When was the first time that you heard the word entrepreneur? A friend asked me this question a few days ago. I pondered. I must have surely been over 14. Also, I remembered how I had a hard time figuring out the spelling back in grade XI and learning the right way to pronounce the word. Both of us, being in our mid-20s, laughed about it. Two days down the line, there I was, waiting on a sofa, right next to a brightly decorated Christmas tree, in the reception of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai. The college and Entrepreneur Cafe, a global movement for entrepreneurs to meet and discuss ideas, where hosting their fourth Annual Global Convention. The 24-hour-long event had a panel for entrepreneurs below 16. A quick look at the profiles of the panelists and I was surprised. They were 14, 13 and 10 respectively and each of them was an entrepreneur!
Five minutes later, I saw three children outside the glass door of the room. They were my interviewees. Ishaan Gangabasi (10), Surabhi Kashyap (14) and Krishiv Agarwal (13) sat down in front of me. All of them, (shorter than the five-feet-tall Christmas tree next to me) had a lot to share — from the stories of their companies to their views on the education system. At the end of the conversation, I couldn't help but ask myself, 'What was I doing when I was their age?'
The maker of desi Siri
Krishiv, a class IX student in Ambitus World School, Hyderabad grew up in a household where the word entrepreneurship was more commonly used than coffee. Son of Nikhil Agarwal, the founder of Entrepreneur Cafe, Krishiv's idea for his AI bot ALPH was born out of his hatred for smartphones. "I hate smartphones. They're cramped and kill everything that is natural," he tells us, pointing at the Jio Phone he uses. When we asked him to tell us more about his product, Krishiv was more than happy to explain. "It is an AI-based bot that manages everything from relations to finances to social media. In simpler words, it is a cheaper version of Siri. Not just that, it has emotional intelligence and understands you better. And by the way, it is not restricted to Apple phones," he says. Krishiv conceptualised it a year ago and developed the prototype a month back.
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