Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust: Incubating Grassroot Startups for Positive Change

Lakshmi Venkatesan(L) managed to rope in eminent industrialists like C.K. Birla(R) for her organization
Lakshmi Venkatesan(L) managed to rope in eminent industrialists like C.K. Birla(R) for her organization

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has consistently highlighted the significance of nurturing startups at the grassroots level, recognizing their potential to catalyze sustainable development. One such organization that seeks to cultivate such fledgling ventures is the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust. With a focus on incubating viable business ideas that have the potential to revolutionize the startup industry in India, the Trust aims to support and shape the growth of innovative startups that can bring about tangible positive change.

The Concept

The idea for the organization was first conceived in 1990, when Lakshmi Venkataraman Venkatesan accompanied her father, the former President of India, R. Venkataraman, on a visit abroad. During the trip, the esteemed Prince of Wales introduced a fascinating program that involved identifying potential entrepreneurs from among school dropouts and individuals from underprivileged backgrounds. Interestingly, the first millionaire to emerge from this initiative was of Indian origin. This experience inspired the development of the organization and its focus on incubating grassroot startups that can help individuals from all backgrounds achieve entrepreneurial success and contribute to the greater good.

Opportune moment to start the initiative

Furthermore, at the time of the organization's inception, India was on the cusp of change. The following year, in 1991, the country initiated industrial reforms, opening up its markets to the world and easing red tape to promote industrialization. Lakshmi Venkatesan broached the legendary JRD Tata with the idea, and he enthusiastically embraced the concept. In 1992, the organization was founded with the support of the Prince of Wales and JRD Tata, who served as the mentor and founding chairman. Since then, the organization has added eminent personalities like Gaurav Dalmia, CK Birla, R. Dinesh, and the late industrialist Rahul Bajaj to its board.

The objective of Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust is aligned with the Atmanirbhar Bharat Vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Programmes catering to various groups

Mentoring India- This is a unique and comprehensive flagship program in India, which has created a vast pool of 9,000 trained and certified mentors across various organizations such as IIT Hyderabad, Ambuja Cement Foundation, and Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Development. These mentors have provided valuable guidance and counseling to around 10 lakh Indian youth, including women entrepreneurs, helping them turn their business ideas into viable enterprises.

Through this program, the Trust has achieved remarkable results, including:

Training over 49,000 young individuals to develop their entrepreneurial skills and abilities.

Supporting over 11,000 entrepreneurs with financial assistance of up to 477 crore and funding through institutional partners such as SBI, Bank of India, Central Bank of India, IDBI, Indian Bank, and HDFC.

Empowering the entrepreneurs trained and counseled by the Trust to make significant strides, leading to the winning of 69 national and 27 international awards.


The Grampreneurs initiative was launched to provide a springboard for potential entrepreneurs from rural India, and it has been highly successful in aiding nascent startups. Through this initiative, Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust has been able to identify and support talented individuals with innovative business ideas from rural areas, providing them with the necessary guidance and resources to bring their ideas to fruition.

Success Stories: People who overcame obstacles

Basanti Rana

Basanti Rana faced multiple disadvantages before she began her journey as an entrepreneur. Born into a poor family in one of the most backward regions of Jajpur, Odisha, she contracted polio at the age of three, which made her life even tougher due to social ostracization and ridicule.

In 2004, she married Tapan Kumar Padhi, who belonged to a different caste, further adding to the challenges she faced.

However, her determination to outperform propelled her to overcome obstacles in her life. Her husband belonged to a landless family and was dependent on sharecropping and a small printing press to make ends meet.

Basanti remained undaunted by the challenges in her life and expanded her business.
Basanti remained undaunted by the challenges in her life and expanded her business.

Despite her talent for tailoring and her desire to succeed, Basanti was held back by financial constraints and a lack of financial literacy. However, in 2015, she learned about BYST through the Gram Panchayat Office and was able to secure a loan from UCO Bank.

Basanti did not let the funds go to waste and used them effectively. She procured raw materials from Kolkata and nearby markets, using them to fulfill orders from reputed organizations and local vendors.

Her hard work and determination paid off, and she was felicitated by TATA Steel during the celebration of International Women's Day. In Jajpur, she has become a role model for people with disabilities, inspiring them to pursue their dreams despite any obstacles they may face.

Lakshmi Venkatesan(L) managed to rope in eminent industrialists like C.K. Birla(R) for her organization
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Jennifer Yacob

Jenifer' s dream of pursuing higher education was cut short due to financial constraints. Instead, she had to settle for a Diploma in Dental Technology, as her parents could not afford to pay for a degree course to become a doctor. Despite this setback, Jenifer and her husband decided to take matters into their own hands and established Oscar Dental in 2007, with some financial assistance from Jenifer's father.

To get the business off the ground, they also procured a loan from the market, which they were able to repay within just six months. This early success set the tone for the rest of their entrepreneurial journey, as they continued to grow and expand their business.

Jennifer realized that the Dental Implant industry has immense scope for growth.
Jennifer realized that the Dental Implant industry has immense scope for growth.

However, after a period of time, she realized that manual work was taking too much time, and automation could save time and enable her to meet bulk orders. As automation required funding, she approached Bharatiya Yuva Trust and managed to get a loan of Rs 17 lakhs from Indian Overseas Bank. She used the funds to procure an imported designing machine, which increased her efficiency. Jenifer’s mentor Mr. Haribhaskaran has counselled her from the start and helped her lead on the right path.

Today, Oscar Dental is a thriving enterprise, providing quality dental care to patients in Chennai and beyond. Presently, 26 people are employed under her. Jenifer's story is a testament to the power of entrepreneurship and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

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