Monday, 17 September 2012

In Conversation With Edupreneur, Ayush Bansal

Ayush Bansal - An edupreneur, who is very passionate and devoted towards his dream of making India a better place by empowering the underprivileged youth. He is the Co-founder, Director of Medhavi Foundation which is working for the cause of education.

What else should I write to introduce him, in one word he is an 'Inspiration'.

Medhavi Foundation

Let's read what he has to share with us.:-

  1. Before we begin, tell me in a nutshell about yourself.

    => I am a young (age-23) social edupreneur working with an objective to empower under-privileged youth of India. Its been almost 2 years, since I completed my education life from PESIT, Bangalore and ICFAI Business School, Gurgaon. I work with the motto of “work hard, party harder”. I love music, concerts and most importantly, I love my work.
  2. On the basis of your educational background, you did MBA after completing BCA from PESIT. When did you realise that social entrepreneurship is your true calling?

    => I have been involved in many social projects from my graduation days in Bangalore. And since then, I had this intuition of doing some social contribution in a magnified way. I would say, second year of my MBA was the time when I thought of walking into the field of social entrepreneurship.
  3. You also worked with Evalueserve and Prayatna School of Excellence before becoming an entrepreneur yourself, how was your experience?

    => I worked with Evalueserve for about 16 months as an equity research analyst, and it was a great learning experience for me in terms of getting fit into the corporate level and understanding company management and process. Fortunately, I got a bigger role as a fresher in this field which helped me to learn tremendously.

    And Prayatna School of Excellence was a bigger chapter for me, where I got a platform to get close to the ground realities of social problems and come out with solution for the same.
  4. What inclined you towards edupreneurship?

    => Poor Indian Education system, absence of a powerful learning platform. You see there is this huge problem in Indian Education sector, and I see that as an opportunity.
  5. Like all other ventures, there are challenges while getting off the ground with limited resources. What was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?

    => Human capital is one area where I have faced challenges. Getting funds, money for any good project is not a big deal in India now, but getting dedicated people on your board is a tough task. When you have a vision of reaching out to 5 lakh under-privileged students, you need to have lot of good people on board. The tough part is to incentivize them so that they stick around. I would say, I am still struggling on this very part and trying to come up with solutions.
  6. At any instance, through all the struggle, did you ever feel like backing out and taking a job rather for your own security?

    => Never ever did I feel like backing out. I was rather thinking opposite, backing out from my job & getting into full time entrepreneurship, which I did when I was in a job. :) And I would tell you this is the most difficult part, when you are in a well settled job, getting fix cash flow in your account, and suddenly you have this crazy idea which you are passionate about, which just doesn't make you sleep, eat etc. That very moment defines your life when you take that hard step to back out from a salaried job and get out to roads on your own.
  7. I have seen it’s generally very difficult for entrepreneurs to convince their family to allow them to pursue what they want to. How difficult was it for you?

    => Yes, it gets more difficult when you are a social entrepreneur and you belonging to a business family. Being an entrepreneur, it’s very important that the first buyer of your idea is your family/girlfriend/friends. You need to sell your idea to them first. On this part, I would say, my dad has been very supportive, and we together have taken steps to go forward and settle my life in phases and actions.
  8. Being a edupreneur you’re working not only for your own dream but also for our country’s dream. How has the journey been like?

    => The journey has been smooth with few bad patches. But I was fortunate to have Pravesh Dudani, my co-founder who has always showed me the right way to go ahead in those difficult times.
  9. Entrepreneurship can be a success or a failure depending on a number of factors. What would you say is the most important factor?

    => The 2 most important ingredients of entrepreneurship: A.) An idea/project which solve a problem, and you are dead passionate about executing it. B.) A strong team which think in line with you.
    1. And rest things, they just come by your way. But the most important is an idea and the team. I meet a lot of young people (B-schools, young grads, IITs, eng etc.) who wants to be an entrepreneur, but they just want to be one. It never comes out only with willingness to be an entrepreneur, but one should have a valid idea and a team.

