Youth and Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century

MASH Project Foundation organized an Online Conference Youth in Action: Building the New Normal on Wednesday, 12th August 2020. It was a two-hour long conference with one hour of a panel discussion followed by an hour-long skilling session. The session was organized in partnership with Teach for India.
The panel discussion had multi-stakeholders together. The members of the panel discussed the role of youth in rebuilding India through entrepreneurship. As we all know, amid the debilitating economic slowdown, there is a dearth of job opportunities in the nation. Even after acquiring multiple degrees, the candidates couldn’t find a job. In the account, many people are jobless, and in such a situation entrepreneurship offers a way out.
The panelist laid down their point of view on this topic. The discussion revolved around how the youth can be equipped with tools and guidance to make them succeed with integrity and become successful entrepreneurs
The panel had Mr. Akshat Mittal founder of Bharat Shramik, Ms. Neha Buch director, and board member of Parvah and Dr. Priyank Narayan founding director of Ashoka University.
Mr. Akshat Mittal pointed out the importance of taking the first step. Making the first step generates a powerful force that if followed and sustained can get you to your goals. He also focused on strategic plans, collaborative leadership, and teamwork. He also explained that connections are important and approaching the right investors is imperative.
Ms. Neha Buch talked about the necessity of grabbing the opportunities and the significance of relationship-building ability and cognitive thinking. She also told us that entrepreneurship is not a theory but an experiment that can be experienced with fear. She threw light on the uncertainty of youth. According to her, individual fundraising grabs a lot of attraction and importance of smart budgeting and sources.
Mr. Priyank highlighted the equal importance of technology. He put forward the fact that talent is now found globally. Therefore, a proper mindset and interdisciplinary education are required. Mr. Priyank further discussed the strategies we can apply for raising funds. He explained that one should expand networking and keep expenses under control.
The skilling session aimed to provide a platform for the youth to learn about the role they can play by venturing into entrepreneurship and the skill set required to become a successful entrepreneur. It emphasized the need for 21st Century Skills that are required for youth to become potential entrepreneurs, address social challenges, and rebuild India while contributing to the creation of jobs. The theme for the session was Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century – Skills to become a Successful Entrepreneur.  
The session was conducted by trainers from Teach for India, Ms. Ishita Dutta, and Ms. Nivritti Tandan. Ishita, a Personal Leadership Coach at Teach for India, has been associated with TFIx for over 6 years now. She has been involved in training entrepreneurs and professionals in all aspects of leadership, personal development, and coached them to achieve professional and organizational goals. Our second trainer, Nivritti, is currently the Program Lead at Teach for India. She holds a degree in B. Sc. Psychology (Hons) from the University of Exeter, the UK, and a master’s degree from the University of Bristol in the UK in Counseling in Education. She has 8 + experience in the non- profit organization management industry and is skilled in research, project management, and analytical skills. 
The trainers started the session with a brief introduction about themselves and shared their learnings through the experiences they had gained. Nivritti told the audience how college taught her to take responsibility. She added the biggest lesson she learned while working in a fellowship was asking herself frequently what people want. Ishita shared the role played by her maternal uncle in her life and how growing up around nature and with people from all around the world made her realize the importance of a relationship. She also added that her key takeaway from the fellowship is All the children can, All the people can.
Nivritti talked about TSIS an initiative by Teach for India, that works for the entrepreneurs in remote areas like rural Bihar, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, etc. and helps them by providing training on how to run a fellowship. After this Ishita shared a case study of Mathanmi Hunghyo who founded Recognize Rise and Empower Association in 2017 which works for the betterment of the Kamjong region which is deteriorating due to the drug trafficking in the Golden triangle. He had completed his Masters from Delhi School of Social work. The reason why Mathanmi founded RREA was the corruption in the education system in Manipur and the lack of teachers in the classrooms. The Vision of RREA is to transform at-risk communities into sustainable communities through socio-economic interventions. RREA launched its program Teach for Northeast on 20th April and the selection of the teachers was done in the 1st week of March and then COVID lockdown broke in.
Ishita then went on to ask the audience what will Mathanmi do in this scenario? Online classes, radio, community schooling were some of the answers that came from the audience. Ishita continued the story and told the audience that Mithanmi asked himself three questions.
  • What can I do? 
  • What is important? 
  • How can I do it best?
He immediately decided to raise money through crowdfunding and called for volunteers. He also contacted his connections in WIPRO and Azim Premji Foundation. WIPRO aided the initiative with five lakh relief packages. Seeing his work the government of Manipur appointed him as Nodal Officer in Kamjong District. Nivritti further added that the reasons why Mathanmi was successful in solving the problem were because he looked at the problem holistically and evaluated all the factors. After that Nivritti asked the audience what were the key takeaways from the story?
To which the audience replied, problem-solving, adaptability, strategic thinking.
After concluding the story of Mathanmi Ishita explained the importance of having an entrepreneurial mindset and how one can develop the mindset. She highlighted the fact that entrepreneurship cannot be learned through books or sessions rather it is a lesson one learns through experience when one steps out into the field. She emphasized that obstacles and hindrances are a part of the journey and we shouldn’t bow down to these problems rather face them with courage. Compassionate leadership was also a key takeaway from Ishita’s side. A crucial part of becoming an entrepreneur is compassion, it is important to know one’s values and build relationships. Also, one must work to help the voiceless and uplift the needy.
The session was followed by a Q & A round. The key takeaways from the Q & A round were that introspection is important to become an entrepreneur, one needs to spend time with himself. Decision- making is a crucial part of entrepreneurship, and one mustn’t refrain from making decisions daily. Classification of problems is also important and one must, give less emphasis to non- important decisions. Also, it is vital to look at a problem through different angles. One must keep trying new things and interacting with people who are different from them. Lastly, to step out and leave an impact it is important to get out of one’s comfort zone and be adaptable to changes.

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