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How Starting an Entrepreneurial Career at the Age of 18 Helped my Business During the early years of in engineering, the entrepreneurial bug bit me. It was just natural for me, as at the age of 18 years, I was dabbling with web-based projects.

By Ashu Kajekar

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India is at its entrepreneurial best. We are seeing first-generation entrepreneurs making a mark across multiple business domains. In every aspect, this decade belongs to the entrepreneurial spirit, which has become integral to the economic growth of the country. Even I am a first-generation entrepreneur having seen the best of both the worlds. But before getting into the specifics of how and why I turned into an entrepreneur, I want to provide a brief description of my background.

The story of my life begins with my high school education from Anugraha English Medium School in Ujire, a small town near the pilgrimage centre of Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, India. Having been brought up in one of the top biodiversity hotspots of the world, my journey into the urban world began with me joining the Pre-University Course at St. Aloysius College in Mangaluru. Initially, I found the move a cultural shock. But I coped up with all the vagaries and challenges and emerged successful enough to secure admission into the PESIT (PES Institute of Technology), one of the better-known engineering colleges of the country.

During the early years of in engineering, the entrepreneurial bug bit me. It was just natural for me, as at the age of 18 years, I was dabbling with web-based projects. Right from domain registering, web designing and web Hosting, I was doing it all with aplomb. Meanwhile, college life presented me with a unique opportunity - organising our college fests. My understanding and awareness of the requirements of an event, at that age, helped me execute a very successful event for the college. What more? The success saw me giving a few one-on-one sessions to large audiences about best practices and ways to ensure a better RoI from events. Further, I also addressed an audience comprising teachers and students alike, about how to start a company. That's possibly when I realised how far I had come in life. That was not all, being part of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) Air Wing, I understood and experienced the meaning of hard work and discipline, alongside the value of independence and commitment.

After my stint with various web-projects, in 2009, I co-founded I-easy Solutions, an internet services company, and later in 2010, 7EDGE took shape. When I look back at the journey of 7EDGE, besides our ability to stay ahead of the rest, what makes a difference are the values that the company I founded sticks to. I met many people over the last decade of my life as an entrepreneur; I committed several mistakes (read lessons). However, the very fact that I started learning from all my highs and lows, led to these 7 values that I believe helped me all along.

Initiative

Going the extra mile. Trying the untried. Thinking the unthought – I believe that all these are a result of one simple word- initiative. Initiative is what inspired me, motivated me, and has brought me this far in life.

Productivity

Being able to do things well. Being able to repeat the same performance in an optimum manner, to me, is everything. My belief in productivity made quite a bit of difference to my success as an entrepreneur

Creativity

I believe that life and especially, the internet is all about connecting. Precisely why, every time, I believe in attempting unexpected connections to create solutions that are relevant and refreshing.

Knowledge

In the world of internet, everything's changing at the speed of thought. And action alone is not enough. Many a time, knowing the what, why, how, and when too are equally important. Which is why I hold knowledge in high esteem.

Collaboration

I have worked with a range of people. And I don't just believe in the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. I practice it every day by believing in the value and relevance of collaboration. Within the team, and with all my customers, vendor, and partners.

Transparency

Seeing is everything. But being able to see through it all, is what that sets any team apart. My belief in openness and transparency has helped me build a great team, and lasting relationships with my customers, vendors, and partners.

Reliability

Delivering results is something, but delivering it on time, minus surprises is everything. I believe that reliability is the cornerstone to why brands and businesses rely on my company. So, when we say that we believe in keeping our word, you can take our word.

I know what it took to prove myself reliable, especially when dealing with marketers and technologists, almost twice my age! While I think that they deserve a tip of the hat for their trust in me, what is important is that I was fortunate enough to prove myself to be reliable.

What you just read could be values anyone can talk about. While I have talked about it, I have also put these together, thanks to an early start that I had as an entrepreneur. These are the values that dictate life for me, for my team, and in all the relationships that I share with my vendors, partners, and my customers. I believe in these values, as much as I did when I started out at 18! And will continue to believe even when I am 81!

Ashu Kajekar

Founder & CEO, 7EDGE.

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