TALKING WITH TEEN ENTREPRENEURS: GENESIS

Introduction

Everyone is fascinated when they hear the term entrepreneurs or teen entrepreneurs. They think of really big positions like CEOs. But the truth is everyone’s beginnings may not be the kindest. It takes an immense amount of hard work and research and time. And even then there’s only a 1 out 10 chance your business may become a success.

The odds are not in your favor, right? Yet there are millions of teen entrepreneurs out there trying to make their mark on this world. They are trying and striving every day to set themselves apart. They are trying to solve problems you face every day.

A few days ago I attended a virtual camp organized by a team called EmpowerEcon. There I met some amazing individuals who happened to be teen entrepreneurs. So I wanted to take a deeper dive and really explore the entrepreneurs and their thinking mindset. 

Previously on talking with teen entrepreneurs……

In my last article of the series talking with teen entrepreneurs, I interviewed 17-year-old Sarah Jemaa from Tunisia with big dreams to change the way people looked at tourism and digitizing it. 

This time I am interviewing Sagnik Roy, another 17-year-old, hailing from a small town in West Bengal for talking with teen entrepreneurs. His idea Genesis is sure going to make a groundbreaking impact in this fast-moving world. Read on to know more about his idea and what he wants to solve.

Talking with teen entrepreneurs interview

Introduction

Me: please introduce yourself( your name, where you came from, what are your passions/interests, what are you studying)

Sagnik: I am Sagnik Roy. I’m a 17-year-old from a small town here in West Bengal, India. I’m currently a high school student, specifically in grade 12 and I’m pursuing Humanities as my stream. As a child, there have been many things that I’ve tried, but most of them have turned into untouched hobbies now. Like singing, sketching, reading, acting, cooking, making sculptures, etc. And now, if you ask about my passions, it would be filmmaking, teaching, leading, helping people globally, creating groundbreaking changes, and building bridges by connecting with people.

THE PROBLEM

Me: What problem are you trying to solve?

Sagnik: Through the idea of Genesis, I’m trying to solve some of the major global goals by the end of 2030 (or at least help reduce them a bit). Initially, these problems included: lack of proper education, lack of proper healthcare, lack of support for (willing to change) juvenile offenders, bullying, LGBTQIA+ inequalities, lack of clothing rights, poverty/hunger, lack of proper mental health care/support, lack of new talents in the entertainment industry. As of now, however, we’re only sticking with: lack of proper education, bullying, LGBTQIA+ inequalities, lack of mental health care/support, lack of talents in the entertainment industry. We had to scale it down because for starting teenagers, it’s really hard to get a hold of all of these problems by the neck and solve them, without having support both morally/physically, and monetarily. However, we do plan on solving the other problems mentioned, eventually. 

Sustainable Development Goals Professional Certificate

Me: Were you affected by the problem?

Sagnik: My friends who are working in this organization, and I, have luckily never been through the problems mentioned. But we have seen and spoken to a lot of people who have. Be it, family members, or random people, we have seen it happen. And that sparked the light for which we wanted to stick to the cause and make the change happen.

Using examples

For example, here in India, we see a lot of beggars. As a child, I’ve always been taught to help the needy. And that’s what I always did. But giving a beggar two rupees wouldn’t help them as much. Again, just like we need to help bridge the inequality, these beggars also need to understand their worth and stop begging. Instead, they could learn something for themselves and start a business.

My own grandfather has been through a lot of poverty. And being an artist, he has seen the inequalities present in that sector. While building my personal business, I’ve interacted with a lot of people in the entertainment industry, and I’ve personally researched a lot as well, regarding the inequalities that exist there. That’s why I’m passionate about solving this. My other friends, who have worked on bullying, LGBTQIA+ inequalities, global problems, etc, have interacted with people as well and understood the depth of the problems for themselves. 

How the LGBTQ rights movement in India gained momentum - The Hindu

THE SOLUTION from teen entrepreneurs

Me: what is the solution you’re putting forward?

Sagnik: So, Genesis is an organization, which plans on helping people globally, and solving some of the major global goals. As of now, the solution is to bring more awareness to people and tell them to volunteer for the cause. For that, we plan on making a website, social media, collaborating with people, and maybe starting a Podcast.

