Education is considered one of the most significant solutions to poverty, and Piyush Mangukiya, Founder of EducateNCare, sees the importance in education as a tool for positive social change.
Here, SocialBusiness.org interviewed Piyush Mangukiya on how his social business came about, global inequalities and the challenges he has had to face as an entrepreneur.
Four Questions with Piyush Mangukiya
1. How did the idea for the business model come about?
There is a very interesting story behind how EducateNCare was founded. During my spring break of junior year in college, I visited a high school in rural Western India. While I was sitting with the principal of that school, I happened to meet the father of a girl who was a recent honor graduate of the high school. While he walked in the office, the principal of the school just whispered to me about the girl and how proud her dad would be. We expected that the girl’s father would talk to us about how hard working his daughter was and that how proud he felt today. But, as soon as he walked in the office, we knew something was not right from the grim face of his. He literally started crying in front of me and the principal because he did not have $10 (which is Rupees 500 in India) which was the tuition for college for the whole year. On further inquiry I would learn that he worked as a laborer and he desperately wanted his girl child to go to college and being in a small village it was a brave decision because you don’t see girls going to college in their community.
This is when I realized that $10 was not huge amount for someone in the US but it made a big difference in the lives of students in underprivileged communities. And this incident completely changed the way we wanted to frame our ed-tech start-up. We didn’t want to reply on donations and help those children receive education but rather have a sustainable business model that can help support students in underprivileged areas and at the time provide quality educational products to students in the United States.
2. How did you decide to join this sector?
While growing up, I had seen firsthand how difficult it was for some students to gain education. Many of these children had the potential but not the needed resources to go to school. While in India, I had seen school-aged children working as laborers to help their parents earn nominal income so that they can feed themselves. I was terrible to see this because in one part of the world we see children using modern tech tools like iPods, smartphones and computers, while on the other hand children don’t even basic educational necessities like books and pencils. This big disparity among students in different parts of the world made me to start EducateNCare and that’s how we accepted the slogan, “We believe good education should be a right -– not a privilege."
3. How do you get your inspiration?
The more stories we hear about children facing hardships to get a basic education the more inspired we are to make a difference. Our team recently came across an eight-year-old girl in suburban Mumbai who aces all of her tests in school and answers every oral question asked in the class about the content learned the earlier day. But, somehow she doesn’t do her homework. In spite of her teachers trying hard to convince her to do her homework, she just won’t do it. And then one day, one of the teachers followed her to find what she was doing after school. On reaching home, she would get ready to work in a small restaurant and wash dishes which then fetches her nearly $0.80. By the time she returns home its late night and so had little to no time left to do homework. Little kids like her inspire us to do more for them and the only way we could help such children is if we provide quality online tutoring to students in the US. The revenue generated from the tutoring sessions completed by students in the US help us fund the education of underprivileged children and hence spur a truly Global Education Movement.
On the other hand, we are also inspired by the students whom we provide online tutoring. With a nearly 90% retention rate, our online tutoring is widely accepted by students and parents. It feels good to have played a part in increasing the grades and academic level of 90% of students who attended our online tutoring sessions. Without these students and parents, we would not have been able to make such a big difference.
4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
Yes, being an entrepreneur is hectic but we have to be creative with the way we do business as well. Small breaks have always helped me to reset myself. So, I try to be as much away from my emails as possible on the weekends. These two-day breaks help me to refresh myself by watching Bollywood movies, cricket and listening to music.