IDIOM & Dream:IN brings you Bangalore’s newest Arts & Community Center, theBackyard. TheBackyard will host events to promote culture, arts, and a social local community gathering. Lots of people go to malls, movies, shops, pubs, restaurants, but how many people actually come together socially, and appreciate the arts? That’s what theBackyard will do, reconnect the community through self-expression and creativity. Artists, Singers, Painters, Comedians, Thespians, Musicians, Poets, Speakers, and more!
theBackyard will also have a cafe that serves light food, snacks, & drinks.
CASTING CALL: We are currently looking for any type of performers that are interested in performing at theBackyard. If you or anyone you know who would like to perform at theBackyard, email us at email@example.com
In a recent article for Entrepreneur.com, Steve Vanderveen wrote an interesting piece on how college students can continue on their entrepreneurship journey even after they graduate from college. The article titled “3 Ways to Keep College Entrepreneurs’ Dreams Alive, Even After Graduation” has a lot of relevance to Indian college students as well. From across the country young people with big dreams start working on ideas and prototypes in college, but give it up in search of a good job. There are several reasons for this, be it the social expectations, stability of employment or even the risks involved in becoming a start-up.
As Steve points on in his article, the jump from college to becoming a full time entrepreneur is a big one. It means leaving behind a structured environment and diving into a world of uncertainty and innumerable risks. But there is hope on the other end. Our journey across several colleges in India has made us realise that while “getting a job” is still the biggest expectation that students have from college, there are those who are taking chances. However, taking these chances is not an easy task. Budding entrepreneurs need to find ways to continue working on their dream and keep the passion alive. According to Steve, there are 3 ways that young people can continue dreaming about their start up. 1) Connecting to mentors 2) Minimizing risks and bootstarpping and 3) keeping the dream alive. You can read more about these points in the article below.
3 Ways to Keep College Entrepreneurs’ Dreams Alive, Even After Graduation- Steve Vanderveen
Steve VanderVeen is a professor of management and director of the Center for Faithful Leadership at Hope College in Holland, Mich.Our nation’s college students are today’s dreamers. Why? Because they can. Schools — especially residential colleges — are safe zones. That’s a good thing. In such protected, nurturing environments, students discover their passion and develop their gifts. This is true for entrepreneurial students as well: colleges now offer them opportunities to explore and validate their ideas. In addition to traditional learning, students can now experience how innovation becomes a business. This “road less traveled” takes many unexpected twists and turns. Initial ideas fail. Product concepts and prototypes designed for one market begin to take hold in another. Personal income is deferred. Failure is inevitable. But there’s one thing that can end the dream: the wake-up call of graduation. When students graduate, the nurturing environment disappears and economic and social pressures, as well as fear of failure, pull them away from their ideas. How do we help them keep the dream alive? 1. Connect with mentors. One of the best things we can do to help entrepreneurs keep the dream alive is to help them network and cultivate mentors long before graduation approaches. Colleges and universities can do this well by bringing those not-so-recent alums, recent alums and current students who are pursuing the dream together with younger entrepreneurial students. Entrepreneurship is a lonely calling. Experiential entrepreneurial education is valuable. But encouragement and wisdom from role models, especially near peers, is priceless. 2. Minimize risks and bootstrap. Entrepreneurs, especially younger ones, cannot afford to wildly spend time and money on things they shouldn’t be. They can reduce the cost of the resources they need by being resourceful and by constantly minimizing their risks. The former we call “bootstrapping” and the latter we call “starting lean.” The essence of being resourceful is finding people who share the entrepreneur’s vision and passion. The essence of starting lean is conducting experiments to validate customer demand, the business model, technical feasibility and scalability. I find Ash Maurya’s Running Lean one of the best investments entrepreneurs can make because the book outlines a methodology for building a business before running out of resources. 3. Stay focused on the dream. Parents, peers and significant others tend to encourage financial security. Thus, as graduation approaches, many entrepreneurial students wake up from the dream and seek a more predictable way of life than what entrepreneurship offers. But they shouldn’t quit. There are resources out there to help new entrepreneurs bootstrap their startups. An important lesson to learn is that ideas are a “dime a dozen.” In contrast, ideas of value are those that have been validated by the market. The best validation is a customer order. Short of customer orders, there is customer interest in prototypes, “landing pages,” “minimum viable product” concepts, and the like. The point is this: cash is available via business incubators and competitions given a validated idea. Here’s the rub: students have more time and flexibility to take advantage of those opportunities than do graduates trying to build a career. Entrepreneurial graduates can get a job with Company XYZ, but they can also plan ahead to keep the dream alive while in college by sharing it with the next cohort of entrepreneurial students. A portion of something is better than all of nothing. Society tells entrepreneurial students to “get a job.” But society also needs dreamers who create businesses rather than work for them. Graduation doesn’t have to be a fork in the road.
