This article is a part of the CitySparks series sponsored by Verisign
Damini Mahajan and Arjun Krishna knew they wanted to continue their education abroad. However, they were unable to find a single source that could help them identify scholarship opportunities and institutions that could provide them their desired majors. They found that there was no comprehensive and up-to-date source of information for students looking to go abroad for higher studies. Finding the right colleges and universities for the courses and degrees they wanted to pursue to other details like course fees, living expenses, etc. was difficult, a painful ordeal. In the process, they learned they were not alone; just about everyone else they met from India had gone through a similar experience.
After much searching, they were able to go to the University of Sheffield to complete their master’s degrees in bio-process engineering in 2012 thanks to fully funded scholarships by the UK Government. Their scholarships covered everything from airfares and tuition fees to living expenses.
In 2013, Damini and Arjun decided to pool together their knowledge, and what they’d learned from friends and fellow students, and help others looking for such information. The result was the creation of social media groups to provide and share information on Facebook about study abroad. By the time they completed their degrees, the groups they created had become hugely popular and grown to over 150,000 users.
The transition into a startup
Once they graduated, Damini and Arjun were sure that they wanted to capitalize on the online community that followed them on Facebook and start an education company. They decided to go all in and cater to students from around the world. “Since we were focussing on the global student community, it was only natural that we decided to get a .com domain name for our website,” says Damini. The final choice was WeMakeScholars.com.
WeMakeScholars.com (WMS) is one of the most comprehensive search and discovery platforms globally for scholarships and also includes internship opportunities.
Though their revenue model is not in place yet, this digital portal aims at becoming a not-just-for-profit organisation established to address the lack of reliable and transparent information in the higher education sector. Arjun says that “Connect with the right people and the right opportunities” best describes their mission of becoming the world’s go-to platform for aspiring scholars.
According to Damini, “It was really tough for us to run with just a social media community. Data was not user-friendly, which was ultimately leading to users not finding the relevant scholarships. So, I think it was a really good move for us to shift to WeMakeScholars.com. It helped us in retaining and expanding our Facebook user base and making a big difference to the global student community.”
Making a difference
Today, students from close to 200 countries access WeMakeScholars.com and it has received 2 million page views during the last five months. With a team of 8 full time employees, the site is supported by a number of passionate bloggers from several countries who contribute to the WeMakeScholars.com blog. The blog is gaining popularity because it gives students a lot of specific information and first-hand experience from other students about a particular course, university or country.
Nelson Mandela’s words “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" serves as a guiding principle at WeMakeScholars. The young team is also learning new skills and aims to create a website format that is very user friendly. On their immediate agenda is a plan to monetise the model and establish tie-ups with universities and colleges.
Going .com enabled WeMakeScholars to make a big difference to the global student community. If you have a great idea, put it into action. Go big, go .com!
Register your .com at www.gobigwith.com
- online community
- Go Com Go Big
- social media groups
- Damini Mahajan
- Arjun Krishna