By Tenzin Sangmo
YETI Grand Challenge Press Conference
DHARAMSHALA, April 2: A business plan challenge worth ten million rupees (one crore) to encourage business plans that would help employ and sustain youth in settlements across India was launched here today by ‘Tibet Innovations’, which is sponsoring the seed money.
The Youth Employment for Tibetans Initiative (YETI) was announced here by Tibet Innovations, which works in collaboration with the Tibet House Trust, London, and Tibetan Entrepreneurship Development (TED) of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
Thupten Samdup, the director of Tibet Innovations said the idea was conceived in 2009 when His Holiness the Dalai Lama, on a visit to Montreal, expressed concerns about the outflow of young Tibetans from settlement camps and the adverse effect of the trend on the culture and viability of the Tibetan settlements.
Samdup said in a video message that his visit to the settlements afterwards was marked by the repeated question posed by settlement members, - “what is being done to ensure the long-term sustainability of the settlement?” ― a much-professed goal of the current administration.
The YETI project has one Crore (10 million rupees or approx. $142,780 USD) to invest. August 1, 2019 is set as the deadline for application and the selected business plan is to be awarded the prize money on October 25, 2019, in a series of grants that will cover the one-time cost and recurring operational costs.
The website created for the project says anyone above 18 with a green book is eligible to apply for it and the number of youths employed shouldn’t be less than 20.
“The business plan must fulfil the legal obligations of the local government,” said the CTA Finance Kalon Karma Yeshi, addressing a press conference.
The initiative envisions facilitating a business venture to start from scratch, hire and pay the staff well and become sustainable over a 3-year period, in a bid to encourage Tibetan youth to stay back in the settlements.
“Although this happens to be the largest seed money being offered to entrepreneurs so far, no single project in the past has been given all the amount,” answered Yeshi when asked if the seed money is meant for a single business plan.
A website www.tibetinnovations.org launched in this regard furnishes more information.