Money & Careers

First steps in business

Young Indians work the stalls. Photo: Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A bunch of youngsters, teenagers actually, in a mall! This conjured up a stereotypical image comprising gravity-challenging denims, pockets full of cash and looking for a hangout place, didn't it? With this bunch of Young Indians (Yi) we are not talking stereotypes.

Young Indians is the youth wing of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The youngsters, students of city schools and colleges are part of Yi Nets (which is a network of Yi in schools). Students@BusYiness, an exhibition-cum hands-on-training session for students from selected schools and colleges in the city was held at Oberon Mall recently. There were around 12 teams; each team could have a minimum of four members or a maximum of six.

First-hand feel

“The idea behind the session was to give the youngsters hands-on experience of running a business, a first-hand feel from innovating with products and translating that into a viable business proposition,” says Anuradha Ganesh, executive member Yi and executive CII. The teams were judged on criteria which included, besides product innovation, eco-friendliness, sales achieved, product placement etc. The stalls were placed on each floor of Oberon Mall.

And it has been a learning experience ‘which they have enjoyed a lot', say Miriam Mathai and Treasa Antony, Plus One students of Vidyodaya School. At their stall were handmade bracelets, hair-bands, key-chains and beadwork tablemats and customised handkerchiefs (‘only you have to wait a bit,' while Treasa did the needlework.). The stall was a table with a white tablecloth and getting customers looked tough, “but not impossible”. Done up with posters, designed to attract business.

At a ‘nearby' stall their compatriots were trying to sell ‘chaat' and posters designed by them. Although the stalls evoked curiosity, there were plenty of window shoppers and questions.

One of the participants complained, “They will eat at the food court but will not buy anything from here.” The participant had a point, a little bit of encouragement would go a long way. While there a few of the students had a chance to study customer behaviour.

Gautam Iyer of Delta Study, for instance, had the time to ruminate over how and why sales picked up early in the evening and waned later.

Among the products that were on sale were homemade eats, which included chocolates, rolls, cakes, cutlets etc. The other products included paper clips, costume jewellery, photo frames, magnets, mehendi counters etc.

It was presumptuous to assume that all the participants would belong to the commerce stream, there were quite a few students of the science stream, some driven by ‘good experience' motive and the others by a desire to ‘figure it out' (it being what makes or can make a business tick).

Gautam's friend from Delta Study Athul T.A., who also happens to be the president of the Yi Net in his school, is upbeat about the sales and the experience and wishes that they could ‘canvass' their products more.

Why should a student of the science stream be part of something that is essentially all commerce? “An innovative product sells. And who innovates? It is generally someone with a background in science. Simple,” adds Athul.

Sheeja R., who teaches commerce at Toc-H School had this to say, “An event such as this gives good exposure to the students. They learn the importance of innovating and it encourages them to come up with their own ideas as far as products are concerned, advertising and imparts them knowledge about what it takes to be a good sales person.”

At the end of the day the youngsters wore smiles of satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment of a job well done.


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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 4:24:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/money-and-careers/First-steps-in-business/article13370858.ece

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