Between 20th and 23rd March, Bangalore played host to Construkt Festival organized by Unstoppable.in and TIE. The festival was designed to bring together people from various backgrounds to create new opportunities and share their expertise. The festival was especially for entrepreneurs and creators from the tech, design, culinary and social communities.
As a part of the festival we participated in the ‘Crawl‘, which was a chance for us to open our doors and invite people to both DREAM:In and Idiom. The crawl was held on March 20th between 5 and 6 PM. Participants were introduced to Idiom and DREAM:IN by Sonia, Pooja and Liz. After a short discussion on the definition of design, the participants took part in an exercise using a design thinking tool in a live example.
The session saw the participants engage in conversations with our team and even hang their dreams on the Dream Tree.
On 22nd and 23rd, the Construkt Festival was held at Jayamahal Palace. DREAM:IN had a stall at the venue which featured the Dream tree. We had many inquiries and several dreams were captured by our DreamCatchers. Sonia, our founder was a part of a panel on Sunday which showcased some great examples of how design is being used in various areas like retail, products, sustainability and especially the social space.
The festival had a great bunch of people in attendance and we even managed to meet Aruj, one of our Dreamers who had set up a food stall at the venue.
To find out more about the festival you can log on here: http://construkt.me/
This past weekend we were inspired and humbled as we visited KCT in Coimbatore and Samathur Arasu Vanavarayar Governement School in Samathur, near Pollachi.
Our journey began in the village of Samathur where we conducted a small workshop to inspire students as young at 11 to start thinking about entrepreneurship.
With the help of some great KCT and MCET volunteers we were welcomed warmly by the students and staff alike. The energy and laughter of the students vibrated through the old house of the Vanavarayar family, which carries its own history and is aptly named ‘Small Palace’.
Courtyard of the small palace
Within this 300 year old house around 85 students shared their dreams, which were big, bold and impactful. Our team set the context of entrepreneurship with help from Vishwanathan Sahasranamam, general manager of CIBI (Coimbatore Innovation and business incubator) at KCT. Following this, a few entrepreneurs from around the area shared stories about their business, their journey and were rewarded with some stellar questions by the students.
Questions asked had a lot of variety, from queries about how to set up a business, dealing with competition, employment and sustainability. Students wanted to know details about how to manufacture products, maintain safety requirements and even how to overcome problems and find opportunities.
Questions from a young girl to the entrepreneurs
The entrepreneurs present were Shivakumar, an ITI electrician, Shaktivel, coconut trader from Samathur, Arul an automobile businessman from Devannur, Shanmuga Sundaram, a coir businessman from Pollachi and Doreswamy from Prithviraj food industries.
All of these entrepreneurs were very gracious with their time and their answers, explaining various aspects of a business to the students.
The students were also introduced to the Tumkur project by Mallik, who heads DREAM:IN Tumkur. The students were shown the products and were taken through the journey of how agriculturists became agripreneurs in Tumkur.
