Even before passing out from the College of Engineering in the capital city in the last academic year, six IT students got together to float their start-up venture -- The People's Company.
The firm has now won a contract from the state government to support the ailing handloom sector as part of the first phase of gradually reviving sick public sector units (PSUs).
The six students are Raqib Rasheed, Ashik Salim, Syamkrishnan P.A., Anto D. Akkara, Shehaz V.B. and Muhammad Junaid.
Under the two-year contract effective from July, the company will integrate all weavers' societies into a single production system and create linkage between new generation fashion designers, passing out of national institutes, and traditional weavers, with the larger goal of breathing fresh life into the industry.
The group was actively involved in social causes even during college.
In May, towards the end of their course, they approached Additional Chief Secretary (Industries and Commerce) V. Somasundaran with a blueprint for the revival of sick PSUs.
"Impressed by our proposal, the state government gave us a two-year contract with the target of helping revitalise the handloom industry, keeping the weaver community as the major beneficiary," said Raqib.
According to the plan, all products will be commissioned as per approved designs and market viability.
Besides re-doing and renovating handloom showrooms, the programme will try to expand the market for handloom products.
A key element of the project is to create a platform to connect the existing infrastructure and industry with the vast number of new generation fashion designing and arts graduates who are also looking for jobs.
P.H. Kurien, principal secretary (Industries), said: "It is wonderful to see energetic and proactive youngsters like them come forward to revive the handloom industry."
"This move will be of great benefit to marginalised weavers of Kerala. Connecting traditional handloom weavers and young fashion graduates is a great concept. The government will extend all support for such innovative ventures," he said.
An important initiative of the government that has made ventures like these possible is the landmark Student Entrepreneurship Policy announced at the Emerging Kerala Global Connect in September 2012.
"These youngsters could have had dream jobs in multi-national companies through campus placements. But they chose to attach themselves to a social cause. It signals a new revolution piloted by our enterprising youths," said Sanjay Vijayakumar, chairman of the Startup Village Board of Governors in Kochi.
--IANS (Posted on 09-09-2013)