The Aditya Birla Group is a century old, $40 billion, multinational conglomerate, employing over 120,000 employees worldwide. Most employees of the company have working there for years, and a job at an Indian behemoth such as an Aditya Birla Company usually means a conventional and secure job. However, in a true manifestation of the old guard accepting the new, the employees of the many companies under the group can now give way to their entrepreneurial dreams with the company’s blessings.
Amidst a background of a booming startup culture in India where many startup aspirants are quitting their comfortable, secure jobs to startup, the company is making way to encourage this move, while mitigating the risk associating with leaving jobs to start up.
The company is planning to roll out an intrapreneurship – encouraging entrepreneurs internally – programme, called Innolabs, under which the company will allow its staff to take time off from work and pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions.
The ABG group – which owns various companies across heavy machinery, cement, and IDEA and Madura Garments – has been taking active measures to reinvent itself, go with the new and participate in the booming startup culture in India. In August 2015, the conglomerate had flagged off Aditya Birla Bizlabs, a programme to collaborate with start-ups in the retail, financial services and telecom businesses, where the group has a dominant presence. It is also partnering with startup incubators to identify startups it can collaborate with.
And now under the Innolabs program, the employees, many of whom are young and/or from premium ‘startup heavy’ institutes like the IITs and IIMs, can look at starting a startup, while not quite giving up the security of a job.
“If your idea is great and we see conviction and passion in you, we are going to help you create a company of your own. At the same time, we are going to give you a six-month or one-year sabbatical where you are going to go, develop the product, create your own team… and in case you fail, you can come and join back,” said Umesh Adhikary, president, corporate strategy and business development, Aditya Birla Group at a ET-Nasscom roundtable, last week. He added that the program is in nascent stages and the final nitty gitty are being worked out.
Progressive initiatives like these coming from companies as old and large as the Aditya Birla Group would further go on to signal a huge wave of change in the attitude and encourage more entrepreneurship in the country.