RISE FOR INDIA
Education

A class 8 student has used a Lego toy to create his own company. A lesson for every Indian student.

Silicon Valley is the place to be, if you want to be an entrepreneur. And guess who is making the headlines these days in the state of California; it’s our own boy, Shubham Banerjee. The 13 year old kid is the latest edition to the 50 billion dollar entrepreneurial industry which exists in California.

Yet to give his 8th grade final exams, Shubham has started his own company named, Braigo Labs. Using a robotics kit by Lego, he has managed to create a machine which can print Braille. The best part about this machine is that it’s very cost effective. The blind readers currently have to pay over $2000 to get a Braille printer, and Shubham is expecting to bring down the cost to around $350. According to reports by WHO, there are around 285 million visually impaired people around the world and 90% of them are in developing countries. This low cost Braille printer is definitely going to be of big help to all of them.

This brilliant revelation by the 13 year old boy is a story which is bound to inspire a large number of budding minds in our country. Though currently India is contributing only 3% to the global entrepreneur community, it is more likely to shoot up in the coming few years.

It is not that India is devoid of talent, the area in which we lack is, providing a more supporting and encouraging environment. The fact that we produce more than 10 lakh engineers every year is not a joke, there is bound to be some potential in them. Even if I agree with the fact that every student studying in schools and colleges don’t have the same potential, at least 1% of them would be having the calibre to create something above ordinary if not completely extra ordinary.

It is this 1% which needs to be groomed properly. If you take an example of this case only, the moment his parents saw some credibility in the project, they reached out to him for support. His dad invested $35,000 in the company Braigo Labs. This is the kind of support which students need in our country.

Not only in terms of finance, the approach towards learning is also something which needs to be modified. Shubham created the printer for a science fair project in school where as in India; much emphasis is being given on the theoretical aspect of the subject rather than the practical use of it. The education system in USA is such that, innovation automatically becomes the prime focus of the student which is just not the case here.

The next big problem which we face here, is the starting point. What Shubham did in his school life, many won’t be able to do in their entire life. He is only 13 years old and he has a company to his name, though he is not the CEO, his mother has taken that post as he is too young for that responsibility. If you compare the average starting age of Indians working on a start-up and Americans working on a start-up, there is a huge difference between the two.  In America it ranges in the mid twenties where as in India it is 36.

This reflects how the risk taking ability is much lesser in Indians. After getting out of college, the first priority becomes future security which ultimately leads to the end of the creative part of mind. This attitude needs to change if we want to work on new ideas with full dedication.

There is so much we can learn from the story of Shubham, he is also Indian, and if he can do it then so can we. Though there is a difference in the amount of resources which he has and what an Indian student probably has, but if the mind starts working in a positive way, this gap can be easily bridged.

Shubham has become the youngest entrepreneur to a get a venture capital. Intel Corp. has invested in his company. The amount is not being disclosed. This is an amazing feat which he has reached at such a young age and the fact that he is from Indian origin, is making every Indian proud.

Shubham has not just made the life a little easier for the blind people but his success story is also inspiring millions in India, giving them the push to reach their goal in spite of the adversities standing in the way.

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