10 inspirational facts about Educomp Solutions founder Shantanu Prakash

“If I can use the ‘magical tools’ [computers] to liberate the child and make him break away from the drudgery of the classroom, I would accomplish something.”

The Chairman and Managing Director of Educomp Solutions Limited, Shantanu Prakash had this lofty thought at a time when children in schools were still taught in the same way as they had been a 100 years back, and “education was a field where qualitative advancement had been the slowest.”

Shantanu Prakash, Chairman and Managing Director, Educomp Solutions, India; Global Agenda Council on Emerging Multinationals at the World Economic Forum on India 2012. Copyright World Economic Forum / Photo by Benedikt von Loebell

Shantanu Prakash, Chairman and Managing Director, Educomp Solutions, India

A first generation entrepreneur, Prakash soon translated the thought into a loftier vision and then a reality when he founded Educomp in 1994, a few years after graduating from IIM Ahmedabad, making it the first company to provide technology-enabled education in India.

While the success of Shantanu Prakash with Educomp Solutions is a known story, we bring you ten facts about the ed-tech entrepreneur that are as astounding as the man’s journey in India’s education sector.

Take a look:

1. Shantanu Prakash faced struggle right from his childhood

The difficulties faced by refugee families in giving their children a normal upbringing are like the proverbial elephant in the room – everyone knows it’s there, but no one wants to acknowledge its presence.

Hailing from a refugee family himself, Shantanu Prakash had to struggle a lot right from his childhood. He opened up about his experience as a refugee in his speech at TEDxZaventem, where he acknowledged the need to aid refugee entrepreneurs in their business endeavors.

2. His first stint was a home-grown events management company

After schooling from Delhi Public School (Mathura Road), Shantanu Prakash pursued B.Com. from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. During this time, he started an events management company along with a friend. They made about Rs 4-5 lakh in the 80s, before Prakash left the company to join IIM-Ahmedabad.

3. Educomp was started with borrowed money

After completing education from a top-notch educational institution like Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad), Shantanu Prakash joined an SRCC colleague in the education-aids business, much to his father’s dismay.

In 1994, upon knowing that the CBSE has introduced computers as a part of curriculum, Shantanu Prakash left his friend, borrowed money at high rates and started buying computers to install in schools. The growth of Educomp Solutions was slow but steady and profitable. “This is where I learnt the most valuable lesson in business — sell to consumers who can get others to pay!” says Shantanu Prakash.

4. Apart from Educomp Solutions, Shantanu Prakash is also the founder of RVentures Foundation

RVentures Foundation a non-profit organization that works towards promoting the integration of refugees in the host country by imparting them education and aiding their entrepreneurial ventures. Prakash conceived the idea during his speech about refugee entrepreneurship at TEDxZaventem.

“Refugees have mostly been singled out in terms of help leaving them at bottom of the labor market. We believe that refugees are fundamentally entrepreneurs because of the struggle and the challenges that they have faced in their lives. Not only do they have amazing characteristics of risk-taking, resilience, flexibility, creativity, but also the ability to start from zero – all highly prized entrepreneurial qualities,” reads the RVentures official website.

5. Shantanu Prakash is a proud recipient of several awards

Shantanu Prakash

  • The Educomp founder’s contribution to the development of the Indian education sector has been acknowledged and lauded by several known names in the industry.
  •  He is a proud recipient of the Ernst & Young ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2008.
    The ET Now’s ‘Leap of Faith’ Award in the category of Education for year 2010, Dataquest ‘Pathbreaker of the Year 2010’.
  •  The ‘Shiksha Ratna Award of the Decade’, the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ at Indian Education Awards 2011.
  •  The ‘Dare Entrepreneur Award’ in 2011.

6. Belief in Intellectual Capital

A BBC report stated that Shantanu Prakash chose a business model with a “high amount of intellectual capital and [little] financial capital”, requiring only about $1,000 to get started. This in itself is a great inspiration for youngsters out there who are worried about the lack of huge capital funding.

7. His venture Educomp Solutions has also received numerous accolades

The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Just like Shantanu Prakash has soared to great heights and received several awards of excellence, his brainchild Educomp Solutions, too, has received great praise. Educomp Solutions was named the company of the year in the ICT & ITES sector at the CNBC-ICICI bank Emerging India awards from over 5,000 enterprises in 2005. It was also chosen as ‘Future Titan’, one of the 10 hottest companies in India by Outlook Business magazine in November 2006. Educomp was also listed among the ‘200 Best under a Billion’ for the Asia-Pacific region by Forbes.

8. He runs a non-profit foundation for underprivileged school children

Shantanu Prakash Foundation (SPF), an initiative by the Educomp Solutions Chairman and Managing Director, collaborates and cooperates with identified initiatives in education that helps the underserved or deserving with limited means.

9. He turned his back on a career in investment banking

Shantanu Prakash was offered an attractive career in investment banking while he was in IIM. But Shantanu, who wanted to build something of his own, turned down the offer unlike most of his batch mates.

10. Conversation with Sadhguru

Spiritual leader Sadhguru spoke with Shantanu Prakash, CEO of Educomp Solutions, in a recent event in 2013. Prakash questioned Sadhguru on how education has shaped him, and his personal experience in education to which Sadhguru replied “My only sadhana has been to remain uneducated.”

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About The Author

Karan Madan is technical information, real estate, education journalist. He brings his experiences, ideas, and thoughts to the foray with critiques and articles on business deals and financial markets.

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5 Comments

  1. Raghavpuri

    i would like to highlight 1 thing is that his concept of smart learning is exactly what our education sector needs the most.

    Reply
    1. Kunal

      For more than two decades, Shantanu Prakash has been transforming the teaching-learning process through the use of technology and best practices. Shantanu Prakash is the founder of many enterprises, which include Educomp Solutions, Learning Leadership Foundation (LLF), and RVentures Foundation. Educomp Solutions aims at providing smart learning solutions to K-12 students through its Smartclass setup. Learning Leadership Foundation aids under-resourced schools in making their education standards better. RVentures Foundation promotes refugee entrepreneurship. Apart from this, Shantanu Prakash is also a TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), an organisation that connects entrepreneurs.

      Reply
      1. Jerrin

        Shantanu Prakash is a frequent speaker in education and business conferences worldwide. He is also on the board of trustees of over 30 educational institutions and on the international advisory board of Fundacao Dom Cabral, Brazil and a member of the Global Future’s Council on Migration at the World Economic Forum.

        Reply
  2. afsha

    In 1998, during the dot com boom, Shantanu Prakash launched eCampus, and a year later, planetvidya.com. I guess the first move towards online education was when they launched ‘online tutoring’ in 2005.

    Reply
  3. kushum

    Ventures like Educomp Solutions has revolutionized our education sector. Hope to see more such companies coming forward with some new ideas.

    Reply

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