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Nagesh to float firm to train retail staff

Raghavendra Kamath  |  Mumbai 

B S Nagesh, vice-chairman of retail company Shoppers Stop and an industry veteran of 29 years, is setting up a not-for-profit organisation to train and provide financial products to front-end staff in the retail sector, at nominal fees.

Nagesh has set up a trust called TRRAIN (Trust for Retailers and Retail Associates of India) and TRRAIN Foundation to undertake the initiative.

TRRAIN will impart education and learning skills such as English speaking, yoga, etiquette, commercial maths and retail selling skills to front-end employees from both organised and unorganised sectors.

“The idea is to provide affordable education for the front-end staff. If they can’t go to a classroom, we can take the classroom to them,” says Nagesh, who is also on the board of fast moving consumer goods major Marico. According to him, an estimated 30 million people work in the retail sector.

Nagesh said the venture was his tribute to the retail sector. “After I turned 50, I gave up executive roles at Shoppers Stop. I wanted to give something back to the industry which gave me name and fame,” he says.

Each module will have 18 classes and English will have three modules. Each class will cost Rs 49 for the members and classes will run from 8 am to 8 pm. As a pilot, TRRAIN will place a portable air-conditioned cabin at the Inorbit Mall in Malad area in Mumbai from October 1, where retail staff around the area can attend classes. Based on the success, Nagesh plans to roll the initiative to other cities as well.

“Either the members can come two hours early for their job or step out from their work for two hours to attend classes,” Nagesh says.

TRRAIN also plans to provide life insurance benefits to its members at Rs 250 a year and health insurance for Rs 100 a month. After this, the organisation plans to bring out insurance for shopkeepers.

The organisation also plans to award the front-end staff to celebrate their achievements.

Initial funds have come from Nagesh, who has also got four donors on board.

Nagesh has got IL&FS Trust Company as the trustee for the trust to ensure good governance norms. TRRAIN also has an 11-member advisory board consisting of Jones Lang LaSalle India chairman Anuj Puri, New Enterprise Associates senior managing director Bala Deshpande and Tata Sky managing director Harit Nagpal, among others.

He has set up a core team of eight people to manage the operations.

Nagesh says each container will pay back in five years if we get 10-12 per class. Each container will cost Rs 5 lakh.

"The insurance will start paying if 100,000 people enrol for it. Both the initiatives have to be self sustainable to be successful,” he says.

First Published: Wed, September 21 2011. 00:48 IST