There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. For Minal Anand, Founder of GuruQ, the one striking at the root is Education. An educated person is less likely to commit crimes that arise due to lack of education and education is also the key to ending poverty. For Minal, the purpose of education is for individuals to attain a well-balanced perception of the world around them. True education will enable individuals to stay true to their social responsibilities and contribute to the upliftment of the society by being model citizens. Although the general perception of education has changed with an increasing number of students opting for interactive and personalized e-learning, there still exists a wide gap between domestic students and students studying abroad. Unfortunately, our students still rely heavily on the traditional mode of disseminating knowledge with little or no emphasis being put on making students tech-savvy. School lessons do not cut it anymore and parents are frantically searching for tutors to help their children to acquire a better understanding of subject/s and thus, to score better in exams.
Birth of GuruQ
Minal realized that a safe and a quality learning environment is extremely important to parents while searching for tutors and it is not advisable to trust just random tutors. This realization propelled her to start a single, simplified, and cohesive platform that onboarded only the most trustworthy, qualified, and proficient tutors who could skilfully impart their knowledge to students and help them to pass with flying colors. Thus, was born, GuruQ, a platform that enables students to ‘find the right tutor’ and avail of affordably priced tech-driven education via both online or offline mode. Since inception, GuruQ has been receiving laurels. But the journey from idea to fruition was not a walk in the park.
“Parents were hesitant to switch from tutors acquired via references to an online tutoring platform as it is quite natural for people to not go beyond their comfort zone and to want to stick to the familiar. We had instances where people would call us up and want to make bookings over a call rather than use the extremely user-friendly and highly interactive dashboard. However, once our team was able to win their faith and the efficiency of our offerings were proven, these issues were quickly resolved. Once parents and students alike began to benefit from the advantages of our platform, be it in terms of price, flexibility, high- quality, safety, or ease of use they began to vouch for GuruQ and recommend it to their family and friends. We also faced challenges across various areas such as the processes, technology, design, etc but with single-minded focus, dedication, and perseverance we were able to overcome them,” she comments.
Essence of Education
Treasuring Indra Nooyi’s terrific journey to world-wide fame, Warren Buffet’s humility, Azim Premji and Bill Gates’ philanthropy, and Sheryl Sandberg’s leadership skills, Minal has her heart and mind in the right place. A prime example of this is that since the very beginning, Minal and her team have devoted resources to initiate varied CSR programs every year. One such initiative is the GuruQ Knowledge Pyramid, a one-of-a-kind program to uplift underprivileged children. The team conceived the idea of creating a pyramid of bookshelves, wherein people can donate books.
The activity done in collaboration with CRY had received an overwhelming response from people across the board, resulting in the collection and donation of over 8000 books. In the following years, they hired a truck and decorated it with Knowledge Pyramid branding. Christened Knowledge Pyramid On-The-Go, the motive behind this initiative to enable more people to participate by removing the time and distance constraints that people had. GuruQ also has other initiatives in the making, which are designed to provide quality education in the remote parts of the nation, where quality schooling is inaccessible.
The team is also in talks with collaborating with NGOs, local communities and governments to further this aim. “We will be training the tutors in the said areas and equip them with the latest knowledge in teaching methodologies, apart from providing the necessary tools required for quality learning and teaching,” Minal remarks.
Women Lift Up Women
A Boston Graduate, Minal remarks that young women entrepreneurs in the field of education have embarked on a mission to make learning more fun and interactive. They are working tirelessly to offer the benefits of customized learning to every part of the country. Blessed with foresight, young women know that the upliftment of a nation takes place through the empowerment of future generations with required skills. In the process of raising tech-savvy future generations, the present generation is also being exposed to the world of technological innovations and acquiring know-how of the ever-changing trends and developments. Our skill sets are expanding at a rapid pace and we are learning as we impart tech-led education. Young women are aiming at disseminating technological education to students, parents, guardians and teachers alike.
Speaking of fostering gender equality and empowering women, Minal is proud hat at GuruQ, about 65% of the employees are women. “We intend to empower women in India and transform their lives. We are making them key drivers of household income, providing them independence and respect. We go by the same philosophy while on-boarding female tutors on to
our platform,” she says. Excited for 2020, Minal is looking forward to launching the GuruQ app and expand to 8- 10 Tier 1
and 2 cities in North India. GuruQ is also all set to enter corporate training and equip employees with confidence by bettering their communication skills. “We have the most highly-qualified and proficient tutors that we will leverage to train corporate employees. Most importantly we are in talks for another round of funding and the funds raised will be used for expansion, R&D, technological innovation and for hiring top talent” she concludes.
PENNY FOR THOUGHT
Minal understands that despite the changing times, Men are still perceived as born leaders compared to Women. Because of this warped mindset, Women must push harder to gain acceptance as leaders while a Man can seemingly command it. “Unlike our male counterparts, women have to work twice as hard and prove ourselves repeatedly to gain the same amount of respect and confidence. However, having said that perceptions hold little importance in the face of results and accomplishing goals. Women are making waves as outstanding leaders and entrepreneurs in every sector and gaining recognition and accolades for it. Aspiring women can overcome these barriers by not paying heed to the naysayers. Women need to stand up for themselves when they feel that they are not being given their due credit. Having an unflinching conviction in your dreams is always essential.
One needs to set goals and enjoy the journey of achieving and exceeding them which will silence critics. At the same time, the society must also strive to not just view women as equals but also give them the respect they deserve,” says the proud entrepreneur. Be fearless when it comes to pursuing your dreams. Taking risks is imperative for success but take only calculated risks. A leader is ideally a source of inspiration for countless others so put in the time and the effort to get as good as it gets. Hard work coupled with smart decisions always pays off. To become a leader and to maintain that position, one must never stop learning. Stay updated about the latest trends and innovations in your respective fields.