18 Jun Entrepreneurship: Real-world Learning
Summer at Woodstock’s Entrepreneurship Programme is an immersive experience which covers the processes and approaches startups use to achieve success. Summer at Woodstock Entrepreneurship participant Utsah and Faadumo from Woodstock’s Class of 2021 write about their visit to Evolve, a social enterprise making plantable organic stationary and has a mission to sustainably empower rural India.
The social entrepreneurship course at Woodstock 2019 is an empowering platform for young minds to develop and present their ideas using cutting-edge business techniques applied in the modern corporate world, giving the students unprecedented exposure to real-life crises.
During the first week of the course we had a great opportunity to visit a small village outside Dehradun called Dandi, where we were welcomed by the partners of Evolve — a social enterprise that focuses on using natural resources to make accessible organic products. We had the chance to gain a full experience of village life by staying in the employees’ homes, where we learnt about their daily lives and interesting facts about their customs. We also went on a village walk where we met several people living around and understood that this village is sustainable and independent in its own way, and each individual helps one another—during the harvest season (removing the crops), during a wedding (serving the food), during a death (bringing logs) and so on.
We were given incredible insight into the business’ dynamics and functions, which not only helped us use our knowledge in a practical world, but also inspired us to improve our own business ideas. An important message repeated throughout the trip was, ‘We need to think what our target audience wants rather than what we think they want’, which helped most of the students alter their plans to benefit the customers. We also had a chance to interview the employee’s family and gain a deeper awareness of their day-to-day lives; we used this opportunity to pitch our ideas to the employees of Evolve, along with their families, for some constructive feedback.
The evening was spent helping us students gain a deeper understanding of the problem that we are working to solve, and why the solution will work; this was done by reiterating the question: “Why?” The consecutive repetition of this allowed the teams to pave the way towards their problem statement. We later enjoyed the evening playing games and talking, and ended the day with an appetizing dinner. The next morning, we went bird watching, where we learnt about several fascinating new species of birds; the purpose of this walk was to help us be more aware of our environment, so we can take better care of it.
This trip has helped us develop a deeper understanding of social enterprises and their functions, along with the responsibilities that follow. We have learnt the importance of localization and being empathetic towards people and nature.
Utsah, Summer at Woodstock Entrepreneurship participant and Faadumo, Class of 2021 and Summer at Woodstock intern