India has always intrigued me. Growing up in a country that is rife with social issues, yet simultaneously produces fantastic economic results every year led me to believe that you always had to choose one or the other. This explains why the concept of a social enterprise has fascinated me ever since I first came across it. An organisation that has delivering social value at its core and a sustainable business model supporting it just seems to make sense. As a business student at Bath, I focused my research on how these twin objectives might be achieved and strongly believed that this was the most effective route to driving constructive change in India.
It should come as no surprise then that I sold out and accepted a job offer at a large consulting firm in London right after graduation. The lure of a cushy job in one of the most attractive cities in the world was too good to pass up on. I convinced myself that it was the right move and that I would be able to change the world by donating some of my spare cash to charity.
To be clear, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in London and consulting. I had a blast living with my friends in a city that (almost) never sleeps and learnt a huge amount in a challenging, fast-paced work environment surrounded by competent, talented people. But there was always something missing. And that feeling was never as stark as the day I got promoted. I just wasn’t able to get myself excited about the prospect of a high-flying career in a suit and tie. So exactly a month later, I handed in my notice and began packing my bags for India.
Returning home without a plan was liberating and terrifying all at once. I decided to dive in head first and spent the next three months meeting people in the social entrepreneurship space, enrolling in design thinking courses and travelling the country to interact with governance leaders.
All of this, and a lot more besides, culminated in conceptualising I For Indya, an organisation focused on design thinking for social change. It is my belief that to drive constructive change in our society, we must empower young people and encourage them to engage with big ideas and confront pressing problems. I want Indians to engage in stimulating experiences that will motivate them to craft loftier goals and develop the skills necessary to catalyse real change in their communities. Our vision is to create real life heroes who have the skills, passion and creative confidence to excel and make a difference in whatever space they choose.
I am excited about driving this movement forward and all the challenges that will inevitably come with it. And I’m also thrilled that I’ve got my social enterprise after all! My hope and belief is that people will join me in this movement towards a more empathetic, empowered, impactful and collaborative society.