How serial entrepreneur Narendra Shyamsukha is empowering edtech startups in India
Founded in 1999 ICA Edu Skills provides professional training in the areas of accounting and taxation. So far, the firm has invested in 15+ startups in the edtech sector.
Narendra Kumar Shyamsukha is the founder and chairman of The Institute of Computer Accountants, known as ICA. A chartered accountant by qualification, Shyamsukha has years of experience in franchisee building and, today, ICA Edu Skills has a robust presence with 250+ centres across India.
He has also been instrumental in launching Terapanth Professional Forum (TPF), an organisation of more than 6,000 Jain professionals working towards betterment of the society and for higher education of financially-challenged students. He is also founder member of JITO- Jain International Trade Organisation for funding startups with Jain founders.
The firm claims that 2,00,000 candidates are trained and placed every year through ICA’s national network of Placement offices.
ICA Edu Skills is an 18-year-old education and skill development company focusing on accounts, taxation and tally training. The firm has also partnered with National Skill Development Corporation, Ministry of Sustainable Development, and is working jointly with Central and State governments to train and place candidates in various other fields such as apparels, construction, beauty and wellness, retail, BFSI, hospitality, healthcare, logistic, manufacturing and power, among others.
“So far, I have invested in 15+ startups, mostly in Education Technology and ICT-based solution in the field of education, training and employability,” reveals Narendra.
In 2017 alone, ICA invested in three startups in the edtech space. Earlier in 2017, the firm invested in a mobile app – Myly. The Jaipur-based platform offers ease of communication for schools and students on topics related to homework, examinations, results, and fee payments among other services. ICA’s second investment last year was in a Pune-based assessment solution for schools, Open Door Education. That offers assessment solutions for subjects like Maths and Science for grades 4-9. In October 2017, ICA made its third investment in 3D Dexter, a Delhi-based startup that provides 3D printing solutions to educational institutions.
The entrepreneurial journey
“I came up with the idea of launching ICA while I was doing my CA practice. I noticed how my newly hired inexperienced employees within a few months would end up being hired by my clients at a higher salary,” highlights Narendra Shyamsukha.
Narendra Shyamsukha’s eureka moment was when he realised that it was his training that made a difference and helped candidates get job. Recalling the initial days, he reveals that the first training centre was a small room at Kolkata commercial space with a capacity of 10 students getting trained in accounting and taxation. Today, ICA has 250+ training centres across India. Backed by a pool of 2,000+ trainers, the chain of institutes is training and placing candidates across 16 sectors.
To ingrain the right skillset in students and make them future-ready, Narendra Shyamsukha founded his second venture - EduLift in September 2015.
During the same time, he also launched GSTIndiaExpert.com, an online portal providing information on Goods and Services Tax in India. It claims to be a one-stop online interactive platform for latest GST news & articles, updated laws and legislations, events on GST across the nation, case studies, discussion forum, courses for all groups and job corner.
“I started to introduce skilling right from school. Through EduLift I intend to connect wonderful Tech enabled products in school so that students can have a more practical learning experience and be skilled,” he adds.
Through Edulift, Narendra Shyamsukha aims to make upskill students, preparing them for jobs of tomorrow through robotics, 3D printing, mind-map tools, and tinkering labs to reinforce their theoretical learning.
Today, Edulift is connected with nearly 3,500 schools and offers a range of solutions, which includes Innov8 Labs, Learnpedia, School Connect, Edulift School Server, Mind Maps Today, Growfit: Health checkup for school children and ATL (Edulift Solutions is registered vendor of Atal Tinkering Labs from NITI Aayog)
Adoption of skill development framework at ICA
ICA has two models - paid and government-sponsored. The paid programmes have courses ranging from three-month duration to three year full-time graduate programmes. The paid model caters to urban and semi-urban populations with reasonable income and academic background. A successful candidate can expect to get a job anywhere between Rs 12,000 and 35,000, depending on the course he has opted, marks obtained and the location. The government-sponsored model is where ICA contributes actively in Skill India mission. The target group is mostly semi-urban, rural, and under-resourced youth who can be skilled and trained in particular job role and provide a sustainable livelihood through employment or entrepreneurship. The process involves mass mobilising candidates, screening, assessment, counselling, training, on-job training, placement and monitoring placement.
Tracing the future roadmap
ICA is expanding and Narendra Shyamsukha hopes that the latest tax reform will see more students showing interested in accounts and taxation courses. The other programme that he’s banking on is the platform’s employable graduate programme, which offers a three-year degree programme with one-year paid internship in partnership with some private universities of India.
ICA follows a franchisee model and the serial entrepreneur reveals that overall he has seen a year-on-year growth of 15-20 percent in its paid vertical.
“The Skill India vision is where we will be training around 2.5 lakh across India by 2018-19,” he adds.
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