Networking

We already have connections in places like the USA, UK, Australia, India, UAE, and South Africa. Through these connections, we plan on spreading awareness, hosting real-life events where people show kindness to the homeless people, or just volunteering to teach them a skill for a few days. The people who are in need of help might as well reach out to us with their problems, and we as a team would come up with solutions to solve them.

Genesis might be termed as “an alliance of startups”, wherein, we have one startup related to the problems we’re trying to solve. So if someone reaches out saying “hey, I need help with my tutoring”, that query is then reverted to the startup working in the area of “lack of proper education”, under Genesis. Then, we would reach out to the person, and send them the help that they need.  

Me: why do you think it will work?

Sagnik: I’m not sure if this would work, but I’m confident it’s worth a try. We people have different problems in the real world. And right now, we’re looking for solutions to those. Genesis is an organization, which would provide the solutions to some of the major problems, at affordable and negotiable prices. Again, the solutions that we’re bringing up, are for the people and totally flexible based on the feedback we receive. Therefore, as we interact with more people and actually get to live the problem, we for sure will be able to come up with more solutions.

thinking outside the box.. like teen entrepreneurs

And I think since we’re teenagers working on this, we might as well be able to think out of the box, take more risks, and create sustainable environments for the people that we’re working with, and for the ones with who we’re working.

That being said, it’s also not like we’re solving just one problem. We are an alliance of startups that work on one sector per business. So for example, my personal business, Fire Within Films, looks after the sector of lack of talents in the entertainment industry. That way, we’re not getting involved in a lot of stuff at once and losing focus. Rather we have it more organized and well put together. 

THE AUDIENCE

Me: who is this aimed at?

Sagnik: The solutions that we’re trying to come up with, are mainly aimed at people dealing with the inequalities mentioned. But here’s how we distinguish among these people as well. Like I mentioned, we are currently working on educational inequities, LGBTQIA+ inequalities, lack of talents, bullying, and mental health support.

Helping people

Now based on whoever reaches out to us, we narrow them down to know who wants what kind of help. There might be someone who wants mental health support, and they’re also might be someone who wants educational support. So that’s how we distinguish.

Again, we also distinguish based on their financial status. If someone comes from a more or less stable background, asking for help, we charge them for the services that we provide, whereas if someone comes to us from an unstable financial background, we provide our services to them for free. So it’s basically aimed at people who are dealing with the problems we’re trying to solve. 

Me:  how will this solution benefit people?

Sagnik: This solution, I think, would benefit people, because it aims at solving some of the biggest inequalities in the world right now. And most of the problems in the world are because of inequalities. So once we make sure that we are helping people bridge that gap in society, things will get better for everyone. So that’s what we’re trying to do.

the teenage thought process…

And once people understand that this is how things would get better, they would understand that it will help them. Moreover, as teenagers, we are empathetic towards the problems that we’re solving. Like I mentioned earlier, we are an alliance of startups, so while building our personal startups we have come across people who have made it clear to us that the problems that we’re trying to solve are real-life problems that need to be addressed. This is why we know the depth of the problems and we’re serious about our work.

Yes, we might not have all the resources needed, but we do have the ability to create alternatives to a solution and solve problems for people. So I’m sure this will work out. All we need is some understanding, empathy, and support from people. 

DRAWING INSPIRATION

Me: What inspired you to create this solution?

Sagnik: So this has a little backstory. I was once talking to one of my friends from New Zealand and he has had a rough past. He goes through a lot in his household for being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community and for having mental health issues like OCD and autism. For the same, he had been kicked out of his house multiple times. And during that experience, he came across a lot of homeless people in his area. He, surprisingly, had a pleasant conversation with those people and realized that not everyone who has a rich background, is a good person.

And not everyone whom we see on the roads, in shabby clothes are bad people. He then realized that one day, wants to start his own bakery and while he runs his business, he would save some food for these homeless people to feed them. Now on the other hand, while being a part of School Of Future, an online entrepreneurship academy, I came across someone really talented, who was working on an almost similar idea.

