*Update: Stay tuned for further information on how you can vote for your favorite business pitch from our students.
Today’s post is written by Jared Nygren who is currently in India conducting business and entrepreneurship training for our students and in the leprosy colonies.
Entrepreneurship surges through my veins. I started innovating early with curb side lemonade stands and door to door candy vending. Growing up I never wanted to be a doctor, fire fighter or an astronaut. I was confident I wanted to be an entrepreneur. As an eight year old, I even attempted writing a book on the 12 steps to become a successful entrepreneur. I was constantly nourished with business facts and principles by my father who is a practitioner and professor of entrepreneurship. I continued cultivating this passion – joining business clubs in middle school, high school, and college. I pitched and placed at business competitions in Idaho and Utah. I was nothing short of a business fanatic.
However, my passion grew to become something greater. At eleven years old I was reading the Book of Mormon for the first time. I came to a scripture in Jacob 2:19 “And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good–to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.” An immediate energy filled my soul and invigorated my mind. I felt a pure sense of purpose and calling. This was confirmed again and again over the years especially during the months I lived in Albania, China, and the Middle East.
Nearly two years ago I was introduced to an organization known as Rising Star. I became completely enthralled with their mission to alleviate those suffering with leprosy. For years I had assumed that leprosy was a plague of the past. I only associated it with ancient biblical stories. I was disturbed to learn that thousands suffer from its crippling effects today.
Over the next two years the stars continued to align as my passion for entrepreneurship became an opportunity at Rising Star. In 2016 my father received a Fulbright scholarship to teach entrepreneurship at Amity University in New Delhi, India. I knew I would be going with him. After several lengthy conversations with Rising Star I was invited to teach entrepreneurship to teenage students from the leprosy colonies. I was ecstatic about the opportunity. Over the next several months I worked with several business professors including my father to develop a two week module to help students develop the mindset of entrepreneurship and basic business skills which included basic training on ideation, validation, presentation and business plan development.
I am writing this post after having taught one half of the module to 18 incredible students at Rising Star. The results and experience have far exceeded my expectations.
After the first two workshops I asked one of the students – what is entrepreneurship? The response – “using business to change the world ” I couldn’t help but smile.
This Friday, March 10th, will be the final pitch competition where students will each present their business ideas to a panel of five judges. We’re also including an additional special judge – you! We will have a social media online poll where you can watch the student’s pitches and vote for your favorite. The winning team will get 2000 rupees which is equivalent to about $30 dollars.
The future is bright for these students at Rising Star. What once was a future prone to poverty and leprosy is now a future prone to potential and hope. I see a light in their eyes – revealing a new generation of change makers. I’m grateful to have been a witness of this magnificent work.