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School Enterprise Challenge: Student interview- Meet Shivangi and Tanya from Delhi

 
Ever wondered how students feel about running a school business? Shivangi and Tanya from St Mark's Secondary School in New Delhi, India very kindly agreed to do an interview with Teach A Man To Fish about their experience taking part the School Enterprise Challenge. Shivangi and Tanya's team started a school business selling cloth bags in 2012, and the business has run successfully ever since. 
 
How did you come to decide on running this particular business? 
Well, we considered running other businesses including selling paper bags, pickles and spices, but there were drawbacks to these ideas. The cost of production was often too high, or competition was intense. In the end, our business selling cloth bags was the best option because there was negligible cost and also fulfilled the People, Profit, Planet requirements of sustainable and environmentally responsible businesses.

Shivangi and Tanya from St Mark’s Secondary School in New Delhi, India

 
What was the most important thing you learnt? 
Definitely leadership skills, especially in managing our team and dividing up tasks. We have 12-15 students in our team, and 7-8 women working with us. Each woman was assigned one student as a personal contact. We also organised ourselves such that we had five departments on our team: the creative department, marketing department, accounts department, admin department, and resource development department. 
  
What advice would you give to other students wanting to start a business?
Be well-organised and take things step-by-step. In our first year when we started this business, we were not looking to make profit, it was more about establishing a business, having a healthy division of labour, and establishing a working relationship with the women who helped make our bags. The profit we did keep was reinvested in the business. 
 
What did you most enjoy about running the business? 
Engaging with the customers and convincing them to buy our bags. We had to approach each customer and challenge their consumer habits. This was challenging but also the most interesting.
 
What are you most proud of? 
We are proud of being able to set up the business. Three years ago we were the first generation of students in our school to set up such a business, and now we get to share our experience and mentor next year's team. We're also proud of helping the earth and the economically weaker section of society.
 
Shivangi and Tanya are now in their final year of secondary school and are preparing for their final exams. Their school business continues to be run by students in the year below them. 
 

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