Catching them Young..

Shiv Kampani is all of 14. But unlike kids his age who are busy immersed with gaming, constructing Lego trucks or playing basketball, he is building an innovative and smart gas detector. He says since gas leaks are extremely dangerous, they should be dealt with at the right hour. The young lad believes many homes in India have gas detectors, but the gas sensors only display a light or sound an alarm to warn users. "But what if the user isn't at home? ," asks the boy. He says that's where his product, Sensafe comes into picture, as it sends an SMS and an e-mail warning to the user. "A fire in my building due to a gas leak which took place when the residents weren't at home triggered the idea." The boy from Dhirubhai Ambani International School is the ''Founder & CEO'' of Scatter Innovation, and alongside his school homework and projects, he has already finished the prototype of version 1 of the gas detector. "I am currently working on a more efficient version 2," adds Kampani.

Like Kampani, Khushi Jasrapuria is another school-going kid who is innovating a smart product. Her product is a walking stick for the elderly that will be enabled with a flashlight, reflectors that glow in the dark, a storage slot to keep essentials like key, medicines and money, GPS, Bluetooth and speakers, and an emergency button that buzzes loudly.

But the USP of WalkAid is its digital display which gives a count of steps walked, distance covered, calories burnt and measures the heart rate, stress level and sleeping patterns, says 17 year old Jasrapuria, a student of SVKM International School.

"I'm working with the carpenter who made my prototype. I can begin supplying as soon as I get a machine to blow mould the body of the stick," says Jasrapuria.

Like these school-goers, several kids are now going through extensive lessons in entrepreneurship, designed to ignite novel ideas and fresh thoughts, encourage risk-taking abilities; which ultimately help build new-age ventures.

Craig Johnson, spokesperson from the American School of Bombay, says entrepreneurship programmes infuse energy, optimism and innovation within the student communities.

Experts say it is essential to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in the school curriculum. Since the last decade and more, there has been a massive rise of startups in the Indian ecosystem. There are presently over 8, 625 startups in India, as per data by Startup India, of which 2711 were formed in 2017-18. This has propelled professionals to aspire and dream of becoming entrepreneurs.

According to the Randstad Workmonitor survey, 83 percent of Indian professionals aspire to become entrepreneurs, which is higher than the global average of 53 percent. Moreover, this aspiration is highest amongst the millennial generation. 72 percent of the workforce in India in the 25-34 years bracket is keen to start their own startups.

Namita Thapar, spokesperson for Young Entrepreneurs Academy India (YEA! India), says it is essential to influence school kids to develop a keen eye for problem identification and to equip them with a tool-kit that is needed for problem-solving. YEA! India is the franchise of YEA USA and consists of a programme for children in the impressionable 11-18 years group that encourages them to innovate business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch those business plans to a panel of potential investors and ultimately launch their own ventures. Students are introduced to industry leaders, taken on field trips to startup houses, and trained on the nuances of marketing and finance.

Ananth Narayanan, CEO of Myntra says entrepreneurship programmes enhance the confidence level amongst children, provide them with an understanding of the various aspects of starting and running a business, and provide peer-to-peer networking opportunities.

"Around 30 students have launched ventures in the last two years. This year we hope atleast 100 out of the 250 students who are a part of this programme across 6 Indian cities will launch their ventures. Since the ventures are at a small scale, the startup capital and other requirements are limited," says Thapar.


Such programmes infuse energy, optimism and innovation within the student communities

It is essential to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in the school curriculum

These schemes enhance their confidence level, provide children with peer-to-peer networking opportunities

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