Interesting topic, isn't it? Let me tell you of my experience with school kids of Kota who attended Gyan Lab Kidpreneurs Summer Camp at Resonance PCCP. And guess who the Coach/Teacher/Guide/Facilitator was? ME!!!
I spent over a month developing the content, the structure, the value of the program for school kids of ages 8 – 15. So, when the registrations also contained students of ages upto 18 as well, my preparation just went for a toss! And, I had no clue as to how will we have folks of ages as little as 8 upto 18 sit in the same class and get into the same activities for all.
It was at that moment that I decided to just chuck the curriculum and go with the flow! Wow, it seems so easy to talk about it now but at that point of time, it was a goliath decision.
And, I reached Kota re-planning the entire 5 day schedule. I had one straight-forward task at hand – I needed to use concepts of entrepreneurship to ensure kids gained maximum exposure into life skills and they understand the feeling of starting a company of your own.
So, we started the Camp with exceptional stories from lives of Elon Musk, Tony Hsieh, Peter Thiel, Steve Jobs, Robin Li, Larry Page, Sergei Brin and others. Then, we spoke and discussed about some of the bigger and popular Indian start-ups and their stories. After this, I asked all the kids to write the most important things that they wish to achieve in their life. It was interesting to note that while some of us had really distant and long-term goals, a few of us also had very narrow goals (this was something I had to change in the next 4 days)!
Following this, the discussion shifted to Gyan Lab and what does Gyan Lab do. We took Gyan Lab as a test specimen, divided ourselves into teams and started searching for problems that we have ourselves faced or have seen people facing around us. This led to fantastic ideas such as KamWala.com, Mishti Jal, DevWorks, Magic Key, Its Easy and ServiceWala.com based on the problems that were our own or someone around us had faced. This is something that I deeply believe in – no one understands our problems better than us (as I understood with my education leading to the founding of Gyan Lab).
We started with the regular steps of writing a business plan but these were little people not even well versed with the rigour of normal life. So, another challenge came in the form of explaining the business plan format in great detail to all our kidpreneurs and I was amazed at the quality of their business plan as they started drafting the same. Market Description, Company Details, Product and Services, Marketing and Sales, Operations, Organization and Personnel all started flowing into shape in perfect unison. I was shocked and I was happy. It was working! Who says kids cannot grasp such deep concepts. The kidpreneurs were completely lost in their start-up planning.
We kept adding challenging and fun quotients while our kidpreneurs kept writing and modifying their business plans. For starters, they had to speak with their team members and decide who takes which role in the company based on their individual appraisal by self as well as other team members. The teams spent some quality time before announcing their CEOs in a mock press conference addressing the ‘audience’. They also did exercises where they had to visit a customer’s house and pitch their product to the customer. While some were born marketers, others had to try it over and over again till they shed their inhibitions and became perfect at the job. The kidpreneurs had to also create their viral advertisement video or show us the same by acting it out. The teams had to give other teams unbiased opinion about their videos/acts whether they would want to buy the product or service based on the same. It was a shocking experience when one of the teams actually spent 7 hours between 9 AM to 4 PM in the very hot climate of Kota to shoot their advert and showed us the same. I was thrilled to see this kind of excitement among our kidpreneurs and I knew the job was being done right.
The following day they started working on their financials beginning with unit economics. I was worried to the core as to how will an 8 year old get the hang of such deep stuff – and boy, I loved it being proved wrong once again. Once the P&L or Cash Flow statements were completed, all our kidpreneurs figured out the start-up capital they would require along with the future funding requirements as well. They also worked out elevator pitches by actually speaking with an extremely busy entrepreneur and our kidpreneurs had to catch his attention by their pitch. It was an interesting act as well.
All this was followed up with creating our own presentations in the 10-20-30 rule with good graphics and clear phrases. Every team practiced their pitches really well to ensure they were in a good position to convince the judging panel.
The 5th and final day was dedicated to last minute tweaks and practices. At 6 pm, we started off with the presentations by various teams along with their final videos/acts, elevator pitches, jingles, business plan presentation and marketing skills. The teams were asked really difficult questions by the Judging Panel who ensured that our kidpreneurs were thorough with their work on their ideas.
For me, it was a moment of glory when each one of them presented. We had kids who were not able to say a word on stage on the 1st day and were explaining their complete businesses on the 5th day with total conviction. What more does a teacher need?
Proud of you guys and thank you for the terrific time I had with you at Gyan Lab Kidpreneurs Summer Camp.