally acclaimed non-profit organisation conducted a competition for students to implement the classroom and textbook knowledge in the market place for the economically backward class of the society.
'The task is to create an economically sustainable model, they formulated their ideas, did research and developed a strategy on how it will be implemented', said Sumi Gupta, Global Head - public relations of SIFE. Colleges come up with outstanding models, to mention of few successfully ideas, one college worked on reveiving a dying art that is weaving cloth from the banana plant now it is sold in all government-run exhibitions. Bio-pesticides were made by another team, now they sell it to international brands, she added.
Students get a period of 10-12 months to work in the given area, they spend time with the economically weaker section of the society and teach them the trade or help them improve on their business. 'Most of the projects are successful, a poor family earning Rs. 1000 a month will soon start earing Rs 4000- Rs 5000. Students teach them the ethics, get them better machinery and marketing tools.
SIFE is an NGO so funding is not possible. But we get corporates to fund, Now that CSR is mandatory, corporates are willing to support students. We give guidance till the student make it a success, Students go up till the extend of helping them avail bank loans to procure machinery and tools. says Shainon Vyas, a member of SIFE.
'We started working on our project in 2009, we wanted to empower tribal women of Kolli hills in nammakal village. We taught them organic farming and started dairy farms. We began by forming a group of five women. Now it has grown. We helped them get a bank loan to boost their business.' says Ramya R of Anna Adarsh College in Chennai.
The eight colleges, namely, Velammal Institute of Technology - Chennai, Anna Adarsh College, Seshadripuram First Grade College - Bengaluru, Loyola College - Chennai, Dr MGR Janaki College of Arts and Science - Chennai, Sri Bhagawan Mahavir Jain College - Bengaluru, Shankarlal Sundarbai Shasun Jain College for Women - Chennai and DRBCCC Hindu College of Arts and Science - Chennai, were selected by the jury comprising industry leaders from distinguished organisations including WNS Global Services, KPMG, PWC and HSBC.
These teams will participate in the national-level meet at Mumbai on 1 July from which 39 teams will head for the international level competition called as the 'SIFE World Cup' at Malasyia in October.