As part of the Ryerson Global Innovation Challenge (RGIC), three teams of Ryerson students are taking an experiential learning trip to India to tour the local innovation ecosystem and learn more about their target market.
Here, Mansoor Mehraban (1st year, Accounting and Finance) shares his daily reflections on their time spent in Goa. His team’s project aims to reduce unemployment, increase literacy rates, and increase economic opportunities for the less privileged through an innovative approach to school transportation.
January 20, 2016
My team, School for Everyone, was chosen as a finalist for the Ryerson Global Innovation Challenge. The finalists were awarded with a trip to India to present our ideas to a panel of judges. From our team of two, I decided to travel to India. After more than 24 hours of traveling, I finally arrived to the beautiful state of Goa. My first impression upon arrival was exhilaration – the state felt like paradise.
The weather was a welcome change from the harsh Canadian winter, but 24 hours of travel had taken a toll on our bodies. However, as soon as I saw the trees and absorbed my surroundings my mood completely switched to elation. My mind immediately became focused on the task at hand.
My goal for the trip is to learn as much as I possibly can. This is my first time travelling to another country as a result of winning a competition and I plan to make the most of it. The opportunity to travel and launch an idea globally is not given everyday.
I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I have been given, to launch a project globally.
Will do my best to make the most of it.
January 21, 2016
Today was very interesting. Woke up around 6 am. After taking a few minutes to do my morning ritual, I got dressed and decided to go for a run. I had one urgent task that needed to be done. Getting some sandals. After going to several different stores getting various price ranges from 150 to 950 rupees (approximately $3 to $20 CAD), I finally found some quality slippers for 250 rupees. I had to bargain for 10 minutes before the store keeper gave me a reasonable price.
Later in the day we went to the Centre for Incubation and Business Acceleration (CIBA). There we met Tushar Sawant, Phelly Boges, and Dr. Krishna. Afterward I met with Abhay Bhamaikar of Vibrant Skills Sets Solutions. After speaking to him regarding our idea, he believed that it would not work in India. However, he believed that the idea could possibly work with some modifications, and there was potential in it.
Later in the day we met with another mentor. He advised us on how to pitch our idea to the judges and potential investors. I learned a lot on the first day from many intelligent people.
January 22, 2016
Today was a big day. Met some important people. The first person we sat down with was board member from the board of directors of the Goa State Pollution Control Board. Our meeting was scheduled for 10:30 am and we were allowed into the board room at 2:30 pm. During that time period we headed to the nearest library and continued working. After the meeting with the Pollution Control Board I was directed to speak with Krishna Kulkarni of Vedanta Ltd., who might be interested in funding our project. I went to Vedanta’s office along with Tushar.
Later we met a member of the board of education. We spoke to them regarding our business ideas. After the meeting we went and ate food. Once we arrived back at Calangute, we sat down and shared our thoughts about the day.
Hopefully my sleeping pattern adjusts to the timezones. Tomorrow is the competition!
January 23, 2016
Today was a rollercoaster ride. Had very little sleep in order to prepare for the presentation. The presentation was being held at the Centre of Incubation and Business Acceleration (CIBA). First we were scheduled to meet with an interested investor. I presented him with our idea and where the funds would go. He showed interest and gave me feedback on what he wanted to see from the business for him to invest money.
Later in the day we presented our ideas to a panel of judges. We received individual critiques on our presentations. The judges believed that our ideas were great, but that they are still in the beginning phases.
I think I made a great decision coming to India. I have learnt so many things in relation to entrepreneurship and dealing with people that I would never have if I didn’t have this opportunity. Absorbing all the things that I am learning is a wonderful feeling. Many people are not given this opportunity. I intend to make the most of it and learn as much as possible.
One more day in beautiful Calangute, then we are headed to Bangalore to meet more intelligent people and get their input on our ideas.
Want to learn more about all the innovation taking place at the Ted Rogers School of Management? Follow the hashtag #ThisIsTRSM on Twitter!