iStar is creating star employees by training new graduates with no experience
Who doesn’t think that college years are the best of our life? Well, I truly think they are. You have plenty of time to dedicate to your passions, subjects, and development. Experiences made in those years will last forever. And people that you meet there will be your long life friends. Or, maybe, your business partner. That’s exactly the story of Sreeraman Vaidyanathan and Surga, two alumni from the MBA of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.After finishing their MBA they started their successful careers: Sreeraman co-founded BrewHaHa entertainment and after having worked in Microsoft, while Surga worked in Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs and Ujjivan Financial Services. But this was not fulfilling their dream. Both of them are very passionate about education and social impact. That’s why founding a social enterprise that through education could provide livelihood opportunities to poor people was perfect in fulfilling their dreams:that’s how iStar was born.
As with every good start-up, iStar was born from an important need: make education functional towards the need of the society “Our education system is completely outdated. What we study at school does not have any connection with reality, while our society is changing so fast. That’s why we decided to start this initiative,” says Sreeraman. Designing their learning program, they decided to have a pedagogic part inspired by their learning in Indian Institute of Management and a content part focus on what is required to have an entry level job “We loved the pedagogic approach in our MBA, that’s why we replicated it here,” says Surga.
Their work in iStar started with a small class of 20 people and grew till impacting 3000 people providing a 95% employment rate. A great success supported also by important partners as CIIE, who accelerated iStar providing also good opportunity of networking, and National Skill Development Centre, who supported more on the educational side of the social enterprise.
Those years of working in livelihoods were really important and insightful for Sreeraman and Surga, and they went through different learning “One of the most difficult thing for an entrepreneur is to find a perfect product. It required a lot of time and investments, it’s very important to find a right balance,” tells Sreeraman. “Also finding the right people to join your team is a tough job, but is extremely important to provide more qualitative services to your customers and also to differentiate from competitors,” says Surga.
iStar is a fast growing social enterprise and they don’t want to stop their growth “Our goal in the next 10 years is to impact 100,000 people” affirm Surga. Their ambition, commitment and mission towards social entrepreneurship can be summed up by a piece of advice that Sreeraman has for any aspiring entrepreneur “Be ready for a long run. A social enterprise isn’t something simple as it seems: it’s exactly how running a normal business. You need to define a target segment and create a great product for it.”
And that’s the only way to succeed: hard work and professionalism is what’s going to take your social enterprise to the next level.