When the US reality show ‘Shark Tank’ first aired on Indian television, it had immediate impact; several youngsters immediately were inspired to delve into their entrepreneurial spirits.
Now, it seems like Chennai will finally get a taste of the phenomenon: but only for those between 11 and 18 years.
That’s because US-based Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) finally set foot in Chennai earlier this year, launching a 20-week programme for youngsters looking to become entrepreneurs, that will culminate in a ‘Shark Tank’ panel with real investors ready to help these youngsters flourish.
“The Indian chapter of YEA came to Chennai only this year, after presence in other metros earlier. It’s been a great hit here, and the children who are part of the program are now developing their ideas and prototypes to present to Venture Capitalists (VCs) in March 2019,” said Rasika Ramesh, who is their teacher and Chennai head of YEA. The sessions take place every week at the American International School.
Students initially come in with an idea, which is then developed fully throughout the course of the initiative. “They learn everything about entrepreneurship such as marketing, legal aspects, accounting, finance, public relations, how to make presentations and so on. They also undertake field trips, and meet with mentors (industry experts, CEOs) for mock-Shark Tank sessions. They also receive feedback from our American centre on how to improve themselves. Applications for our 2019 batch are already filling up, which shows Chennai’s entrepreneurial spirit,” Rasika added.
She said that some of the student entrepreneurs are already taking their products to the market. “Mobile apps, baked goods, other services, these are just some of the ideas initiated by the students. The top three winners will also be given awards to help their entrepreneurial dreams come true,” Rasika said.