After a brief introduction to DreamCatching, the students got the opportunity to share their dreams. Seetha, DNL Choudhary, Anirudh and Kiran, our DreamCatchers from NICC did a great job in interviewing and extracting the dreams of these young Indians.
Group picture taken at the school
The day ended with a hilarious attempt at taking a group photo which took upto 30 minutes to arrange. We bade goodbye to the students with a fresh perspective on the potential of young India and headed back to the KCT campus. The bus ride back was great fun as our team got to see the camaraderie and commitment by the KCT volunteers.
KCT Leed volunteers
On day two, we conducted a small session on entrepreneurship for Engineering students from KCT. They were taken through DREAM:IN and the importance of becoming an entrepreneur. They were also briefed on how they could start their entrepreneurial journey with us.
Session at KCT
The students who attended the workshop shared their dreams with our DreamCatchers and we found their dreams very inspiring!
Our visit to KCT officially ended here. But, this was just a start to the relationship we have to look forward to with the college. We made some great friends, met inspiring people and had a glimpse into the minds of young students. The hospitality shown by KCT volunteers was unparallel as was their enthusiasm. Not only did we have great interactions during the workshop and the session, but we also managed to share some light moments at Namma Café, their students owned campus café.
DreamCatching in progress
Overall, this was a promising experience for us. Vishwanathan who came along and facilitated these events had similar thoughts. He believes that there was a brilliant level of energy, inquisitiveness and friendliness in the students. He was especially impressed by the ripple effect the DreamCatching led to, with even the KCT volunteers wondering aloud about their own Dreams.
These are all good indicators which point to the power of harvesting dreams. We look forward to watching the dreams and working with these young and bright minds!
Kavita Parmar is the founder of the IOWEYOU Project which produces unique, handmade apparel out of fabrics handwoven in India. Through this project buyers are able to trace the entire production process right from the weavers who weave the fabric.
This project is especially great because it brings back the focus to the people who make fabrics and helps consumers make conscious decisions about what they buy and how they use it.
Since its conception, the IOU Project has won a series of awards and been recognized globally. It has won the 2012 Luxury Briefing Award for Innovation of the Year in London, 2012 SOURCE Awards by Ethical Fashion Forum, Sustainable Luxury Award Latin America and many more. The project was chosen to be a part of the 2013 Unreasonable at Sea program. Kavita has also spoken at various events including TED Talks.
Kavita was kind enough to take some time out and answer a few questions for us.
Q1. Kavita can you tell us a little bit about yourself and about the IOU Project?
I am a self taught fashion designer and entrepreneur having had the fortune to work from a very young age in three continents with a wide range of people in our industry from major corporations to small artisanal makers. This project grew out of my frustration as a designer with the current fashion system that had turned into a RACE TO THE BOTTOM , to make things faster and cheaper. It did not protect excellent craftsmanship or artisanship nor did it make better quality. The idea to nurture BIG DESIGN- not just making things beautiful on the surface but truly designing the eco system around their production to make it sustainable not only for the planet but for the people involved, was at the heart of our search.
Fabric woven in India
So, in 2010 we started working on the idea as a small experiment to create a collection that was made keeping in mind the needs of the artisans, us the designers and of course the consumer. How could we be sustainable and at the same time create a unique product that would give the client something really well crafted. Give them an engaging human experience which helps decommoditize product.
Q2. Can you take us through the journey from when the weavers work to the finished product?
The first project was to create a collection working with the Madras weavers. There is billions of dollars worth of Madras checks sold on the planet, most of these fabrics comes from China or Bangladesh, a cheap machine made copy of the Traditional Madras patterns. Brands can even call their shirts Madras without them having really been made with Madras cotton.
So, to revindicate their authentic provenance we decided to work with the real Madras weavers who produce hundreds of thousands of meters of this fabric on their hand looms even today. We worked with some of the oldest cooperatives in the area, filmed and interviewed each and every one of the 243 selected Master weavers and added them to our platform.
