Barclays Bank Plc has joined hands with Pratham, a non-government organisation to launch an entrepreneurship programme.It will help economically disadvantaged youth in Maharashtra. Barclays has agreed to donate the seed capital to the potential entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurship development programme aims to identify youth from economically challenged sections displaying strong entrepreneurship skills. The programme will focus on grooming entrepreneurs in farming, dairies, small-scale industries and the automobile servicing sector.
Ram Gopal, interim managing director and chief operating officer, Barclays Global Retail and Commercial Bank, India, said in the press release, "In a rapidly growing country such as ours, an entrepreneurial spirit will no doubt help offer many opportunities to those with an inventive spirit and a strong market orientation." The project will initially be launched in the Satara, Sangli and Lonavla regions, where, according to the latest Indian census, over 20 per cent of the 10 million inhabitants live below the poverty line. These areas also have over one million unemployed youth. As per statistics from the National Sample Survey , India's labour force is growing at 2.5 per cent annually, while the employment rate is growing at 1.8 per cent, resulting in over 8 million people remaining unemployed every year.