By Ankitha Joseph
Manoj Patil, President of the Goa Entrepreneurs Mentoring Services Trust speaks about the organisation’s potential in boosting entrepreneurship in Goa
The Goa Entrepreneurs Mentoring Services (GEMS) Trust was established in 2013. A group of passionate individuals from various sectors of business came together to form an entity to give back to society a platform, especially for those who want to create a business / brand. It emerged as a beautiful thought to generate employment opportunities to a large number of youth in Goa.
With its initial members itself, it began churning the waves in the business of beginning businesses. It was setup to “‘excite, educate and nurture entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs in Goa.” The idea was to synergize the efforts of all the stakeholders including industry associations, education institutes, financial and training institutions and others. GEMS began as a body comprising of entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs and for entrepreneurs. Today the trustees of GEMS include Rajkumar Kamat, Gajanan Kerkar, Adv E O Mendes, Atul Naik, Ajay Gramopadhye, Sunil Shrivastava, Manoj Patil, Dr Pramod Sawant, Andre Shackletonn, Harshvardhan Bhatkuly, Jervis Pereira and Anirudh Walawalkar
As President of GEMS, what is your vision for the organization?
GEMS was setup to be a guiding agency to help anyone and everyone who wanted to become an entrepreneur. We had students, retirees, unemployed individuals and youth who wanted help in this area. We focused on setting up an ecosystem. GEMS believes that the youth today should consider self-employment as a career by choice, not waiting to set up something as purely a last resort. This would help grossly reduce our brain drain and create more opportunities for the youth today. So many of our graduates leave Goa in search of jobs outside the state claiming none exist here. Through entrepreneurship, one can not only earn but create jobs in turn.
At GEMS, we create an opportunity, the concept is simple, and we are only looking for those who have some passion or interest to create something by themselves. We will help them identify their most valid passion through the process of “Ideating”. Then the idea is transformed into a realistic feasible plan which will generate monetary and morale support to the individual. A mentor of a specific domain is then allotted to the individual, so he can understand the pros and cons in the particular line of business. And finally, a full-fledged guidance from our mentors and the trust / associate organizations in the procedures of creating a venture that becomes a reality. The process is closely monitored and reviewed from time to time, as well.
What are some of the benefits an individual gains with the services offered by GEMS?
All the Trustees and Mentors with GEMS are people in businesses. We walk the talk. There are no theories being taught, every member has experienced the ups and downs of being a businessperson. We live it each moment of every day. Therefore, Mentors have considerable experience which they can share with their protégé. No other group in Goa has this advantage. Besides, we work in sync and very closely with the Government Departments, EDC, GCCI, GSIA, CIBA and other reputed organizations to make sure the dreamers achieve their goals of creating their business.
Could you share any live case studies where GEMS has contributed towards creating entrepreneurship opportunities?
Once the framework was built, GEMS leveraged its network with educational institutions. Biz Clubs were started. Workshops were held. World Renowned speakers like Janet Attwood, of the ‘Passion Test’ fame, Nandini Vaidyanathan, writer of Entrepredia were some of our key speakers in the past, who have created a large impact on our mentees / protégés. This investment laid the foundation for creating an access point for those interested in business to have a ‘go to’ agency that would help them. Over the next couple of years, this will be intensified. Lack of awareness is often the biggest impediment for starting a business.
What is your take on the existing start-up scenario in Goa? What in your opinion will be the future?
The existing startup scenario in Goa is unlike any other. Why? Because of the economic factors that control our state. Consider this: we have a high amount of global expats that is disproportionate to population, considering other states. Due to this, we are the 3rd richest state in India. The startup scenario is progressing, albeit slowly. We have the right mix of talent, access to global networks and an international outlook. This is a unique advantage that Goa has. We have not yet leveraged its full potential. Therefore GEMS has worked tirelessly to improve the ecosystem so startups can blossom at an accelerated pace. We are confident that through our efforts we will be seeing more startups in Goa.
The opportunities in Goa are huge, and perhaps the approach / accessibility scenario is much more superior to that of some other parts of the country. With GEMS being in the centre point, the young mind who has a passion to build his dream can reach out to the goal faster and in a more convenient way. Many startup success stories in Goa, appreciate the efforts of the state organizations which motivate them to start businesses. GEMS is one of them, which not only boosts someone’s thoughts, but also help and guide young entrepreneurs in the entire process.
What is the contribution that GEMS has made for the Goan economy?
GEMS has powered Biz Clubs, which were setup in various institutions in 2015. This network is being strengthened so it can benefit more potential entrepreneurs. Further, GEMS began the culture of awarding young entrepreneurs. There were 12 entrepreneurs who were awarded, of which 3 were women. The ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award’ was conferred on them.
GEMS has also made strategic networking impact while assisting the Government connect with the Goa Technology Association for the apprenticeship program. Further, inroads have been made to provide inputs to educational institutions about the graduates entering into the industry.
Goa should know that we are here, to help youth, students, unemployed, our expats and everyone to make Goa a favoured business destination.
Are there any Government Schemes and programmes for entrepreneurship development that GEMS has tied up with?
Government schemes exist through various institutions. At GEMS, we do not focus on funding, instead we facilitate potential candidates seeking funding from the right institution matching their requirement. One of the advantages is the first hand know how through our members’ experience that allows us to direct candidates and connect them with the right agency for funding. It may appear easy, but once you know benefits based on the micro details, you would realise the depth of efforts.
GEMS has its own training and nurturing eco-system, the ‘Budding Entrepreneur Workshop’ and the ‘Aspiring Entrepreneur Workshop,’ which is held at least twice in a year. These programs are organized to develop opportunities and then the mentees are guided to reach out to their resources in the right way and in the right frame of mind.
Could you list down some of the programmes that have been held as part of GEMS under your supervision?
I have taken over as President of GEMS only 4 months ago. Prior to me the Founder President, Rajkumar Kamat who is also the Managing Trustee was overseeing the operations.
During this period, we have had four Budding Entrepreneurship workshops (BEW) in association with our knowledge partners, where more than 120 youngsters were trained. Two out of them have already started their enterprises and another ten are expected to follow suit.
In this journey, we realized that the youth were missing the Entrepreneurial encouragement – both, on the home front as well as from the academic institution. We therefore decided to start Biz Clubs.
In colleges, the idea is to inspire youth to get into entrepreneurship and keep the spark burning until s/he comes out of the college. Six Biz Clubs are expected to start operations in the next three months.
What are your future plans for the organization?
Our mission is “Employment Generation” by catalyzing entrepreneurial growth. Our vision is to have full scale entrepreneurship activities through a dedicated Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI). Through this channel, we would like to appeal to the youngsters in Goa that employment is not only the target after completion of your academic journey – government jobs are limited as well. The best and the most profitable way to generate income opportunities is to create something of your own, that you are passionate and proud of; develop the attitude of entrepreneurship and provide opportunity to people to experience your business product / service. This way, you will not only build high respect for yourself, but also create a platform and job opportunity for the future generations to come.
The GEMS Trust is here to help you identify your passion, ideate, work a systematic plan for your business growth, nurture and mentor you in the entire journey.