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Sharon Lobo

IWB Blogger

Serial Entrepreneur Devika Majumder Tells Us What Difference Project Based Curriculum Can Create For Indian Youngpreneurs

  • IWB Post
  •  January 29, 2019

Running three successful start-ups and working on some more is no cake-walk. Read ahead to find out how you could do that too.

Devika Majumder began working at the age of 17 and now has three successful ventures and is currently working on two more. Yes! She is working on 5 different ideas simultaneously.

Devika started her journey with MobileSPA, a venture that provides the Day Spa experience. She then went on to build Youngpreneurs, a youth academy, that is India’s first entrepreneurship platform to promote innovation among youth starting-up at the high school level (Ages 13-19).  The program is a holistic, innovative and hands-on.

72 Hours Startup is a venture she is currently working on that is education sessions designed to help entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs develop the skills for the successful, growth-oriented businesses. We asked her for few tips on how to get our ideas going.

Speed is the new currency in business is what you believe. Elaborate.

Yes, absolutely! If a great idea hits you in school days, why to wait till you complete your education to bring that into reality. A concept like 72 hours startup helps youngsters work on the execution of such ideas while studying or pursuing a career.

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Seems like our education system is not equipping youngsters with entrepreneurial skills. What do you think?

In the US, children are exposed to critical thinking from the age of 4, whereas in India education is more instruction-based, and teaching is usually oriented towards right or wrong perceptions. It is as simple as playing with Lego blocks. I always let my son do it on his own, while I saw other parents asking their child to make the designs given on the box only. When we instruct children, we are killing their creativity at that point.

Such concepts like Youngprenuers will help young entrepreneurs to come up with innovative ideas, encourage them to think of new ways and bring out their true imagination. Entrepreneurial skills are not restricted to business only, they can be used in our everyday life. My intent is to make India a project-based curriculum where we will be ready to hear children’s ideas out and help them with execution.

And, how do you plan to reach out to students from the economically weaker section?

In this case, school and colleges need to play a vital role since that’s the starting point. We are a product of circumstances, and schools need to imbibe a particular kind of learning which will be a step towards their goals. Not every venture requires a huge amount of money. I think the thinking needs to change for things to happen.

You say we are headed towards creating our own job economy. Is it still happening considering the entrepreneurship rate has shown signs of fading?

It is! Today’s technology has become so advanced and is working at a breakneck pace. This builds up the entrepreneurial economy. It brings new ways and new thinking to work on. Due to social media, there are vast opportunities for everyone. Entrepreneurs address issues and situations which help to create opportunities and jobs.

Tell us what are the key factors that a startup founder needs to focus on?

A good team! An excellent team is the most essential and primary aspect a founder needs to attain. When others start treating it as their own project and understand the mission, success is guaranteed. I am here now, but my team in the US is handling everything so well. That is because they are so well aligned with my vision.

Finance is the second important factor. With finance and a good team, marketing falls in place too. Once these three aspects are aligned, the company can maintain the quality of a product or a service.

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I have noticed there is a spark of enthusiasm initially, but as the company grows it reduces to the routine. How to keep entrepreneurial spirits up? 

That’s where the team comes in play. If the right kind of people is hired, the ones who are working in synergy towards the unique mission, the energy cannot decrease. I tell some of my mentees, that start-ups fail because they are not able to execute the idea through their teams. See, I go through a thinking phase, then I plan, and then I put all the tasks down. After that, I am just ticking tasks off, and there is no emotion attached to it. I will not celebrate after sending 50 emails.

When you start attaching emotions to projects, that’s when you are disappointed in a team member for not doing it right. This shows in your behavior. The founder’s attitude plays a vital role since they have to be motivated to make sure that the work isn’t stressful. There have to be fun aspects also with smiling faces which make it possible to achieve the goal.

Let’s talk more about soft-skills which an entrepreneur needs to be successful.

Connection with the project as well as people is essential which creates a sense of belongingness and genuineness. Communication has to be clear and a continuous thing so that there is no space for misunderstandings. Along with the presentation, ways of handling work, being open-minded – all contribute to success. And yes, with the right foundation, everything is possible which comprises of everything above.

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You had been already working on Youngpreneur, what made you start the concept of 72 hours startup?

College students wanted us to do something for them, and the idea of starting a venture wasn’t clear to them. I researched with market surveys and discovered that one model or idea could be accomplished within a month. This does not make them compromise on their current classes.  So, this made me start a concept where students would be guided with entrepreneurial inventory and get access to a three-day camp which provides them with various courses based on all the experience.

You are working on three ventures, how do you manage to give each equal amount of time?

There are two more coming up as well (laughs). All the ventures now require is my vision and the rest is taken care by my team.

First published on Nov 4, 2017.

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