Three successful ventures, two more in the pipeline. Benita Chacko talks to one young entrepreneur who managed to turn his dreams into reality.
Not many have the strength to give wings to their dreams, but those who do reach peaks of success that others are unable to. Shaunak Chafekar, a 19-year-old Mechanical Engineering student from Nashik, has been walking the path of success one step at a time.
At the age of 17, he started Scribido, an online youth magazine, followed by Scribido Campus that provides custom made newspapers for schools. Soon came Hausla, an NGO for disabled children, which has activities all through the year for them and even an annual rally.
The connection between engineering and writing…
Writing was always my passion ever since I was in school. So as soon as I left school I let that side of me blossom.
I became a part of the YO! bureau of the Times of India at 14 and later interned with a few newspapers in Stds XI and XII. I believe that engineering has influenced my style of writing in a lot of ways. For example I have adopted a more methodical style of writing lately, something I never did earlier.
The journey so far…
People don’t really take a 19-year-old very seriously. My constant endeavour has been to prove myself through my ventures. I start ventures as a hobby and eventually build a business around it. The journey has been enriching.
I started Scribido Magazine when I was 17 with a group of six friends in the core-team and none of us had any idea of how to go about it. We built everything from scratch and learned many valuable lessons in the process. In fact those few years have been the best years of my life.
What’s with the name?
We struggled for three weeks to simply find a name! Finally one day while doodling during my engineering drawing lecture, I came up with ‘Scribido’ which actually is a mixture of Scribble+Libido meaning the passion to scribble.
Your marketing strategy…
Scribido is a youth-centric venture and our goal is to connect with the youth. We do not indulge in any big banner advertising. We rely mostly on the word of mouth as that is eventually a marketing medium that gives you loyal customers. Apart from that we cover youth festivals and events.
An NGO so early in life… What could be the inspiration behind it?
During school days I saved my pocket money and my mom and I would donate it to an ashram. My mom, Kalpita Chafekar, has been actively involved in a lot of social work in Mumbai and I believe I have been influenced by that. We try to do as much as we can and help the under-privileged and handicapped children.
Your plans for the future...
Scribido Café is one venture that I am really looking forward to! It still is in the pipeline and is expected to launch by December. Scribido Café will be India’s first ‘real’ youth café having a youth feel to it. I personally don’t like the café’s existing in India as I believe they don’t cater to the youth. The place, the food, the service and the money is not custom designed to suit the youth. We go there because we don’t have an alternative. Our aim is to fill that gap and to give them a café where they don’t just go to sit and chat, but go to experience the feel of it.
Your support system…
My parents and my friends form the greatest support system. My dad, Sachin Chafekar, is an industrialist and I have learned a great deal about business from him. He guides me with his insights whenever I need help. Every entrepreneur goes through many hardships and rejections and it’s very important to have friends who will support one through thick and thin.
Message to other youngsters …
Don't wait to complete your education to start executing your ideas. Start in college when there is relatively less pressure on you. Make your mistakes and most importantly learn from them.
One advice that I’d like to give to fellow entrepreneurs is that don’t kill your venture by calling it a ‘Start up’. Calling your venture a start-up does not make you cool, instead it hikes up expectations from you. Go slow, maintain a low profile and go big on the marketing when the time is right.