Economic empowerment of unemployed youth and disadvantaged members of society, especially women at the grassroots through Entrepreneurship Training, Mentoring, Access to Capital and Handholding."
Harsh and Aruna then decided to start an organization that would help create jobs and job creators or entrepreneurs through entrepreneurship training in India.
Coincidentally, as part of Harvard Business School Alumni outreach program, Harsh had volunteered to help NFTE (Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship) with inner city kids in New York. There he met and heard the Founder and President of NFTE, USA, Steve Mariotti, speak. He was so impressed with Steve and his sincere efforts to help disadvantaged youth and NFTE’s practical curriculum for teaching entrepreneurship that he felt certain, that the NFTE training would help the disadvantaged Indian youth immensely not only to become entrepreneurs, but also, to acquire employability skills. Rather than reinvent the wheel, Harsh and Aruna decided to take the NFTE program to India. Steve readily agreed. Once in India, they adapted the NFTE program for India. What started as a compassionate act to help the unemployed has turned in to a movement for entrepreneurship development for the underprivileged and disadvantaged of our society.
The Kargil war was going on. The army had advertised for 120 positions. There were so many unemployed youth that over one hundred thousand young men showed up for the jobs. A riot broke out, the police opened fire and three young men died – three young men who had come looking for jobs to support their families! It is this incidence that gave birth to the idea of I Create to both of them. Though Harsh and his wife Aruna had lived outside of India (in the U.S.A) for over 30 years, India was not out of their mind and heart.
Why Emphasis on Unemployed Youth and Women at the Grassroots level
One million youth join the job market each month, but there is only a fraction of proper jobs being created. India cannot hope to become a great state if it cannot fulfil the dreams of decent jobs for the young who have aspirations and dreams in the new India.
We have also focused on women at the grassroots level for two reasons. In Indian society, especially at the grassroots level, they are the least empowered and suffer the most. Secondly, when you empower a women, you empower their entire future generations.
Since the beginning of the century, as the work of I Create became known across the country, like minded people joined the cause and supported centers in different parts of the country. It started with one center in the North in Jaipur at the turn of the century.
I Create India has its National Academy at Bengaluru. It's most important role is to continuously update the program and ensure quality. It also coordinates the activities of different centers and partners and provides them with technical support in Entrepreneurship Development.
Over the years it has added centers in the West in Gujarat – Vadodara and IIT Gandhinagar,the South in Karnataka -Bengaluru and Hubballi and in Goa. More individuals and organizations are joining the movement. As Gandhiji said. "If you have a good cause, people pop up from the pavement to join you."
MAGIC fund for start ups:
Access to finance is still one of the biggest hurdles for small start ups who have no collateral and need to finance their enterprise without bureaucratic delays. I Create has created a Seed Capital Fund for such start ups.
Realizing the importance of easy, quick and hassle free access to capital for deserving individuals to start their enterprise, and looking at the shortcomings in this area, I Create has established a seed capital assistance fund, known as MAGIC (Mentor and Angel Group of I Create) Fund. This is a revolving fund sourced through donations and is not a Micro-Finance Scheme. The Fund started operations by end of 2014.
Scaling Through Institutional Partnerships
Scaling through partnership with institutions and organizations of State and National level and institutionalizing the Entrepreneurship Development Process through such large organizations is the chosen path by I Create to create the impact it needs to see in the country through Creating Job Creators.
For this, I Create India has now active partnership with and executed MoUs with many National and State level government and private organizations.