We offer this story of an enterprising young businessman in celebration of Global Money Week, a worldwide awareness campaign to engage the next generation in shaping their financial futures, coordinated by Child & Youth Finance International.
Sandeep Singh always knew that starting his own business would be the key not only to secure his own financial independence, but also to support his parents and two younger sisters. But at age 26, his part-time job as a waiter in Delhi only earned him 3,000 rupees a month (US$49), which was barely enough to cover his commute and food expenses. Sandeep remained optimistic, knowing better opportunities lay ahead, but he also recognized there were many obstacles in his path before he could realize his dream of becoming a business owner.
First of all, Sandeep didn't have the knowledge or the skills to start a business. He also lacked mentors in his life who could share their entrepreneurial experience and guide him through the process. And on a very practical level, he didn't have any idea of what his business would be—nor did he have the money to start it. That is, until he found Young Entrepreneurs (YE).
An initiative of the International Youth Foundation (IYF), the Community Collective Society for Integrated Development (CCFID), and MasterCard Worldwide, YE is designed to support young people in India who want to launch their own businesses. The program provided Sandeep with the opportunities he was searching for.
Through the program's comprehensive entrepreneurship training, Sandeep gained a range of fundamental business, financial, and life skills. He was also paired with a professional from the food and beverage industry who worked with him one-on-one to reinforce his skills and provide guidance. After working with his trainer and mentor to generate business ideas and conduct market research, Sandeep ultimately decided to start a home-based sweet making business. Through YE, he created a business plan and successfully secured a micro loan to start operations.
As a result of ongoing support and his industrious nature, Sandeep's business is not only growing—it's thriving. His new monthly income of 15,000 rupees (US$245)—five times what he was making previously—has allowed him to open his own stall and hire three employees. Nearby offices and schools purchase his sweets to cater their events. Sandeep's fast delivery service gives him a competitive edge over similar local businesses that are unable to fill orders as quickly. His success has allowed him to pay back his loan on time, and he has already started planning for future expansion.
“Thanks to Young Entrepreneurs for changing my life,” Sandeep says. “I feel proud that I am able to take care of my parents and my family, and I will encourage other youth in my network to be part of this program.”