The Silicon Review
The world has realised that the economic success of a country is greatly dependent on its education systems, and there is absolutely no doubt that a nation’s education system is its pillar of strength. After its independence, India has been developing and is contentiously making its progress in the education field. Although many challenges have been persisting in its higher education system, India still can take hold of many opportunities to overcome such challenges and take the education system to a whole new level. iNurture, a Bangalore-based education solution provider, is working towards achieving this goal. It is striving to enhance the standards of the formal education system in India so that the employability quotient across the complete spectrum of adult learning from college to corporate is strengthened.
iNurture was started in 2009 to overcome the most significant impediment in the education system, that is the lack of focused attention towards making students employable. Working with the mission to become the catalyst in changing the higher education scenario in the beginning was quite tough. It wasn’t easy for iNurture to convince a University to adopt a new program, so its formative years were replete with a lot of skepticism and inertia in the external environment. Designing the programs, elevating them to global standards involving industry experts and creating a team of equally passionate individuals were other challenges during the course. However, in the end, its determined efforts to lead thousands of young Indians into a journey of living their passion of studying towards a more career focused goal made it all possible. Today, iNurture is proud to drive almost 10000 students in around 40 campuses in India and has already established an international alliance with leading knowledge partners across the globe.
In conversation with the visionary, Ashwin Ajila, Founder of iNurture Education Solutions
How do you explain the technological and business market scenario in India?
These are truly disruptive times having significant implications on the educational market scenario. While the 20th century learning environment was largely defined by knowledge acquisition, replete with linear and predictable experiences; the 21st century brings with it a highly dynamic and unpredictable work environment, consequently necessitating a huge shift in the education model. The higher education ecosystem today stands at the cusp of a monumental disruption, invigorated by a swiftly growing market with positive indicators of growth.
The days of Indian companies struggling to compete globally are over. What is your approach towards reaching global/universal standards?
We have a very clearly defined strategy to constantly innovate and strengthen our offerings. iNurture’s University Partnership Model is creating a lot of excitement in the higher education space, with many potential partners expressing keenness to integrate it. The problem that we are trying to address here is to reduce the gap between University teaching and Industry skills requirement.
At par with global requirements and in alignment with regulatory bodies in USA, Europe and India, the model offered by iNurture is a demonstration of exemplary standards. Cutting edge curriculum, state of the art technology architecture and multiple facets of industry immersion are its defining character. In addition to the well-crafted design, this model is fortified by rigorous, process-centric quality standards, thus, making scalability a viable proposition. It is because of these measures, leading institutions like – HETIC, MBA ESG, Strate School of Design, Paris and University of Nicosia – have associated with us to offer their globally recognized, industry-aligned and industry-endorsed programs in Digital Business, Sport Management, Luxury Management, Hospitality Management, Design, Digital Currency, and Blockchain Technology to students and working professionals in India.
Inurture has received multiple requests to expand its footprint and model globally. We are currently in talks with partners in East and North Africa to launch in Uganda and Morocco this academic year.We are also in preliminary discussion with Partners in the US to launch the upskilling and placement platform Krack-in. Though it is still in its early days, we are confident that we will make a presence there by 2020.
How successful was your first project?
While the problem of employability skills has been present since a long time, it is only in the past few years that it has become more pronounced. We had tremendous foresight in that sense, as we were able to gauge the market pulse and pioneer the first formalized University-Industry partnership. The first University was the most difficult to convince, as we were new into the system, and academia always has a sense of comfort with the status-quo. It is said that a journey of thousand miles begins with a single step, and so it was for us. After a lot of deliberations and convincing we got our first partner, which marked the launching of our mission to create new age learning professionals.
Any company, big or small, must have the sense of authenticity and originality to succeed. Is your company a leaderor a follower?
We have been leaders in the true sense who believe that problems are the stepping stones to success. Not only did we think differently and originally at a time, when everyone was following a set pattern; we decided to lead the change of transforming the higher education system. In alignment with the exponential changes in the higher education space, iNurture has been pioneering an innovative model of career-ready, formal higher education through its New Age Programs and learning initiatives since 2009. Ever since the initiation of the organization, we have been leading new learning frontiers across the higher education realm, be it designing new-age programs, creating industry immersion experiences in the campuses or leveraging technology to create engaging learning eco-systems.
