Rahul Kanojia is an IT engineer from Mumbai University. He is also an Entrepreneur, Educationist, Speaker, Freelance programmer and a Web developer. Lastly, he is the Youth General Secretary at International Humans Right Council (Mumbai area). In this interview he shares a bit more into Diplomas, a project with which he plans to completely change the educational landscape in India.
City where you’re from: Mumbai,India
Hobbies: BallRoom Dancing – Salsa, Jive, Waltz
Twitter: @iRahulKanojia @diplomads
Hey Rahul, great to have you. Tell us what you’re working on!
Diplomads is trying to enhance complete education experience of students. We are an education services startup that conducts workshops, educational seminars, industrial visits for students. We try to identify new technologies or concepts that can add value to students’ lives and create a complete package. Currently, we are also focusing on special programs promoting Entrepreneurship, Women’s Development Activities and Free and Open Source technologies (FOSS).We have been actively contributing to the mumbai-based communities like Google Developers Group, Facebook Developers Circle, Mozilla.
Apart from this, I have started an another venture of T-Shirt printing, which is running very good and I’m planning over a food startup as well.
What triggered your idea?
Every educational institute want to make students well verse with the latest the technologies prevalent in the industry, and so do the students also. The problem is, as we know, that there are newer technologies emerging every day, and these technologies tend to make the former obsolete. The institutes find it hard to keep up with them as they also have to tend to various administrative tasks, and at times are bound with some formal procedures. I thought, what if I could create a solution that these institutes could outsource, and thus the idea of Diplomads was conceived. Over time, I added more services to the package which I personally felt that were needed.
How is your service different and unique? What’s the vision?
I won’t say that we are the first ones to start such a service, but it is our approach that sets us apart. Quality is our utmost priority, there has been an instance where we had humbly declined a deal on the grounds that it was not possible to meet our quality standards. Our focus is on the personal touch.”We believe in Mentoring and not just teaching” is our culture and we are proud of it. Students feel more comfortable with us because they find our young team quite approachable and relatable. I believe we could serve with such passion only because , for us this is not a business but a noble cause to empower students by providing the right resources at one of the most crucial time in their career so that they can realize their true potential.
Who are your customers? How do you find them?
As I have said earlier, our customers are the educational institutes. Meanwhile the ‘actual consumers’ of our services are students. we generally set up an appointment with the authorities and decision makers of the institutes and present our proposals. Word-of-mouth is quite significant in our business. There have been cases where students have suggested our name for the services, to their institutes.There were also times when we were approached by educational institutes from around the nation for our services because they wanted to conduct something similar to what we have done before.
Give the readers the best entrepreneurship advice you have.?
During your entrepreneurial journey, make conscious efforts for learning,personal growth and acquiring new skills. It is because not everyone hits the bullseye in their first try,and failures do happen. And when they do , you won’t feel like you are back to ground zero or feel like you have wasted so much time.Because you will be sure that you have increased your competency for your future ventures.N ever underestimate the power of networking among entrepreneurs. Also, learn to be independent , because it’s a bumpy ride ahead. People may come come and go , you must still be able to run the show.
Where have you learned all this?
Most of the things are available for free to learn through various websites just google it, you will find lot of tutorials. I’ll recommend udacity for learning.
What should an entrepreneur focus on?
An entrepreneur should always focus on building product or service based on recurring revenue model, so that the business can sustain for longer time. Cashflow is the key to run successful business.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
My country India is well known for its huge IT talent pool throughout the world, but not everybody would talk about the dark history behind it. We are a nation where people who could have become excellent professionals in various fields, end up becoming average engineers. Those who have great potential for technical expertise and innovation, struggle to find the right resources and guidance.There is a reluctance in exploring options and it is a social norm to go for ‘safer options’ and get settled soon in life.To our demise, it has become a cultural thing. I have made my mission to bring about a cultural shift in how learning is done in India.The idea is to promote purpose-driven learning, to make informed career choices, and to make students competent and confident in making their passion, their profession. My entrepreneurial venture proves to be a perfect mean to accomplish my goal.
Who were your biggest influences? Was there a defining moment in your life?
During my engineering College days, I was an average student. Even though I was in IT field, I would avoid coding, meanwhile I would take up any management related opportunities that would come up. I started my entrepreneurial journey with some of my friends, it was all good in the beginning until the differences in the visions started showing up. I had a co-founder conflict, and we were shut for almost an year. I was having sleepless nights thinking about how to make things work out again. That was the defining moment in my life- I had to take control of everything, I had got my purpose, had learned skills required to get the business running- website development, graphic designing, video editing, digital marketing among others.
Where do you see yourself and your product in a couple years?
In a couple of years , I would like to develop myself as a exceptional student counselor. I see Diplomads emerging as one of the pioneers of education revolution in India , and be part of some public-private partnership skill development programs in collaboration with the Indian Government .
Favorite quotes by Rahul:
“Dream is not the thing you see in sleep but is that thing that doesn’t let you sleep.”- A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.” – Elon Musk.
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