Q : Please Introduce yourself! (About Meghna Joshi, Founder of SWAN)
I (Meghna Joshi) was born and brought up in Delhi.
I studied at Delhi and possess an eclectic academic background with Commerce in the school, Honours in Business Economics during graduation and post-graduation in Environment & Development.
Professionally, I have prolonged experience of corporate and social sectors in project management, operations work, imparting training’s in various skill sets in addition to managing and monitoring the operations of various skill Development centers.
I am passionate about painting and an ardent nature lover.
Having won several awards in art competitions at state level, I drifted towards painting landscapes and the curiosity to know more about nature took me to bird-watching and avian photography.
Confronted with shocking facts of vanishing household sparrows, vultures facing extinction and several species of birds missing their roosting sites due to changing habitats, I became committed to avian well-being. This interest led towards becoming the state coordinator for an annual campus event by Bird Count India.
I have recently launched my art collection page called ‘Sleepy EYE’. It is an attempt to create environmental consciousness among the masses through the traditional forms of Indian artwork done on recycled handmade paper.
Q : When and How did you think about ‘SWAN’ ?
The collective experience of working in Corporate and Social sectors and managing the operations of various skill development centers helped me in gaining a deep feeling for the pain points of the youth from the economically weaker sections.
It also led me towards a thorough understanding of the problems faced by the employers who employ the unskilled youth.
In an endeavors to resolve these issues through a systematic process, skill development became my passion that ultimately led to the seeding of SWAN (Skilled Workforce Advancing Nation).
Q : From whom you got inspiration to start SWAN and Who is your mentor?
The past experience showed that their were youth who were unemployed, their were youth whose employment history had been short lived and their were employers who were either not getting suitable employees or whose experience with past employees had been miserable.
All these situations required deep understanding and delicate handling of both sides.
SWAN saw a niche in bridging the aspirations of the youth as per the requirements of the industry.
The underlying thought behind the entire venture being to resolve the pain points of the youth from the targeted section of the society and train them for a harmonious and fruitful relationship with the employers.
However, the main inspiration was to see smiles on scores of youth and develop a congenial atmosphere in the workplace with satisfied employers. We strive to work with dedication and total commitment in our endeavour to achieve the goals.
My startup is incubated at AUD Centre for Incubation, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Ambedkar University Delhi (ACIIE), and the entire team is helping us with the nitty gritty of the operations of my startup.
My mentor Mr. Ajay Sharma, founder Get Me Experts and FlexiOrg has made it a smooth sailing for SWAN through his mentor-ship support.
Q : Introduce your Co-Founder/Founders and Team.
Co founder, Dr. Anil Joshi studied and did research for his doctorate in geology at Delhi University.
His on the job experience of over three and a half decades in the Geological Survey of India took him all over the country and the polar continent of Antarctica.
A National Awardee in Geo-sciences, he got the opportunity to work in the remotest parts of the country and could see the problems being faced by the people at the grass root levels.
He could visualize the ever increasing detrimental affects of the development process and was drawn into the sustainable development aspects of the natural resources that included the conservation, rightful distribution of the benefits reaped from the bounties of the nature and the anthropogenic contribution to the climate change.
As a guest faculty in Delhi University, It was easy for him to connect with the miseries of the students in the metropolitan cities like Delhi.
The plight of the school educated youth from the deprived sections of the society in gaining employment is now a cause for concern for him.
SDG’s provided a right platform although these do not explicitly mention the earth-sciences, but several components of these goals cannot be achieved without a proper understanding of the nature and the earth.
The team also comprises of a psychologist to extend counselling support to the students and a digital marketing expert taking care of the social media handles and website development. Experts from the industry and distinguished academics are often invited to motivate the youngsters at the center.
Q. What challenges did you face while setting up SWAN? How did you overcome?
Setting up the venture proved to be a challenging task. Getting a team together, outreaching, convincing and branding the act were certain things that looked easier on paper.
Natural events over which we had no control started just after the first month of getting the act together. Extreme cold, incessant rains and widespread protests in the city were enough to wear down the patience.
Matters were made worst by the spread of the pandemic Corona and the complete lock down.
However, as we try to understand the deadly virus, certain things become very apparent. Nature in its manifestation of corona virus now has shown that it is a great equalizer. It has brought the entire globe into a single platform of survival, irrespective of the developed or the developing, rich or poor, white or black, religion A or B.
These difficult times taught us the virtues of patience and keeping the focus alive on our goals.
Sustained and dedicated efforts made it a smooth flight towards reaching the sky of our goals. We could create our niche in the minds of the communities in the vicinity and have successfully given colors to the aspirations of our first batch of trainees, through a rigorous process of mentoring.
This endeavour would not have materialized without the continuous support of the ACIIE and the mentor.
Finally, it would not have been possible without the unflinching support of the SWAN team members and my family.
Q : What’s the Current Path, SWAN‘s Funding Status and What are the Future plans?
The net outcome of the SWAN venture is envisaged in stable workforce that would set model of teamwork with minimal attrition, a congenial employee-employer relationship leading towards the advancement of the Nation.
SWAN is currently being funded by AUD Centre for Incubation, innovation and entrepreneurship, Ambedkar University Delhi
Possessing a large educated and skilled youthful population would prove to be a valuable asset for the Nation’s developmental goals.
In our quest for attaining sustainable development, the SDGs-2030 advocate technical, vocational education training (TVET), decent work opportunities for promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth and providing help to young adults.
SWAN has taken up this challenge through skill up-gradation of the youth in the NCR of Delhi. It is envisaged to create stable workforce through skill development leading to a higher employee satisfaction rate as the net outcome.
Viral Indian Diary is a motivating online community for every Indian which aims to share meaningful content that actually creates value in our life.
It is quite happy to see how VID aims to motivate our youth, inspire everyone by providing them a platform to express their thoughts. Thus enabling them to become bold and confident in their life.
Thank you Meghna for sharing your startup story. Team VID wishes you and your team all the very best for your future endeavors.