Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO of OYO was a college dropout who founded Oravel when he was 18. Later, he rebranded it to OYO Rooms. Today, it has a network of 2,200 hotels operating in 154 cities across India — with monthly revenues of $3.5m and 1,500 employees. So when Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says that “Indians are not creative”, it’s hard to believe. Creative minds are aplenty just that they need the right kind of training to carve their own success stories. Young Entrepreneurs Academy, a US franchise present in six cities across India, does just that — it arranges engaging and fun lectures to understand entrepreneurship. We catch up with three of their young students who already have their business modules ready!
To succeed in any career, one needs training although we may be born with a natural aptitude for a subject or a discipline. There also needs to be a willingness to learn any skill to be improved. A manager would not be able to relate to their team without having learnt about the working practices. This is exactly why young minds need to be trained in entrepreneurship where they get to learn about core business areas such as sales, finance, marketing, accountancy and management as well as a broader ranging skills such as effective communication, adaptability and maintaining confidence.
Rhea Ravindra a Std IX student from Mumbai is one such success story who even before passing out from school has already conceived and nourished a business idea. She says that since her parents are entrepreneurs she was always drawn towards entrepreneurship. She is a proud owner of a startup that designs photochromatic t-shirts. “Fashion has always been dear to me because of which I decided that if I wanted to start a business it had to be fashion and that was just the beginning of the journey,” says Ravindra adding that taking up a course in entrepreneurship developed some healthy business habits like how to cater to the idea and its further development to the management aspect of a business.
With the knowledge she has gained she believes her clothing line will definitely be revolutionary in the fashion and clothing industry. Ravindra has already started taking orders for the same and will roll out the collection soon.
Aditya Gurjer from Bengaluru was introduced to the concept of entrepreneurship when the course was introduced in his school. He wanted to create a product that would benefit society. “Having gone through a personal experience I realised that people suffering from diabetes needed a medium that would connect them to the nearby doctors, chemists and even information required while catering to such patients,” he says.
He believes that the course helped him to understand the problem and create a solution that would be beneficial. He says that looking at it from a business perspective is secondary, what is actually important is that if it is helpful to the consumers.
Moreover, he says, that he has learnt the concept of planning and executing the idea while constantly developing it.
Naayaa Mehta, co-founder of Calcu-vator from Delhi, says that she already had a startup which caters to technology but she just needed guidance which entrepreneurship education provides. She believes that such courses push you beyond the limits and helps you think out of the box. Not just in terms of business but the course is also beneficial for students who are not looking to start their own business.
Most importantly, it teaches you the skills required in day-to-day work environment. For example, she says, it teaches one management skills and meeting work deadlines. She believes introducing the course in the regular curriculum will definitely add to the skill development of the students which in return will be beneficial for the country as a whole.
Namita Thapar, CEO of YEA, believes that the skills associated with entrepreneurship such as money management, financial literacy and interpersonal communications are also relevant and beneficial for day-to-day life. She says that our current education system is good because it makes students strong theoretically and also enables them to multi-task but somewhere in the system such courses need to be added so that they learn the practical aspects of the market as well.
She believes that failure has become a taboo in India, “Parents and students alike need to understand that failure is the first step to success.” She says that students should be open to risk taking which will lead them to creativity and problem-solving ideas.
The benefits of entrepreneurial teachings go beyond personal benefit. It is also good for society as entrepreneurial innovation and new enterprises are essential for a country to be globally competitive with new technologies creating new jobs and opportunities for all.
Further to this, even those who choose to pursue employed careers, are more financially literate so they are more likely to save and invest, making home ownership and a secure retirement more likely.