IRMA’s participants chosen for mentorship programme in Singapore

PRM 38 participants did the Institute proud by qualifying the tough Young Social Entrepreneurship Programme (YSE) 2018 and taking their start-up, MANRAM, to the next level. The competition was extremely demanding with 47 teams from 12 countries participating.

The YSE 2018 Programme, hosted by Singapore International Foundation, had PRM 38 participants - Vijaya Kumar, Vishnu Harikumar, and Ajmal Muhammad - taking part in a four-day workshop held in March. After the workshop, 16 start-ups were shortlisted for an eight-month mentorship programme at the conclusion of which, the teams will pitch their business plans before a panel of judges. Six teams will be selected for acquiring a seed funding of 20,000 Singapore dollars.

"MANRAM is a for profit social enterprise that aims to empower the tribal population of South India (starting with Attapady in Kerala) socially, economically and ecologically through millet-based snack products," clarified the team members. The idea behind MANRAM's genesis was "to address the gaping hole in the Indian snack market and to give the urban customer their first gluten-free millet-based flakes- Rasillets."

Through MANRAM the three-member team wishes to ensure a "seamless supply of primary processed millets" that will be purchased from FPOs at a fair price. The FPOs will be distributed indigenous seed varieties through a seed bank. Training will be imparted to them in organic farming methods and they will have access to processing equipments.

MANRAM took birth as a result of the participants' Village Field Study (VFS) in Attapady and Chhattisgarh. This important segment of the PRM curriculum led them "to realize the dearth of value addition in millets and how the change in dietary patterns has led to zero cultivation of millets triggering rampant anaemia, malnutrition, high infant mortality rate, and low groundwater levels. Millets," says the team, "play a central role in receiving and instilling self-reliance within tribal communities".

The YSE Programme, it may be mentioned, serves as a unique facilitator offering a nurturant role for the young with entrepreneurial aspirations.

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