We buy the traditional hand loom Madras fabrics from them and then take the fabric to Europe to heritage artisanal producers who with their expertise, turn this humble piece of fabric into beautiful contemporary pieces, shirts, jackets, pants etc.
Finished products featured on the website
The idea was to use the best craftsman to give a high quality product to the consumer directly online on our website www.iouproject.com at a reasonable competitive price point.
We have built a traceability tool ONLINE with a corresponding system off line to ensure that each artisan leaves their identity code along the process and the final piece carries the UNIQUE IOU Code which unlocks the human story behind that particular piece. In fact as a customer you can upload your picture to complete that prosperity chain so that the artisans can see who bought their work.
The idea was to humanize products. Once you see who your particular artisan is and the craft behind the process, we believe your relationship with the product changes. it becomes more emotional and less disposable.
Weaving done in India
Meet the Weaver! The Final Product
Q3. What have been the biggest surprises with this project?
Our focus when we built the platform was to connect the consumer with the artisan but it was gratifying to see the PRIDE that the artisan felt in his own work once he was allowed authorship to it. Once they saw that their face was next to the product and that the customer could get in touch with them , the quality of the product immediately became shared responsibility, they wanted to make the best product possible. We have had a couple of cases where customers have actually travelled to visit their artisan in India. Here is a Blog post by one such customer from the UK.
This human connection and this sense of empowerment on both sides has been a hugely gratifying surprise. Knowing the people behind the product or putting a face to the final customer makes people on both sides act responsibly in how they consume and how they produce.
Q4. From your experience what impact has your project been able to create?
Awareness of the human beings behind the products we consume was our main focus in this first experiment and I believe we have definitely achieved that. The IOU Project has been written about in more than 500,000 blogs world wide, we have received numerous awards and a lot of industry recognition which clearly indicates that this is an idea whose time is here.
We believe that when business is carried out with true transparency and authenticity it can elicit extraordinary reactions and foster a shared sense of responsibility from its customers, partners and suppliers towards each other and the environment.
Q5. Do you have any advice for budding entrepreneurs?
Creating a new business is not an easy road and no amount of planning will take away the challenges and hardships you are bound to face along the journey. So my one advice is to do something that you truly love. That will give you the grit and passion to persevere. Also, the problems that we face as humanity today are not trivial and there are no easy solutions so being brave, taking individual responsibility and building businesses that take a shot at solving these problems is essential.
Q6. What is your dream for yourself and for the iouproject?
We have just started on this very exciting journey, the dream is to add many artisan communities and excellent makers from all over to the platform and hopefully create a working Wikipedia of artisan communities and great craftsman around the globe to help preserve these rich traditions. Of course personally to get a chance to make real change happen and to be able to tell my children a good story about this incredible journey is good enough reward.
To find out more about the IOU Project log on to http://iouproject.com/
Watch a video that introduces their work and vision :
On 10th February our team conducted a DreamCatching workshop at the Kumaraguru College of Technology (KCT), Business School in Coimbatore. KCT is a leading college with great infrastructure for its students. This business school is always busy with a variety of talks, conferences and workshops aimed at adding value to the management students.
We had visited the college last year and gotten a great response from them. A few of the students from KCT were even invited to our Dream Camps. This time, joining the DreamCatching session were students from Karuniya University, Bishop Appaswamy, Karpagam University and RVS College.
Around 132 students were taken through the methodology of DreamCatching after being introduced to the world of entrepreneurship and its importance in relation to the youth of India. The students captured dreams during the workshop and were given feedback and tips on how best capture an entrepreneurial idea.
After the workshop our team was introduced to a group of students who had started clubs and small businesses at KCT. Several interesting clubs and student initiatives are present at KCT which are supported by the college. These students have a great range of innovative ideas and we look forward to their dreams.
If you or anyone you know is currently around Coimbatore and has an entrepreneurial idea, message us on facebook and we will connect you to one of the Dreamcatchers to capture your dream :
You can see more pictures from the workshop here: