Entrepreneurship is not a skill, it is an attitude. An attitude driven by Curiosity, Problem Solving and Unflinching Focus.
We are happy to present Anugreh Sehtya, Young Changemaker, who develops technology based design solutions to address challenges in the healthcare and social sector.
Anugreh, tell us about your initial years?
I am Anugreh sehtya. I am 19 years old and the youngest in my family. My father is a businessman and my mother is a homemaker. Ever since I was very young, there were two things that I was always interested in. First was building things and second was combat sports. I spent the initial time of my life learning Taekwondo and was very passionate about it as well. I participated in many competitions and won a lot of them too. In 2015, I was also awarded a Red Belt by the International Taekwondo Federation.
I feel lucky to have pursued that because a form of a martial art teaches you many things including focus, discipline, memory, goal setting, respect, confidence, and the realization of the effort that it takes to become a self-confident individual.
During the latter part of my life, I went on to building things.
Why did you choose to work on a social initiative?
Since a very young age, I wanted to build things that people could use in their day to day life. I built many projects as well.
But it all changed when someone very close to me had a cardiac arrest and passed away. Everything changed for me then. That incident made me realize that whatever skills that I have, I should use them to help people. It was then that I started developing projects for people with all seriousness.
I got the opportunity to present one of my projects in one of India’s biggest Innovation summits which had the leaders of various organisations from all over the world. One of those people was so impressed with my project that he offered me a monetary amount to come up with a solution for Autism, as his grandchild had autism. While meeting many specially-abled people for my projects on Autism, I decided that I will be designing solutions for the specially-abled people and that led to the start of the Hybrid Idea.
How did you feel when you just started off working on your initiative? Did you face any resistance from society/ parents/ friends/ family/ teachers?
It was a jubilant feeling when my first project kicked off. Although I had a lot on my mind, everything seemed too exciting. My family and friends were very supportive, and embraced every idea I ever had in my mind.
I did face some resistance as well. In my school, I was taunted by my teachers that this isn’t the age to do what I am doing; they believed that I should just focus on my studies and get a degree first.
Tell us about your work
What problems do you solve?
Hybrid Idea started off as India’s first assistive technology based design solution company, i.e., we design solutions for people with special needs. We work on a range of disabilities including visual impairment, autism, and speech impairment etc. Our projects are used by people in need. Our projects for autism were able to help more than 40 autistic people in a special school in Hyderabad.
Later on, we pivoted the Hybrid Idea to help businesses achieve their operational and business goals through technology. We are working with various social enterprises including JanaJal, AlmsPay etc. JanaJal, for example, is an initiative to provide Safe Drinking Water at public places. They have over 300 Safe Water ATMs over India and these water ATMs have served nearly 85 million people. We handle their technology which includes managing IoT, Water ATMs and the Application Development part of the company . It makes me happy that we are doing our bit to serve the lives of people every day by helping the organisations that provide safe drinking water.
What skills are needed for the job? How did you acquire the skills?
I believe being street-smart and having a problem solving attitude are two of the most important skills for a job. Apart from that, being a good team member and along with that, having emotional intelligence also helps a lot.
I personally developed these skills by just doing the my task with full attention. Even when I failed continuously, I was patient and kept working till I got the job done.
What is a typical day like?
When I don’t attend my college, my day usually starts at 8 AM. I spend the next two hours replying to emails, talking with friends/family and other leisure activities. I get to the office by 10:30AM and get back home by 7-ish PM. I spend the next 2-2:30 hours relaxing or finishing up any work that has been pending. I am generally up till 1AM, sometimes to learn new things or play games on my Xbox before going off to bed for a 7 hour sleep.
Awards, prizes, accomplishment?
I have been lucky enough to have won various national and international awards. I was the National Award Winner at IRIS (Initiative for Research and Innovation in Science) National Fair, won the Young Innovator’s Festival by Career Launcher and Kestone, as well as the award by University of Toronto in the Engineering category and winning a chance to represent India at their DEEP Program. I am also the recipient of the ‘Ashoka Young Changemaker’ award for 2019, and have been declared among the “TOP 100 young Innovators from India” by Intel and Department of Science and Technology of India etc.
Along with this, I have been invited as a guest speaker at various platforms like TEDxYouth@BBS, Josh Talks, MeltingPot2020 etc., sharing the stage with Mr. Manish Sisodia and Mr. BVR Mohan Reddy, WeTalk 2.0 at SRM University, Shared Value Summit 2019 by NITI AAYOG and National Competiveness Forum etc.
Your advice to students based on your experience?
My advice to the students based on my experience will be to tell them that first identify the problem that they are facing in their particular community. Secondly, identify what they are really passionate about. Third, combine their passion to solve the problem that they are facing. This is the start of every change-making journey in my experience.
Apart from that, I advise students to believe in themselves, listen to others but keep doing what you personally believe is right for yourself.
I am currently doing my BTech in Computer Science. My future plan is to help as many businesses, NGOs, Social enterprises through technology with Hybrid Idea. I want to see us being one of the top solution design company in the coming years.