The Loudest of 3600 Entrepreneurs who Cried Eureka!
It started off with a simple thought- creating a platform through which college students could share their academic and extracurricular experiences and school children could read and benefit from them. This thought culminated into the magazine ‘Education Edge’. Sheltered under the brand name “We the children” Education Edge started off as a medium for college students to write about their experiences; be it preparing for national and international competitive examinations, considering different career options or involving themselves in activities they’re passionate about.The aim was to not only be informative, but also inspire and motivate school children to pursue activities they may be interested in. “For example, on the one hand we’ve had articles by a former International Physics Olympiad gold medalist on how to prepare for the exam, articles by former JEE top rankers on topics like time management, while on the other hand, a National Debate winner wrote about his passion for debating and his exploits at various international debate championships!” says Gouri Nawathe, one of five co-founders.
Since the articles are written by college students who’re freshly out of school themselves and who’ve been a part of the Indian schooling system, the school children relate to them easily.
Education Edge has been reaching out to students through schools, which also makes up their distribution model. “We distribute our magazine to schools who in turn distribute it to the respective student subscribers. This strategy has helped us to cut down on distribution costs considerably,” says Gouri. They have also tied up with organizations like INTACH, which distributes their magazine to 1200 school libraries.
The Stars behind the Scenes
Their team consists of Shreya Mishra (Mechanical Engineering, IIT-B and Boston Consulting Group), Neeraj Jain ( Electrical Engineering, IIT-B and Deutsche Bank), Sourav Poddar (Young India Fellowship), Gouri Nawathe (Fifth Year Student, Electrical Engineering, IIT-B), Prithika Vageeswaran (Fourth Year Student, Engineering Physcis, IIT-B) and Aviral Bhatnagar (Third Year Student, Engineering Physics, IIT-B).
- They won Eureka, IIT-B's B plan competition where they were among 3600 teams
- 1 of 30 international startups from across 28 different countries invited to attend E-Bootcamp, conducted by Stanford BASES
- Finalists at Genesis, IIT-M's B plan competition.
- They were one of the 5 best entries from amongst 60,000 entries pan-India at ITC's Classmate Challenge
Currently the education sector in India is doing very well and this trend is expected to continue in the next few years as well. The Education Edge team plans to leverage this market boom by acting as an advertising avenue for companies in the education sector.
On Being Student Entrepreneurs
“The pros are that there isn't any risk involved per se, and there's just so much you can learn that you wouldn't otherwise! It is difficult, and challenging, but the journey totally changes you as a person, for the better. I've learned to deal with people twice my age, make decisions in the fraction of a second and getting an opportunity to work with a talented and motivated team has been the cherry on the cake,” says Gouri.
“We’ve been through a lot of lows, but our passion for our idea, and the enthusiasm and conviction of the team saw us through. Because our team is young, and mostly consists of students, there are always a lot of ideas being bounced around and the work atmosphere is very vibrant. We aren’t scared to pursue an idea that we like (I think young blood does that to you) and every idea, however absurd it may sound, is discussed and given due time. That is how we managed to come up with a lot of brilliant articles and design elements, which we wouldn’t have otherwise,” she adds, with pride.
Education Edge has taken guidance from a lot of IIT-B alumni at different points of time. Sujata Dev, chairperson of ASSOCHAM and Mr. Praveen Tyagi, owner of IITian’s PACE, have also mentored them in the past. “We would love to be mentored by a relevant experienced professional and gain from his experience and expertise. As for funding, yes, we are looking for funding. Printing is cost intensive and requires a huge capital investment in the beginning,” says Gouri.
Their future plans include expanding to the web domain to increase their outreach. “We want to replicate the same model online for the college space- where young professionals and college alumni can share their professional experiences which college students can benefit from. Our final aim is to create an entire support system in the form of written personal experiences and mentorship at every step of a student’s journey,” says Gouri, signing off.