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Aditya Jhunjhunwala | The Entrepreneurs of India Magazine March 2023

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

Aditya, the Co-Founder and Co-Lead of the Enterprise India Fellowship (EIF) program, is a social entrepreneur working on helping youth build an entrepreneurial mindset through experiential learning.

He is an engineer and an IIM-A Alum with a diverse plate of experiences like working with a corporate (IBM), starting a business (Adipa), founding and leading tech companies (Rightsource Technologies & Vendia Management Services) and mentoring 800+ young people for over a decade.

The EIF started as a Pune based-program, which is now customizably caters to students across the country. EIF has worked with seventy-four students from eleven cities and fifteen different streams. Jhunjhunwala’s rich coaching experience and deep understanding of what inspires youth ensures a human centered design thinking approach to the program design to make sure it does not become a machine-dependent platform. The EIF Alumni have shared their thoughts on the program and here’s what they have to say, “We learned to work in a team, prioritize tasks, communicate clearly and explore ourselves.”

According to India Skills Report 2022, only 48% of youth are employable, while 75% of industry leaders struggle to find the competencies they need on their teams. Aditya feels that one of the major reasons why college students are not work/life ready (contribute positively to society and have a livelihoods of joy and abundance) is because of lack of self-awareness and less exposure to the ‘real world.’ It is not only the students that are at fault but also at root are risk averse mindsets in parents as well as systemic practices like the college regimentation which just measures academic progress and does not deal with meaningful ways for communication between industries and students. The parents too are among the many foods that feed the problem with a scarce mindset.

The EIF was designed to precisely challenge these issues by creating experiences for students to build an entrepreneurial mindset and develop competencies that are essential for today’s work-job environment by working on real-life projects; such as adaptability, reflectiveness, writing and networking. Aditya and team conducted a research study with eighteen professionals and through studying the accumulated data, they found out ways that youngsters could use to build the desired abilities. Few among the many were activities like co-curriculars, internships and mentoring- essentially highlighting the importance of being involved in activities beyond academics.

To incorporate these competencies in young people, EIF facilitates a number of activities. The core component of the fellowship includes five consulting projects with entrepreneurs & small business owners from different industries, where the students are supported by coaches. Parallel to that students participate in at least twenty practical workshops on topics like finance, marketing, design thinking etc. and reflect on their strengths, interests and learnings through 1:1 coaching calls and facilitated processes.

Over the last decade, the EIF team has had a collective experience of coaching 1250 + young people and 4000+ young people through workshops etc. By advancing the careers of the youth, he contributes to the country and the society. Each Fellowship component is designed based on the understanding of the needs of young people, and EIF keeps upgrading and customizing components of the program based on the needs of the students. This will change is what makes all the difference. “We cannot always buid the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”-Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Going forward the EIF team is exploring how to open up and repackage some of these components to make them accessible for educators and other organizations so that they can be used to support more young people. They are also working on spreading awareness of how youth can build an entrepreneurial mindset and competencies needed to be work/life ready by building a body of work of experiences beyond academics like co-curriculars, volunteering, internships and personal projects.

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