Indian university to invest US$1.2M in start-up businesses for GOAL graduates

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand with some of the GOAL graduands

India-based JAIN Group of Universities & Industries has announced an investment of a whopping US$1.2 million to support start-up businesses for students graduating from the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) Scholarship Initiative.

On Friday, some 1712 students graduated from various programmes under the GOAL initiative offered by 11 universities from around the world, including JAIN University, whose Chancellor and Chairman, Dr Chenraj Roychand, was one of the guest speakers.

During his remarks, Dr Roychand congratulated the graduands on their milestone. Having recognised that 50 per cent of Guyana’s population are below the age of 50, the Indian educator told the graduates that they have the opportunity to meaningfully impact the country’s economy – which he noted is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

To this end, Dr Roychand urged the 2024 GOAL graduating class to consider pursuing a future in entrepreneurship. In fact, he committed to financially supporting start-up businesses undertaken by any of the GOAL graduates.

“On Behalf of India and on behalf of JAIN University, I pledge US$1.2 million for an incubation for start-ups; for the GOAL students here who want to start a business… I will send my team, including professors, here to come up with start-up ideas, and we would like to invest in your businesses. [You can] start small and become a 10-million, 20-million or 30-million [company]. You can export ideas, you can export products, you can export services – finance, accounting, technology, machine-learning, artificial intelligence, supply-chain logistic management, or any other models (that) you have in your mind,” he stated.

According to the Indian Chancellor, over the years, he has helped to create some 5,000 entrepreneurs through the university, and he wants to double this figure in Guyana.

“We’re going to create an accelerated programme online for all the GOAL students. And it is my commitment that in 10 years, Guyana has at least 10,000 entrepreneurs to [support the country’s] economic growth and add to the GDP of the country. And you all can make this happen,” he stated.

In addition, Dr Roychand announced plans for the GOAL students who graduated with Masters to further evaluate themselves academically with a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD). He said his university would design a special hybrid PhD programme during which they can come with start-up business ideas and will not have to travel to India.

The JAIN University Chancellor, who is also its founder, said he is impressed with Guyana and the vision of the President Dr Irfaan Ali-led Government. He believes that the Guyanese graduates have a unique opportunity to use their knowledge to not just enhance and build their careers, but also be business leaders as well.

To further inspire the students, the Indian educator gave an example of a female graduate from a poor village in India, who did an online Bachelor’s Degree programme in Commerce. He said he had offered her a 50,000 Indian Rupee (just over G$100,000) start-up investment, which she refused. However, she went on to start business – a simple venture that turned out to be a multi-million-dollar company.

“She started supplying 100 litres of milk. For six months, she supplied 300 litres of milk, and then spices, and then she went to another industry…and within two years, this young girl of 18 years started supplying and made herself a career. Today she owns three gas stations with 800 employees, and she has more than 10 million dollars net worth in a matter of just seven years applying her knowledge,” he said.