When class 12 student Tulika Gupta learned that several of her relatives, including her mother, were using tissue instead of sanitary napkins, she decided to build a career around the issue of menstrual hygiene. Gupta and seven of her classmates said it was a “dream come true” when they had the opportunity to develop a business model to provide low-cost sanitary napkins to women in marginalized communities.
“We plan to source the pads from a non-governmental organization at lower rates and offer them to women in marginalized communities with minimal profit. The idea is to sensitize women and young girls so that they switch to sanitary pads and also learn how to use them,” said Gupta, who is studying at Janki Devi Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Mayur Vihar Phase 1.
Gupta’s business idea came after the Delhi government announced the Business Blasters scheme under the Entrepreneurship Scheme (EMC) last month. Under this, students in grades 11 and 12 are to receive start-up capital of ₹2,000 per student to develop a for-profit business idea or to create a social impact in their communities.
Gupta, who is part of the team called “silence breakers”, also plans to organize plays and street rallies, and make posters to raise awareness of menstrual hygiene in low-income neighborhoods such as than Chilla Khadar in East Delhi.
His band mate Palak plans to use his start-up capital to develop a non-profit education camp to educate students and their parents about government welfare programs.
“Not everyone knows how to take advantage of these diets. I love working with children and so I decided to set up educational camps for children and their parents which could work as a one-stop-shop that conveys relevant information through games and competitions,” he said. she declared.
Hundreds of class 11 and 12 students from Delhi’s public schools are currently engaged in developing such projects with the help of their EMC teachers and business coaches. These coaches can be students continuing their studies in business, or even entrepreneurs/alumni who volunteer to help children with their ideas.
The students are expected to receive seed capital by next week and will begin their market research within the next few days. All projects must be completed by November 15.
Students can also pool their money by collaborating on a project. Following a presentation of the project, the peer review model allows their peers to give their comments on the feasibility of the project.
On Monday, several such student groups pitched their ideas to their classmates, including Shivya Antwadia, another class 12 student at the school, who is working on a business model to market ‘water purification plants’. ‘air’ before winter pollution in Delhi.
“The product was designed with the environmental concerns of our times in mind. We will recycle broken plastic cups and bottles for plants and mount them on circular discs with a rotating motor underneath. We have also worked on a drip irrigation system so that our consumers only need to flip a switch and not worry about taking care of the plants. There is a huge market for such plants,” she said.
When asked by classmates why anyone would buy plants from them instead of the market, Antwadia said, “The USP of our product would be the decorative elements that we will add. We also plan to use decorative lights so people can put these pots in their living room. The five-member group will initially invest 50% of its seed capital and then expand the project based on customer responses.
Another group – Cookie Monsters – will work to develop healthier alternatives to cookies with their motto “healthy with taste”. Team leader Jayati Chaudhary said they would focus on baking their cookies with macronutrients after extensive market research, conducted through various bakeries in their neighborhood.
“In addition to fruit cookies, we will be developing superhero and cartoon character molds to meet the needs of young consumers. Our mothers also offered to help us with our projects. However, my father was initially skeptical about to our involvement in this project when our board exams are only a month away,” said Chaudhary, who is due to report for her pre-boarding exams later this month.
Several students said their parents were worried that the Delhi government would announce the Business Blasters program just two months before their board exams. This year, the CBSE has introduced a two-term exam with a revised model paper for students in grades 10 and 12 which is due to start in November.
Ajay Veer Yadav, general secretary of the government school teachers’ association (GSTA), also criticized the decision to implement the project at the last minute.
“Covid-19 has already affected prices. On top of that, there are several initiatives, including this Business Blasters program, that extend beyond the school. Teachers should be allowed to hold remedial lessons and prepare students for the board’s new exam model involving objective-type questions instead of engaging in these initiatives,” he said.
However, Ashok Tiwari, a mentor teacher engaged in EMC courses, said that these courses allow students to relax. “There was no other niche in the academic cycle to implement this. But the kids are excited about the project because they don’t have to study all the time. This initiative would allow them to take a break from their studies and all commitments with the project will end on November 15.
EMC coordinator Nivedita Kohli, who teaches science at Mayur Vihar School to students in grades 9 and 10, also said EMC classes help students connect with their peers. “Social-emotional learning had been impacted by the prolonged school closures. With these activities, students become enthusiastic and more focused, which also helps them in their studies. »