Started in late 2008 by Rohit Prakash, an MBA from Management Development Institute (MDI,Gurgaon), i dream delivers environmental education utilizing multimedia tools and implementing innovative ideas. They interact with children as well as college students and enlighten them over measures to create a sustainable environment. Their interactive tools comprise activities, role plays, exercises, games, videos and movies. i dream’s core team comprises of four people. Apart from Rohit, i dream has Tripti Bansal and Nidhi Prabhakar, both of whom are post-graduates in environmental science and are involved in research & training while Chetan looks after project management and business development.
The idea of developing a business in this field was conceived by Rohit during his interactions with his father who has been in the environment monitoring field for the past 25 years and various scientists and researchers across the country. “On one hand some exemplary research is happening in all these research labs and yet on the other hand our environment is deteriorating day by day. I wondered if we can connect the two worlds and use the knowledge being acquired in the labs to change the world outside. When I thought, where I can create the most impact, I realized that a school student is my best bet. That is how I connected environment with schools and started i-dream”, says Rohit.
The revenue model includes two aspects: Fees charged from the schools/colleges on a per student basis and corporate/government sponsorships. The marketing of this product is carried out in a rather conventional manner: letters sent along with brochures to the schools asking for an appointment with the ‘decision maker’. “The biggest challenge with the schools is to be able to reach out to the decision maker. Once you are able to do that, it is then all about convincing them about your idea and how it would benefit their schools and the students”, says Rohit. Conducting events at the schools through the year is another way in which i dream markets its initiatives.
There are no smooth rides, especially not for startups. Environmental education being an emerging market, the schools are not yet open to accepting private players providing quality environment education. This happens mainly because of the increasing stress laid upon the core academic subjects. Even in colleges where the youth is expected to consider these issues with seriousness, the response received by i dream has been laid-back with just a handful of students attending even free workshops. “A lot of concepts in environment such as carbon footprint, sustainability etc are still very nascent concepts in India and I believe it will still take some time before our educational institutions start realizing the importance of the same”, says Rohit.
What next at i dream? It proposes to scale the business by moving into cities beyond Delhi/NCR region and reaching out to a large pool of students. Patience will serve as the key, for it will take time and a couple of more disasters to make people realize the true importance of environmental education.
i-dream dreams over here.
- Shyamal Dave