Inspiration from another teen entrepreneur

His idea was to feed people, in exchange for learning a skill. That would help them save their money and start a business for themselves. So I thought, why not combine the two and have a global organization that would help reduce poverty and hunger and would also try to solve some other issues as well (since we already had our personal businesses, we thought of putting them to use as well). So that’s how we started out with this.

And again, the personal conversations that we had with people while coming up with our businesses, really showed us that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, the problems that we’re trying to solve exist everywhere because the world is filled with inequalities, and it’s separated into two sections. One with the rich, where they get richer, and one with the poor, where they get poorer. 

THE FUTURE

Me: where do you see this project in 5 years?

Sagnik: In 5 years, we do hope that we have more connections to work with, monetary support, and more ideas. Let’s have a look at the detailed version of this. So let’s say it’s 2026 (that’s when I graduate college lol). We hope to have Genesis registered as a non-profit organization, from a Government that can actually help us the most. Since we have people from UAE, South Africa, Italy, and India in the foundational group, it’s hard to decide which Government should Genesis be registered by.

What’s next?

But let’s say it’s all registered. We would then want to see the government supporting our programs and local endeavors to help people understand the problems in society and volunteer to help solve them. We also plan on recruiting people from all around the world and give them a job to go and visit people who reach out to us, in-person, know about their problems, and give us updates. They would also be paid for it.

Further, we would like to collaborate with a lot of NGOs from around the world to host global events for helping people become financially independent, connect with influencers to endorse our business, and also connect with other entrepreneurs to scale the business even more. We would also want to have a more planned out organizational structure for Genesis so that we could work with more people in the organization and reach more people. 

Sagnik has been a very kind guest who has provided us with much-needed information in detail about his project.

What are you’re final thoughts on being a teen entrepreneur?

To me, being a teen entrepreneur is not a dream. It’s a passion with responsibilities. The world isn’t Utopia but entrepreneurs actually can make lives easier, therefore, it’s a real job. Most people think that being teen entrepreneurs is nothing but a waste of time, it’s risky, not worth it. But the pleasure that comes with being an entrepreneur at such a young age, is immense. Knowing that you’re not wasting your valuable time by doing meaningless things and actually utilizing your time for coming up with ideas to help people lead a better life, is immaculate. To be very honest, I have always wanted to be someone eminent in the entertainment industry.

But later on, when I got the chance to start my own business, I thought to myself- “Can I do something to merge both the entertainment industry and entrepreneurship-?” I was skeptical. I didn’t know if it would work out, or if people even see the problem that I see in the world. But I said to myself- “yes, and-” and this ‘yes, and approach is why I’m still going on in life.

The skills you learn

Entrepreneurship isn’t all about starting a business. It teaches you empathy, teamwork, individual responsibility, taking accountability, patience, bravery, ideation, imagination, re-shaping the world and its systems, and building a fairer world. And you know that you are a true entrepreneur when you’ve mastered these real-life skills.

And as for what it takes? Well. All it takes is some courage. Some courage to take the first step. Some imagination. Imagine how the world would look without the problem that you see in the world. Some passion and determination. To make sure you’re true to your cause and you stick to it through the hard times as well. And some love and empathy. Towards yourself, your work, and the people in the world who are waiting for the solution to the problem you’re solving. That’s all it really takes. Entrepreneurship teaches you the rest. That’s it. 

IMPORTANT LESSONS TO LEARN FROM TEEN ENTREPRENEURS

After this interview, I learned quite a few important lessons from Sagnik that I think everyone can use. One is, having a clear idea of where you want to see your project in the near future. You need to set a goal or an objective and work hard for it. Sagnik has answered that question beautifully I must say.

The second is, having a story that motivates you to work hard for it never fails you. You should really connect with a problem to be inspired by it. You should be able to empathize and really understand the pain.

Here I’ll attach below Sagnik and his team’s pitch so that you can hear from the teen entrepreneurs themselves.

connect with me and Sagnik on:https://www.linkedin.com/in/shreya-sathish-98a8a9205/ and https://www.linkedin.com/in/sagnik-roy-63b8901b2/

My other articles

You can find my other articles in the series here:

http://www.shreyatalks.in/talking-with-teen-entrepreneurs-menta_llystrong/

http://www.shreyatalks.in/talking-with-teen-entrepreneurs-project-tourisia/

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