Banking & Financial Business Events & Launches Finance Home Jobs Life & Styles News Public News Training

BYST-CISCO partner to counsel and train 15,000 aspiring rural entrepreneurs and create 34,000 jobs over the next five years

Chennai, Sept 14, 2022: Today, Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust launched a partnership with CISCO to facilitate the counselling and training of 15,000 rural entrepreneurs from lower social economic backgrounds in Chennai and Faridabad in the next five years. The program will provide training to strengthen the digital presence of enterprises through marketing on multiple e-commerce platforms and encourage adoption of digital financial services and platforms.

BYST Founding and Managing Trustee Lakshmi Venkataraman Venkatesan said, “CISCO as our partner will facilitate in training rural entrepreneurs in Chennai and Faridabad to digitally handle business, sale, purchase, banking, and trading through e-commerce platforms, which are key for commerce and enterprise globally and nationally.”


In Tamil Nadu and Haryana, the BYST-CISCO Digital Grampreneur® Development Program will counsel and train 15,000 youths, create 200 Grampreneurs® and develop 200 mentors in the span of one year.


This joint programme will create 34,000 jobs and generate Rs. 25 crores in wealth in the next 5 years. For the expansion of digital business opportunities in rural India, active internet users are likely to witness a 40 per cent jump by 2025. Unlike urban entrepreneurs, rural start-ups want a one-stop shop for all of their purchasing and selling needs where digitization will play a critical role.


“Entrepreneurs from rural areas continue to face challenges in reaching out to multiple e-commerce platforms and leveraging other digital tools. We believe that with this initiative, BYST can aid in the expansion of small businesses in rural areas and provide much needed employment. It will also encourage and empower many women to adopt and leverage technology,” Ms. Venkatesan told the stakeholders at signing.


BYST has been using innovative schemes such as mobile mentor clinics, mentor online learning, helpline, and mentor app to support its entrepreneurs. The Event was attended by senior executives and officials including Mr. Ravindran A Lakshmanan, General Manager, SIDBI; Mr. Laks Venkataraman, Senior Director, Engineering, Cisco India, Ms. Sirisha Palepu, Director, People & Communities, Cisco India & SAARC; Mr. P. Selvarajan, Chief Operating Officer, Tamil Nadu State Rural Livelihoods Mission; Mr. T. Victor Joseph, Senior Mentor, BYST and other dignitaries from Tamil Nadu state institutions. Ms. Anita Tiessen, CEO, Youth Business International addressed the audience via a Zoom link from UK.

Mr. Harish Krishnan, Managing Director & Chief Policy Officer, Cisco India & SAARC, said, “At Cisco, our purpose as a company is to power an inclusive future for all, and partnerships with BYST embody our purpose. Given the growth imperatives of the hinterland, we firmly believe promoting entrepreneurial spirit at the grassroots level is a must to make the rural economy self-sustaining and vibrant. And that is the objective of the Digital Grampreneur® Program – to support and nurture such promising talent and help them set up businesses that can thrive in the digital-first world.”


BYST primarily supports Indian youth from underprivileged backgrounds to develop business ideas into viable and sustainable enterprises under the guidance of a mentor. The focus has always been to assist job seekers to become job creators.   BYST, so far, has offered entrepreneurship opportunities to more than 11,000 youth across the country. Since inception, BYST has reached out to nearly 10 lakh youth, creating thousands of youth entrepreneurs who, in turn, have gone on to create as many as 3,50,000 jobs and generate hundreds of crores of wealth. Many of the entrepreneurs went on to win prestigious national and international awards.


The objective of the event is to showcase and celebrate the impact of mentoring, the success stories it has generated, and the challenges it has mitigated. Through this event, BYST would also outline the way forward and call upon all stakeholders to replicate the model in the designated project areas.


On this occasion successful BYST-supported Grampreneurs® and their mentors were recognised for their notable achievements. Some of the Grampreneurs® also showcased their products at the exhibition.


BYST Entrepreneurs, Mr. Niranjan Ovhal, Proprietor, Simforge Engineering and Mr. Mohammed Bilal, Proprietor, IT Service, and BYST Mentor, Ms. Naina Shah, Director, Paradigm Environmental Strategies shared their experiences of how guidance by BYST mentors has been empowering grassroots entrepreneurs over the last 30 years, starting 1992.


About BYST (Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust)


BYST is a not-for-profit organisation that primarily assists disadvantaged Indian youth in developing business ideas into viable enterprises under the guidance of a mentor. Inspired by HRH, The Prince of Wales, and founded in 1992, Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust is the first organisation to replicate the Prince’s Trust’s youth entrepreneurship support model globally outside the U.K. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is our strategic partner.


The programmes include supporting underprivileged young entrepreneurs by supplementing financing based on the requirement assessment done by the mentor selectors, Rs. 5 lakhs being the present average and with an upper limit of Rs. 100 lakhs. They are also supported with a host of business-related activities such as training, business plan development, monitoring, mentoring and networking. The young entrepreneurs are nurtured till they reach a level where not only are they self-sufficient, but they, in turn, make a valuable contribution to society through the creation of wealth and employment.


For more details, please visit

About Cisco

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in technology that powers the Internet. Cisco inspires new possibilities by reimagining your applications, securing your data, transforming your infrastructure, and empowering your teams for a global and inclusive future. Cisco CSR empowers social change agents with technology and expertise. Our goal: Accelerate global problem solving to benefit people, society, and the planet. Discover more on The Network and follow us on Twitter.

Back To Top