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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

They peddle ideas

When Sheenam Gautam & Raghav Arora started working on an online version of Engyin labs that CoCampus was born. CoCampus allows students to post their projects apps, website, or ML models, etc.

Written by Angad Singh Brar | Chandigarh | Updated: October 11, 2019 2:14:57 pm
Sheenam Gautam and Raghav Gupta created the CoCampus, Inc. (Express photo by Angad Singh Brar)

When did you start the company?

We started with Engyin Labs in July 2018 and made it profitable in six months but it’s a business model which was not scalable. It was when we started working on an online version of Engyin labs that CoCampus was born. CoCampus allows students to post their projects apps, website, or ML models, etc. We have 300+ students on our platform and 15+ employers. It now has students from Chandigarh, Delhi, and Mumbai. It is like Facebook but only for people who are interested in showing the world their innovations or ideas.

What prompted you to do it?

Most colleges have a heavy curriculum that the students have to follow. Eight hour days, assignments, quizzes and exams leave little time to try out things that interest you. Then there is attendance. We believe that the conventional educational setup hinders out-of-the-box thinking. We both are products of the Indian education system but got the opportunity to be part of the European education system, which was a revelation to us. We were convinced that higher education in India needs to be supportive of innovation and creativity, and this resulted in our startup.

The initial struggle

It’s never easy to run the show, especially when you’re starting a new business. Since we are young. everybody thought we were a scam. We were building teams of students from different colleges in India and providing them with projects and mentorship. These students got paid for their projects. For the first three months, it was a very difficult task to teach the students about the concept of “earning while learning”. Work without salaries initially was also difficult especially after quitting our jobs in Germany

The biggest roadblock

Making students deliver projects on time was difficult. When we first started, students from Chandigarh were less interested in making projects apart from their curriculum. To nurture this sense of creativity was difficult but now Chandigarh has a strong community of innovative students and it is getting better every day.

Biggest success

CoCampus has more than 300 students, over 80 projects and over 15 companies recruiting students. Recently, a student from Chitkara earned $250 in a week for a part-time project on CoCampus. He has also released the app he made on the app store and that was a really proud moment for us. More than anything, we feel the community that we have built-in this past year is our success.

Plans for future

We want CoCampus to establish itself as a pan-India platform for students. We foresee more companies on our platform helping students learn by working on their projects. Additionally, we are also planning to include more mentors from different fields and countries to help students know the global scenario of employment. The idea is to make students more employable.

What role can the government/admin play?

We would like to collaborate with the government to help us expand throughout India. The government should also work on introducing new coding languages and technologies in the colleges to keep the students updated. A constant revision of syllabus is very important.

Your advice to budding entrepreneurs

Don’t be afraid to share your ideas. Indian youngsters believe that if they share their startup idea, it’ll get stolen. We need to understand that our ideas originate from problems we face and the opportunities we see. No one else has the insight that you do, and cannot execute it as well as you can. When we share our ideas with people, we get unique insights and all kinds of feedback. Also, entrepreneurship is not glamorous. There are failures, mismanagement, criticism and you can stand strong in all this mess only if you are passionate enough to solve the problem. Listen to what everybody has to say but go ahead with what you feel is right.

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