By Mayank Jain:
This post is part of a series of content focusing on covering inspiring work of Indian youth, brought by Youth Ki Awaaz in collaboration with Potentiaa
He was one of the three Indians selected for COP15, the convention about Kyoto Protocol and climate change which happened in Copenhagen, Denmark. Not only this, a global NGO consortium also funded his trip so that he could attend the summit and blog from there.
Meet Rishabh Kaul, just another engineer from BITS Pilani but a lot more than that. He holds a Masters in Economics from the same university. Afterwards, he got selected for the Young India Fellowship, batch of 2011-2012. Rishabh works in the social change and sustainability sector and can be described as a ‘go getter’ who stops at nothing.
Rishabh has written for Nextbillion which is a portal on development and social sector. It was his first big step, according to him, “It’s a global publication covering international for-profit based social enterprises. I realized that while a lot of what they wrote focused on India, they didn’t have any India correspondents. I reached out to the editors and soon enough I was the only Staff Writer for them, while still in college”
He decided to go for Young India Fellowship because of his desire to study more and then he soon got involved into Aaavishkar, which is a “a unique venture capital firm that invests in high risk businesses, many of which are in interior parts of the country.” Driven by his passion to learn more and be a part of something hot and happening, he went on to work on automation robotics. He says, “Two years post this, I decided it was time to get my hands dirty and so I joined my college mates to build Grey Orange, a disruptive industrial automation robotics startup. The reasoning was that I wanted to be in a sector that was just beginning to get hot and which would impact the industry for years to come, at the same time, I wanted to learn sales.”
He has also been a delegate for the Harvard Project for Asia & International Relations, Asia Conference at Singapore where he was one of the 200 people selected worldwide. His journey has only begun even after all this and he has been keen on the support of his friends and family to propel him for further heights.Â “A lot of friends have inspiring life stories that kept me motivated. Seeing the dedication of my parents to their profession (they’re both doctors) is also a big inspiration. Apart from that reading biographies and life stories of entrepreneurs and leaders has played a big role. One needs to understand the history, where someone came from, in order to be truly inspired by them,” he adds.
Rishabh is also on the core-committee of Spark Angels; an angels network comprising of angels from BITS and select people from outside who fund high potential seed stage BITS based startups in India. He has interned extensively in the field of social entrepreneurship, social development and economics.
He believes in doing good for the world and thinking beyond the ideology of materialism and urges young people for the same. He says, “I’d like to urge people to think beyond the short term and if I could help it, think beyond materialism. I think young people today need to focus more on developing skills (both hard and soft and not at the cost of the other) since we live in an age which is increasingly unpredictable. In such an age, it is all the more important to look within rather than seek external validation, which in some ways is what materialism propagates.”
Rishabh has co-founded a road trip fellowship program which focuses on social development. The trips organized by Grasroots expose youth to change makers and social change at the grassroots level. His experience in so many domains over the course of these years have made him conscious of the importance of failing and his own inabilities which he recognized at some point.
As a lesson to all of us, he shares the insight and says, “My failures have included taking people for granted, not giving enough respect to a process, jumping the gun too fast. Failures are both motivating and humbling. Motivating, because if we don’t fail, we often don’t understand the importance of the lessons it teaches us. Humbling because we tend to look at other’s failures in a different light.”
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