  1. How can social entrepreneurs attract talent when there aren’t high salaries and options?

    => There has been a shift in the field of social sector. People in this sector are being now called as ‘’social professionals”. Its the buzz. There is no shortage of cash inflow in your account. And I completely go by that. No donor mind give funds to a non-profit body which has high budget for its employees and management, no one mind paying a lac salary to a person who is impacting lakhs and lakhs of under-privileged. There has been a positive shift in the way people used to think about joining a social organization, and it has not been very difficult to attract people in this sector anymore.
  2. How did the idea behind Medhavi Foundation come up? How did you collaborate with Mr. Dudani, the co-founder?

    => Its a long story, and a very complex one to be narrated here. Would love to speak at a stretch and let you know about how did we come up with Medhavi Foundation. Co-founder, who is Pravesh Dudani, an IITian and a serial entrepreneur, he is a gem of a person. I am fortunate to have a person like him as the co-founder of Medhavi Foundation. We are family friends and belong to the same place (neighbors to be very specific). Pravesh is very senior to me, and I have always gone to him at time of taking guidance and support. I have always been discussing with him on the part of what’s happening on my side. At the time when I was about to initiate project EduDisha, I went to him and had a long discussion. Fortunately he was working on the same domain in for-profit business. That was the inflexion point where we decided to work together for this project and then ultimately went forward to start Medhavi Foundation. All that we have done this far wouldn’t have happened if he was not there. Its very important to have a team, and he is my team :)

  1. How long did it take to execute the whole idea of empowering underprivileged youth of India through Medhavi?

    => 15-16 months is what it took us to come up with a structured project. It took us 3 pilot projects which validated our idea, the problem we were solving, and the impact we were creating.
  2. A lot of people are interested in volunteering for NGOs. So, for the readers to know would you please describe the whole motive of Medhavi Foundation?

    => Medhavi Foundation is a youth led non-profit organization which is working with the objective of empowering underprivileged youth of India. A section 25 non-profit company (NGO), with registered office in New Delhi. It currently operate in 3 states of India: Delhi, Haryana and Jharkhand, working with 20,000 govt. school students (std. 9-12). The company currently has 3 full time people in the core team and 200+ volunteers from premier B-schools, corporate and psychology colleges.

  1. Tell us about the project EduDisha.

    Project EduDisha - MAGE program provide under-privileged youth (std. 9-12 student from a low income family) a trusted platform where he/she is Motivated, made Aware about viable career options, scholarships and financial educational schemes, given personalized sustained Guidance and helped to Enroll in a higher education or vocational institute.
  2. You are also a Yatri. Tell us what all Jagriti Yatra is about? How has it evolved you as a social person?

    Jagriti Yatra is an ambitious train journey of discovery and transformation that takes hundreds of India's highly motivated youth on an 15 day national odyssey. The aim is to awaken the spirit of entrepreneurship.The vision of Jagriti is to inspire young Indians living in the middle of the Indian demographic diamond (Rs 40 - Rs 120 per day) to lead development by taking to enterprise. Jagriti Yatra helped me to come closer to the ground problems, meet people who have done so much in the field of social sector, and get inspiration and guidance from them which absolutely evolved me a social person.
  3. What can government or society do to encourage more social entrepreneurship?

    => There is nothing much the government can or should do. I believe it should concentrate on what is should really do. And, social entrepreneurs like me should assist govt. in their initiative of country development rather than creating a parallel body.
  4. Where do you see yourself, I won’t go too far, say three years from hence?

    =>At the end of the 3 years, I would see Medhavi Foundation changing lives of at least 1 lac under-privileged youth of our country.

  1. Any advice for emerging entrepreneurs/social entrepreneurs?

    => Be cool, stay calm, believe in your idea, and execute your idea
    ASAP. _____________________________ Rapid fire round:

  • Favorite Place?
    => Leh
  • Favorite Cuisine?
    => Italian
  • Favorite Gadget?
    =>My Blackberry phone :)
  • Favorite Book?
    => I don’t have the patience to read them.
  • Your role-model?
    => Rahul Batulia, Founder of Rubbabu.
  • Any hobby that you wish to inculcate?
    => Like getting some time out for myself every day into activities like swimming, cycling, playing different sports etc.
  • If you were to write a book someday, what would it be about?
    => Entrepreneurship

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