India is the youngest country: home to the most young people in the world! It has been a reason to be optimistic and hopeful, as youth bring energy and fresh thinking to help grow the country.
Over the last few years, this optimism is starting to turn into questions and concerns: will our youth have the opportunities to be able to create value? Is our education system preparing youth well for the rapidly changing world? The answers to both these questions are worrying and the progress is currently bleak.
Instead of depending on being given jobs – which don’t seem to exist, the youth of the country need to take their careers and lives in their own hands and pursue entrepreneurial endeavors.
In the last few years that I have worked with youth, I have been repeatedly surprised by their actions, youth’s ability to try new things, adapt to changes and learn is vividly evident in their comfort with newer technologies especially with mobile phones. In a rapidly changing world, this ability is essential for people to thrive.
At GAME, youth form the core part of our focus and we will be able to achieve our goal of enabling 10 million Mass Entrepreneurs, only if a large part of our focus is on working with and learning from youth.
This month, we are delighted to have a contribution from a young, successful entrepreneur, Prukalpa Sankar, Co-Founder, SocialCops, sharing an insight into her entrepreneurial journey.
Team GAME’s Immersion Journey
At GAME we are committed to learning being at the core of defining our strategy. The team are spending the first quarter of 2019, on an immersion journey with some of the organizations doing incredible work on the ground. Some of the organizations we spent time with were Going to School, Udhyam Learning Foundation, SIDBI, LAHI, Meljol, Manndeshi, PCC, Best Practices Foundation and Aptech Learning Centre. The time spent on the field strengthens our insights for a more effective road map toward catalyzing Mass Entrepreneurship in India. Here is a snapshot of just a few of the stories we came away with:
- Armaan Patel, a 1st-year college student where LAHI conducts vocational training programs, is extremely confident, bubbling with ideas and his eyes peeled for a market opportunity to seize. He has a monthly expense of Rs.50-60k for his recreational needs which he believes can only be met by being an entrepreneur and not a job. Some of his business ideas have included selling ginger barfis (an opportunity he spotted when a batch of barfis by another vendor went bad). Among his other ideas have been selling “nimbu golas”, a watch strapped on a bag etc! His mother supports his agency which propels his entrepreneurial vision. Armaan believes that his internship has been more valuable than the vocational training in driving his entrepreneurial aspirations.
- Young Nargis was faced with a family tragedy that almost made her give up her dreams. Yet, her own tenacity and the support of Udhyam Learning Foundation interventions have seen her online business of selling scarves grow doubling her capital and fulfilling orders from 22 cities in less than six months. Nargis dreams of expanding her business overseas
- Pooja, 30 years old came from a family who had a small business selling bangles. She undertook the Desi MBA with Manndeshi (Pune) and a beauty parlour course. This gave her the confidence to set up a larger store with more inventory (beyond bangles) by taking several loans from different sources. Additionally, there is space at the back of her store to set up her beauty parlour business. Currently, she employs a couple people for 3-4 days a week paying them a daily wage of Rs.500. She plans to build her parlour business with a loan from the bank. Pooja has managed to grow her business, increase her savings, provide for her family and most importantly have a better sense of self and purpose.
- Salma Taj has caught on to the global trend of sustainability and a circular economy in the garment industry. She inherited her mother’s business idea of selling used clothes but with using her intuitive business skills and some intervention, she has improved on the idea by first mending the clothes, washing, ironing and packing them to sell a better product at a better price. Her mother sold used clothes at Rs. 25, Salma with her effort at restoration sells the same outfit at Rs.50. She invested in a washing machine to undertake the cleaning in-house, employs her physically challenged son (18yrs old) to help with the cleaning and outsources the mending. Her future plan includes opening a store to overcome the challenges of mobility.
Vidya Chandy, Director, GAME spending time on the ground with the MANNDESHI team.
Santanu Chari, Director, GAME visits Meljol –time at their Youth centre in Vikhroli Park Site, Mumbai
Going to School: The Children’s Scrappy News Service, in search of women entrepreneur heroes
Co- Founder, SocialCops
I was an average 20-something university student from a middle-class Indian family. In my final year of university, I was bitten by what they call the “startup bug” and I dreamt of being an entrepreneur. Around me, my batchmates were applying for jobs feverishly. On the other hand, my co-founders and I were working on our startup idea without respite. The decision to not apply to jobs came with its fair share of fears and insecurities. I’ve said this a million times over — I think the most difficult part about being an entrepreneur is “deciding” to take the plunge.
This is especially true when you come from the average Indian middle-class background. Most of us have seen our families struggling to make ends meet and understand the importance of money and a regular paycheck. We are scared that we are throwing away the promising future we have created for ourselves in IT companies, consulting firms, and investment banks by the virtue of an undergraduate “engineering” degree from a good college. The risks seem too high, and it seems to be a more prudent decision to do a masters degree and get some experience before starting up. Read More
This demographical advantage gives India an unprecedented edge to emerge as a global economic leader. Many experts have presumed that this vast young pool if skilled well, can result in an additional 2 percent GDP growth rate in the coming year.
Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani on Friday said we are the only nation where the local entrepreneurs have to compete with the offerings from the best around the world, particularly those from the US and China.
Gujarat is known as the land of entrepreneurs for ages. A recent study confirmed this as the state bucked the nation trend in setting up new enterprises in 2017-18.
Half of India’s working-age population (15 years and above), for the first time, is not contributing to any economic activity, according to the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO’s) latest jobs survey.
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