It's Time The Indian Students' Entrepreneurship Streak Is Tapped in School
Why shouldn't a brilliant idea by a school-goer not get the same support as adults ask India's youngpreneurs.
Young entrepreneurs are having a whale of a time now with their businesses growing steadily in the country.
At a stage when most people are busy understanding their talents that will allow them to stand in good stead in future, a selected few have already set benchmarks and created their own identities.
Age is practically no bar to achieve something big in life. So, Entrepreneur India raises a moot question — "Should schools in India groom students for entrepreneurship?"
We have talked to some young entrepreneurs in India to know what has helped them achieve their goals at such young ages.
Brothers Shravan Kumaran (17) and Sanjay Kumaran (16) are India's youngest app developers-cum-entrepreneurs from India. Based out of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, the brother-duo have won great accolades since the inception of their idea.
Students Should Identify Their Interests
"Schools should help students identify their interests," said Shravan.
Identified as the youngest Mobile Application Programmers in India and among the youngest in the world, Shravan and Sanjay run an online venture called Go Dimensions.
The duo has been creating apps for Android and iOS applications, besides developing hardware devices.
"We have built our tablet for INR 700. We code our apps and have learnt a lot of technological tricks by reading books and through research. We have solved a lot of problems with the help of our bookish knowledge. The same way we learnt programming," said Sanjay.
On how the current model of education will impart entrepreneurial training, Sanjay said, "Schools must start teaching students about entrepreneurship."
The Kumaran brothers have big plans for their future. They want to pursue further studies in Computer Science to make their company a top product-developing country in the world.
"We would like to dab a Heraclitus's quote, "Change is the only constant'. We love working with new tech. We are constantly thinking about what would be the future of the tech world. We start working the moment we find something interesting," says Sanjay.
Another gem amongst those early starters is 18 year-old Mihir Menda who runs a venture called 'UrbanUp'. In a bid to address the struggles of econonomically weaker sections, Menda, initiated a social enterprise that aims to provide low cost homes in a clean and green community to the urban poor.
Menda's company has received impact funding from the social impact investors such as Cyrus Mistry (Tata/Shapoorji Pallonji) and pro bono services of Rahul Mehrotra, Dean of Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) in Cambridge, Mass, USA.
In an interview with Entrepreneur India, Menda urged social entrepreneurship must be added to school curriculum to make entrepreneurs of the future.
"Don't Make Us, Just Mug-Up'
Abishiekh Jain, a 16-year-old programmer and blogger from Chennai feels the current model of education sometimes makes Indians feel that they are studying only to fetch marks and the focus is not on actual learning.
"Schools should not ask pupils to just mug up lessons. Instead, they should be encouraged to identify their talents and work on it," said Jain, the founder of Hackers Den.
There are innumerous great hidden innovators who make their way at a very tender age with their meticulous thought-processes. Another such gem is is 16 year-old, Gursimran Singh, who is a tech enthusiast and loves developing embedded systems.
Singh won the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards for his project called "EyeScribe' and represented India at the International Events in Washington D.C. The device gives visually impaired a 3D aural environment to create mental pictures while reading.
Singh credits his success to his school and its varied initiatives to make kids an all-rounder. At our school, "innovative thinking blends with a novel approach," says Singh.
On asking what lacks in Indian education model, Singh opined, "I think, the only thing I see as a lag, is sometimes when school make students self-sufficient, which is not right."
Entrepreneur India also approached India's first entrepreneurship academy, Youngpreneurs, based in Kolkata. It's a youth academy and think-tank that promotes entrepreneurship and innovative growth among students in the age group of 13-19.
The company has recently launched a one-of-a-kind boot camp to mentor future entrepreneurs in a hyper-connected age of automation.
When asked how the institution is different from IITs and IIMs, which have their own incubator cells to train school students, the co-founder and COO of YoungPreneurs, Smita Majumder, said, "Our academy helps teens develop their ideas into prototypes of products/services with viable business models. Though our goals are similar, our overall approach is completely different from theirs".
Our current focus is to introduce entrepreneurship at the secondary and higher secondary levels as a co-curricular programme in schools. Students can gain hands-on experience through projects in workshops outside school as well, said Majumder.
She says the academy has tied up with incubators to be able to turn good early stage ideas into marketable products. We are hoping that more entities in the public, private and academic sectors come together to build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in India"
Plugging Loopholes In Education System
The Founder and CEO of YoungPreneurs believes children have a reserve of latent talent and all they need is the right mentorship to transform their ideas into lucrative ones.
Presently, education in India is not structured to promote innovation. It relies on a memory-assessment test of children and is limited to a classroom system of passive learning. As they say, a person is not an entrepreneur by birth, he/she becomes one," said Devika Majumder
YoungPreneurs trains children to be creative says Devika.