This 16-year-old wants to engage and entertain sick children with Boxes of Joy
There is no age bar when it comes to entrepreneurship. All it needs is a solid idea, the right mentorship, and the will to carry it forward.
Over the past year, we have featured many young entrepreneurs whose skills have been honed at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), making them achievers at a very young age.
Natisha Shah, a 16-year-old student of Dhirubhai Ambani School in Mumbai, is one such young entrepreneur who wants to spread joy in the lives of others through her “Boxes of Joy”.
And to think it all began because she was often sick as a child! “I would spend a number of hours indoors and would be completely bored after exhausting the few options I had to entertain myself,” she says.
At that time, she says she would have loved receiving a kit of activities every few days to keep her mind engaged and positive. This thought later led to Boxes of Joy, a kit full of fun activities, especially designed for children in hospitals.
“Putting yourself in others’ shoes makes it easy to realise what they require and how you can provide it,” she says.
Natisha points out that the number of bedridden people in India is projected to be 137 million by 2021, according to research by the Indian Journal of Community Medicine.
“Several young people are bedridden and restricted from fulfilling their dreams. Their interests, and keeping them busy and entertained is often not considered important,” she says.
“As an entrepreneur, I want to help people in some way or the other. I hope that Boxes of Joy can entertain children who are bedridden and ease their recovery process so they become healthier mentally and emotionally.”
Fun activities for children
Aimed at 7-12-year-olds, the kits contain activities like word search, connecting word to image, art and craft, math puzzles - all created by Natisha herself. Her activities are available in both Hindi and English to cater to a wider audience.
“I hope these Boxes of Joy will keep children occupied during a trying time,” she says.
Since all activities are put together by Natasha, the cost of outsourcing is drastically reduced. The box, including the container, costs Rs 350; she sells each at Rs 500, making a profit of Rs 150 per box.
Going forward, Natisha says profits will reduce. The teen founder will invest in marketing and promotions, and establishing a team as she scales her venture in the coming months.
The way ahead
Natisha was mentored at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) programme where she learnt how to craft a business plan and other essential concepts such as the profit and loss statement and paying attention to finer details (colour scheme of the box, overall packaging, brand name, logo etc).
YEA! also sparked her interest in entrepreneurship and motivated her to take up an online course from Wharton Business School on social entrepreneurship.
“YEA! provided me with fantastic mentors who gave me expert advice, and enabled me to foresee how my product would be received by investors and consumers. It also arranged interactions with successful entrepreneurs, which were very inspiring and motivating. My favourite part is that the mentors still reach out if they see an opportunity for me to scale or improve aspects of my business,” she adds.
YEA! provided Natisha the opportunity to speak at the IIMPact Healthcare Conclave held at Abbott India Headquarters, BKC, Mumbai. She was cheered by the crowd and given a cash award as well. She has also bagged an order to supply 100 boxes at the SRCC hospital and has an order of 50 boxes for NGO Manav Seva Sangh.
“I want to spread awareness through social media as it is the most effective marketing medium in today’s day and age. I am also looking forward to personally interacting with hospitals to get orders,” Nitasha says.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai