Interviewer - How did you get started in this business?
Vindhyashree – I did my MSc in Technopreneurship and Innovation from Singapore and post that had an immersion program to Stanford University, where we also got an opportunity to explore few companies in Silicon Valley. I was very impressed by how various companies work and what all they take into account while running their company. When I came back to India I was invited as a guest speaker to an Engineering college in Bangalore and I spoke to the new batch of students about entrepreneurship and they all enjoyed the session. After the program one boy from the crowd came to me and told me how he wanted to be an entrepreneur and how he felt after my talk. He even asked me to mentor him through his journey. Post this I got an opportunity to conduct a 3 hours session on Entrepreneurship for children between the age of 11-14years and I was blown away by the ideas these kids had. They were talking about using drones for various problems we see in today’s world. This impressed me a lot and I thought that entrepreneurship is an untouched subject till we come to degree and till then we are not even aware of the subject. So if there is a platform which can provide training on Entrepreneurship we can definitely see a lot of young entrepreneurs flourishing out of India. And hence that was the start of InnovSmart.
Interviewer - Can you provide me with a description of your business?
Vindhyashree – InnovSmart is a platform which provides trainings and workshops on Entrepreneurship, Design thinking and Innovation. InnovSmart has 3 verticals – Kidpreneurship, Youthpreneurship and Professional training. Kidpreneurship is focussed on children between the age of 12-16years. We believe that its never to early to learn the basic concepts of entrepreneurship and develop your mindset towards innovation and business creation. So here we offer integrated programs for schools to train students on entrepreneurship through a lot of activities and hands on experience. We also have summer camps for children in various areas of Bangalore. Youthpreneurship is focussed on degree students, where we conduct entrepreneurship workshops and motivate them to be campus entrepreneurs or future entrepreneurs. Professional training is the other vertical of InnovSmart where we focus on the working class to motivate them to be intrapreneurs and provide them training on various topics like - Technology trends and life cycle, Entrepreneurship process and trends, Innovation, Business development, Branding, Supply chain, Marketing strategies, Marketing tools, Understanding entrepreneurial framework, Creating compelling value proposition, Identifying market opportunities and understanding current trends, Team building, networking and so on.
Interviewer- Why do your customers select you over your competitors?
Vindhyashree – InnovSmart is one of a kind training centre which focuses mainly on Entrepreneurship development. This concept existed in Texas where they gave hands-on training about Entrepreneuship but in India I can say we are the first to come up with a course like this. Many of the customers who we go to are schools and parents directly. Schools have responded to us positively by saying that they were looking for something like this for a long time and we have made it easier for them now and Parents are excited to send their kids to our program as this can create a very positive impact on their child. I have had parents who have told me that their son/daughter is good in something and they want to make a business out of their hobby and parents who have given a very positive feedback post the training.
Interviewer- What are the biggest issues for running this business?
Vindhyashree – The biggest issues with running InnovSmart is to get the approvals from schools. Like I said, we provide integrated courses for schools and many times the principal is interested and the chairman of the school is not, or the chairman is interested and the principal does not want to accommodate a class in the time table or the schools want to have it in house. Another problem is that since Kidpreneurship is an integrated course, we have to pitch into schools before they finalise on the cost structure for the new academic year, and the number of schools we reach out to reduces because each school takes atleast 2-3weeks to respond and close the deal. The problem with youthpreneurship is, many colleges have their ED cells and they do not want to spend on getting something done from another organisation.
Interviewer- What suggestions would you like to give to the young budding entrepreneurs?
Vindhyashree – In a world where everyone motivates you to work in a big company, choose to follow your passion and start your own company to be your own boss. After all, Life is too short to be working for someone else’s dreams. Be unique than being like everybody else. There are many problems around us which needs some innovative solutions and its in your hands to build those innovative solutions. For we believe, young people will have the seeds you bury in their minds and when they grow up they will change the world if watered with the guidance. Follow your dreams! Be recognised by the world and make INDIA proud.