Q&A with Kush Medhora, CEO – DREAM:IN

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You have been in retail as a career for a long time? What draws you to DREAM:IN?

I’ve been a part of the DREAM:IN thought process and the project from its inception in 2011 and I firmly believe it is a good idea. I thought that we should get together to create an organisation that would bring about a change not only in our lives but which will also have a huge impact on the youth of tomorrow.

What exactly is DREAM:IN Next Gen?

The Next Generation, the youth of tomorrow, outperforms previous generations in gaming, entertainment, and use of technology. They challenge old ways and paradigms. They deserve the right to dream, believe in their dreams and realise their dreams.

DREAM:IN Next Gen is a mission to connect with youth between the age of 18 and 30 everywhere and inspire them to wake up. It is a massive platform for their dreams, both online and on-ground.

It is a super incubator that seeks, sifts, selects and shapes youth enterprise ideas into impactful ventures. It will be a global community organisation to nurture and harvest youth dreams and create new economic value.

Why is there this special emphasis on the dreams of youth, Indian and global?

By 2015, there will be three billion people globally under the age of 25 of which 700 million will be Indian youth. This is what we know as the “youth bulge”. These youth will be looking for access to an entrepreneurial ecosystem and anxious about the stigma attached to failure. There may be a lack of role models for them. They may lack management expertise or contacts and mentors. They may face a lack of faith in their abilities and potential and, finally, they may lack capital to achieve their aspirations.

There is a fantastic opportunity hidden here. There have been very few systematic attempts to look at entrepreneurship from a youth perspective. Youth entrepreneurship is considerably lower than adult, a Barclays Bank survey some time ago noted that it costs only half the capital (around GBP 5000) to set up a youth enterprise compared to an adult enterprise (around GBP 11000). In other words, the entrepreneurs of tomorrow can be the youth who are willing to take risks to turn their dreams of success into reality.

What factors do you see as being of help to youth entrepreneurs to realize this dream future?

The youth bulge is coinciding with the rapid and radical shift from a knowledge economy to a creative economy. Individual talent and initiative will be the backbone of future economic development and the youth have a natural disposition for innovation and change which can be capitalised upon. The youth, of course, must become aware that launching successful enterprises will depend on their recognising that they are part of a process of innovation. Finally, the youth can fulfill the upcoming intensive requirements for human capital for creative sectors of the economy.

So the objective of DREAM:IN Next Gen is…….

We are looking to transform youth from being merely prospective consumers of income and employment to become creators of wealth and employment.

And where do you hope to find the youth who have this entrepreneurial mettle?

We are using this project to seek out potential young entrepreneurs who will embark on their entrepreneurial journey with DREAM:IN. On this path, they will grow from being analytically intuitive (pre-entrepreneur) to becoming a source of inspiration despite being rooted (budding entrepreneur) to becoming an enterprise/organisation that innovates to create exponential growth (emerging entrepreneur).

We will be embarking on a massive Dream Journey across South India to connect with at least 25000 youth and capture the dreams of 10,000 youth. These dreams will be shortlisted, shaped and scaped into 100 ventures that will be presented to the investment community.

This DREAM:IN exercise will take place between October 2012 and January 2013. The Dream:In Portal will archive all 10,000 dreams which will be open to the public and investment community and the portal will enable the global community to co-create the future by taking the dreams to reality as ventures.

Can you cite an example of anyone who has responded positively to DREAM:IN and believes in its capability to empower Indian youth?

We recently met Rahul Gandhi and shared DREAM:IN with him. He sees it as having great potential of tapping into the aspirations of Indian youth, apart from their needs. We plan to work closely with him in the near future.