Udhyam Learning Foundation and Project Potential have teamed up to create an entrepreneurial mindset among students using an innovative curriculum. This pilot is now being run in Kishanganj town in rural Bihar.
Udhyam Learning Foundation is democratising entrepreneurship through an innovative curriculum focusing on increasing confidence, self-awareness, grit, introspection and motivation – which can be a life changing addition to the formal education they have received.
The actual curriculum has an in-house component, which seeks to bring out these qualities in participants, followed by an experiential business module in which groups are given a loan of Rs. 10,000 to start a business.
It is through this process that youth get to apply the mindset they have learned to the process of entrepreneurship. They get to build prototypes, gain customer feedback, and iterate; they also learn how to deal with failure, build the confidence to speak to strangers, and often become passionate about a particular business idea.
With several pilots successfully run, Udhyam has found that the program is working to increase participant confidence, business knowledge, and preparedness to work in different ways and with different people.
While traditionally areas like mindset have been avoided in favour of teaching business basics like accounting and marketing, which are easier to measure, research has begun to show that mindset is a better predictor of entrepreneurial success.
For example, a recent randomized control trial in Togo run by the World Bank and National University of Singapore tested the impact of trainings in areas like self-starting behaviour and overcoming obstacles, and found that it was more successful than traditional business training. In particular, female business owners who received training in personal training saw a 40% increase in profits versus 5% for those receiving traditional business training.
Looking at these results and at Udhyam’s curriculum, the organization Project Potential has decided to partner with Udhyam on this program to run a pilot in Kishanganj, Bihar.
Project Potential’s mission is to create an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation to solve the youth unemployment crisis in rural India.
Currently the vast majority of educated young people spend years in tuition centers preparing for government jobs, even though it is not uncommon for over 1 million people to apply for a position which may have only 1,000 vacancies. Project Potential founder, Zubin Sharma, said that the organization “seeks to provide an alternative path for these youth so that they can apply their creativity to create innovative businesses that generate employment and solve local problems.”
Toward this end, the organization also plans to launch an incubator in Kishanganj in early 2018 to help these youth move forward with their businesses via access to finance, training, and mentorship.
While organizations in the social sector often struggle to collaborate, Udhyam and Project Potential hope that this pilot will become a model for how organizations can bring together their individual strengths to multiply impact. The Udhyam-Project Potential pilot has been launched in Kishanganj town with a batch of 20 youth, and then will move to other parts of the district to test the program with different groups.