“Earning trust and respect of consumers all around the world is through consistent focus on delivering high quality in all of your actions.” How do you interpret this statement?
We are in the process of transforming the lives of our consumers by aligning their learning and career pathways and thus defining their future. Nothing is more critical to us in this context than the genuine impact we are able to make on their lives. Our entire business model operates around building a connection with our customers that is enduring and life-defining. We set very high standards in design and delivery of the program, and also put a lot of emphasis to assess the impact of our efforts on their scholarly lives. We also continuously invest in reworking our models, strengthening our processes and making our contributions more meaningful and value creating for our customers. These efforts have been garnering a lot of respect from our University stakeholders and allegiance from our students who are our prime beneficiaries.
Between ever-increasing market sophistication, needs, and diversified customer base, many business and IT leaders don’t know what they really have—even when they think they do. How do you manage to serve the needs of the highly volatile market?
We consider today’s highly uncertain and volatile market as a prospect to diversify and repurpose our mission. As the world economy transitions to focus on emerging markets, iNurture’s primary interest is to extend its array of services to these markets. These emerging markets are the drivers of growth having a young working age population significantly impacting the economy. The need for engaging across value chains with these economies is therefore more critical. With an estimated 70% growth in the next few years expected from the emerging markets, iNurture is strategically aligning to increase its presence there. This is a promising prospect, as long term investments in emerging markets have outperformed the advanced economies for almost 15 years, and are likely to continue doing so. In this regard, iNurture has already begun to shape its presence in South Africa, Middle East and North Africa and South East Asia. Additionally, iNurture is evolving as a preferred Knowledge Partner with distinguished global institutes to offer highly acclaimed, niche programs in India and across other emerging markets.
If you have to list five factors that have been the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why?
What do you feel are the reasons behind your company’s growth?
We were able to convert our passion into a purposeful model because of our determination to change the higher education learning ecosystem.
Do you have any new products ready to be launched?
iNurture’s innovative and futuristic vision to provide unique opportunities to higher education institutes in preparing an ensemble of future ready and exemplary professionals heralds a new direction. iNurture’s Smart University Model is creating a lot of excitement in the higher education space, with many existing and potential partners expressing keenness to integrate it. Our Student Engagement Platform, Krackin brings in an imitable distinction in the way a student’s competences are matched with the employers’ skill requirements and ensures a more efficient connection between a student and the industry. Our significant growth in the past seven years is a vindication of strategic leadership, collaborative team work, enterprise skills and judicious decision making while associating with promising knowledge partners. As we are challenged by a more informed knowledge world, rising expectations of the stakeholders, the ubiquitous impact of technology and an anticipated surge in competitive offerings; iNurture is actively gearing up to respond to these changes and position itself for future advantage.
As a question on sustainability, where do you see your company in a couple of years from now?
Education is poised to play an influential role in India’s demographic dividend and its way to the top of the world. Not only that, the problem that iNurture is trying to address has global manifestations and we are already bracing ourselves to address these challenges. Being a frontrunner knowledge service provider of the 21st century is indeed a hallmark of our competence as we continue to scale up operations, strengthen offerings and diversify the array of services to cater to the demands of the emerging markets. We are busy setting strategies for taking this revolution forward by exploring new international markets, augmenting the portfolio with new programs and technology solutions, and expanding iNurture’s footprint. A swiftly growing market for private education has unfolded huge opportunities, and iNurture is completely geared to optimize its growth trajectory and build its global presence.
The Driving Force Behind iNurture Education Solutions
Ashwin Ajila, Founder and Managing Director
Ashwin’s incisive understanding of the world’s third-largest higher education system which needed to make its students future-ready and his intrinsic entrepreneurial drive led to the founding of iNurture Education Solutions in 2009. Ashwin is a CA from KPMG Peat Marwick, UK and started his professional career with the same firm. A multi-faceted professional, Ashwin has transformed his innovative ideas into successful business endeavors. iNurture, a landmark initiative in higher education in India has been a result of his strategic insight and determined efforts. It is because of his visionary leadership and foresight that iNurture continues to extend its iconic presence in India and across the globe.
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