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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Bluetooth speakers, printed tees: 41 Delhi kids turn entrepreneurs in 6 weeks

The seed money project, part of Entrepreneurship Mindset Curriculum, was introduced in the School of Excellence in Khichripur for class XI students in January.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: September 7, 2021 8:12:42 am
Sisodia, Atishi interact with the young entrepreneurs from School of Excellence in Khichripur, Monday. (Photo: Amit Mehra)

Creating and selling bluetooth speakers, handmade chocolates, customised printed accessories — 41 government school students in East Delhi started nine entrepreneurship ventures and raised small profits in six weeks, using seed money provided to them by the Delhi government.

The seed money project, part of Entrepreneurship Mindset Curriculum, was introduced in the School of Excellence in Khichripur for class XI students in January. Each child was given

Rs 1,000 and could either use it individually to start their own ventures or pool together their seed money for group ventures.

In six weeks, the final projects and their profits were: ‘Home 2 Creations’ created homemade chocolate and handicrafts from waste and made Rs 9,580 profits; ‘Mobisite’ sold refurbished phones and phone accessories and made Rs 21,000; ‘Ink Family’ sold customised printed T-shirts and accessories with Rs 3,830 profits; ‘Craft Cottage’ sold handmade jewellery and made Rs 2,000; ‘Tap and Draw’ sold portraits and sketches and made Rs 11,840; ‘IONALTS’ created a business around OTT platform password sharing and made Rs 6,950 profits; ‘Divine Creations’ sold paintings and made Rs 22,335; ‘Hebi Naturals’ sold compost and made Rs 3,580 profits; and ‘Speakersters’ produced and sold bluetooth speakers and made Rs 5,650 profits.

When the project was introduced, best friends Sheeza Ali and Sakshi Jha decided to use the curriculum’s primary refrain, ‘Try to be job providers, not job seekers’, as their starting point. They conceived of a venture creating handicrafts and homemade chocolates, with the idea of scaling it up to provide employment to housewives. Sakshi said she visited several local bakeries around her home in Trilokpuri to observe how they made chocolates.

“In the market, youngsters and boys can get jobs but there are housewives who want to support their families but have too many responsibilities and can’t spend the whole day in the office. We decided to provide jobs in their homes. We want to scale up now as we have enough profit to pay them in advance; we can make videos to teach them how to make these products,” said Sheeza.

Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said after this pilot, the seed project is going to be implemented in all government schools from Tuesday with Rs 2,000 per child.

“The seed money project is so that children learn how to invest, lose the fear of starting a business, and learn and experience how to make a profit… in just six weeks, these students have showed that with some hand-holding and support, government school kids can become successful business-people,” he said.

Students’ own experiences gave birth to some other ideas. For example, the experience of their worlds moving online prompted the idea to sell low-cost but high quality bluetooth speakers.

“While attending online classes, we found that the audio from phones is not always enough and using earphones for a long time can irritate the ears. We did market research and found that big companies had speakers in the Rs 3,000-Rs 5,000 range, and decided to produce low-cost speakers of high quality. Our own product is for Rs 299,” said Yash Gupta.

Yash, group leader for Speakersters, said there is a factory which manufactures speakers near his home and he spent time there to learn about the creation process, while Sukhsagar, group leader of Mobisite, said he picked up skills and techniques from a friend of his who does mobile repair work.

A bigger challenge than creating products was selling them.

Tap and Draw organised their team into different roles. They had their two artists, Abhishek and Sakshi, create portraits of their clients. Another team member was in-charge of getting the material and handling deliveries; yet another was in charge of their social media handles which they used for their marketing, taking orders and doing the management work.

“We all were drawing salaries from the company. Other than that, if I would get an order, 20% would be my commission money so all four of us were trying to get as many orders as possible,” said group leader Mayank Shukla.

Ink Family found that while buying T-shirts for printing in bulk was cheaper for them, they did not want to take the risk of doing so in case they could not sell their products. They decided to buy single T-shirts and price their products slightly higher since they were printing them on demand.

“Those in charge of marketing were responsible for reaching out to customers, the research team had to do surveys in nearby markets to find out the best prices… We used the advance money from customers to buy the raw material and used the seed money to do the deliveries,” said group leader Yash Patwal.

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