The belief that entrepreneurs are not born but made
After my MS research at MIT on creating innovators and entrepreneurs from the ground up, I was so convinced that anyone can be trained to build their skill set and mindset to be an entrepreneur. The process of training of college students from rural schools in India in ideation, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving showed almost immediate impact on their confidence in themselves to face unfamiliar challenges. Out of the first fifty students I tested the process on, some twenty took up entrepreneurship immediately. Many of them failed in their first startup, but that is natural. Quite like learning to ride a bike, you may fall initially. But once they realize that it is learnable the fear melted and that was when the real personal exploration began. If the training can help them cross their thresholds of fear, the chances of them taking the next steps are quite high. I realized that this tool has a need in this world to launch an army of entrepreneurs in communities from the youth. So I started EnCube Labs LLC USA, to spread the process of changing the youth. I was working at the MIT-Tata Center for Design and Technology as a visiting Scholar for half my time helping the grad students convert their thesis in to startups. The plan was to create this social venture to make the community impact. I left my old startup, DegreeC where I was still the chair of the board. Before I could do much in the US I was asked if I could join the startup team that was establishing Asia School of Business in Malaysia with help from MIT Sloan. Of course I took that opportunity. So EnCube Labs did not have much activity.
It was later that my past students created EnCube Labs India to continue the work there since I was fully occupied. The team established the EnCube FabLab in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. They ran several programs for companies like Intel in schools across India. They ran Zero2Maker in Ecosystem Development program for seven schools in Mysuru with support from L&T.
The work that EnCube Labs is doing is quite phenomenal and I truly believe that it some day will reach millions of kids and create an army of entrepreneurs that will help build India.