Supporting Young Entrepreneurs in India

Starting a small business is full of challenges, especially for young people.  Although they have the desire and drive, they often lack the skills and support needed to make their dreams a reality.

The Young Entrepreneurs program addresses these road blocks for young men and women in India, where the job market can’t keep pace with the sheer volume of new jobseekers. Since 2011, MasterCard has partnered with the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and the Community Collective Society for Integrated Development (CCFID) to implement the program.

Working together, we’ve made real progress over two years in Delhi and Mumbai:

  • 720 young men and women trained
  • 300 young people linked to financing
  • 260 young entrepreneurs paired with business mentors
  • 500 additional employment opportunities created by these trainees for their peers

On an individual level, Young Entrepreneurs has made a deep impact in the lives of these young people.  Here’s the story of Maya, a young entrepreneur who now runs a profitable tailoring and clothing design business in Delhi.

To talk about the program’s success and the remaining local challenges, we hosted a learning event on September 25th in Mumbai. It brought together representatives from banks, financial institutions, civil society, academia, and the public sector.

I noticed a common theme at the event: simply providing training to young people isn’t enough. Even if they are given the knowledge and skills, they often lack the financial and social capital to start a business. Therefore, we need to provide access to youth-friendly financing and ongoing support and networking. From what I’ve seen, this support must provide mentors and guides to walk alongside young people on their journey.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing young entrepreneurs?  What should we do to help them overcome this challenge?