In conversation with Yi Goa Chapter’s newly elected Chairman Rupesh Gauns who talks about the milestones Yi has achieved and the future plans
As the newly elected Chairman of Yi Goa, what is your new goal, this year?
The core mission of Yi is ‘Thought Leadership, Youth Leadership and Nation Building.’ These are focus areas through which we will be guiding all activities to be undertaken in the coming year. If I were to identify one particular exceptional aspect, then it will be an initiative in ‘Thought Leadership’ for the Youth in form of a series of lectures or dialogues. An initiative like this will benefit the youth by stimulating them towards nation building and also help them to aspire, beyond resources, in pursuit of dreams.
What are some of the objectives that Yi plans to draw attention to for the year ahead?
Yi has identified certain focus areas where work has already begun in an organized manner. Some of these verticals, as we call them, are Entrepreneurship and Innovation – for creating a well balanced eco-system by bringing innovation and entrepreneurship at the center stage of both business and social growth, and to support the innovation promotion by identifying, discussing and evangelizing innovations in Yi’s key focus areas of education, healthcare, environment and the like.
The next is the Swachh Bharat initiative – to work with institutions and companies in the area of social responsibility, with an objective to create awareness, encourage cleanliness and effective waste management.
We also have an awareness campaign on organ donation and organ transplantation called ‘Gift an Organ’. The campaign seeks to make more people sign up for this noble cause. Through awareness, efforts have been made to clear any preconceived notion about organ donation and transplant, and to advocate policy changes to facilitate this cause.
Yi’s ‘Project Masoom’ was another public campaign that highlighted child safety through various programs aimed at creating awareness on child sexual abuse; amongst young children, parents and other stake holders.
Yi also had the ‘Horn Not OK Please (HNOP)’ program to draw attention to the problem of noise pollution in all forms and to suggest ways to combat noise pollution. The main aim of the project was to send a bold message to use vehicular horns only when necessary and thereby reduce noise pollution, especially in cities.
What are some of Yi’s recent successful initiatives, in various sectors of the state?
The most impactful initiative by far has been ‘Project Masoom’. Over the past 2 years, we have been able to sensitize over 25000 primary school students in Goa about the malaise of child sexual abuse. We have had positive reviews about this program from all the schools where it was conducted and also from our partners in this project like Childline, Goa Institute of Management (GIM) and all the participating counselors.
Our other efforts in Career Counselling and Promoting Entrepreneurship and Innovation have been met with considerable success, too.
As the voice of Young Indians globally, what are some of the youth centric initiatives that Yi will be looking at this year?
With a vision to influence, inspire and motivate millions of students across the country who are the pillars of India’s progression for the years to come, Yi started its ‘YUVA’ Platform, through which it envisions connecting students to the community, the corporate CEOs and the country at large, working towards a movement for nation building.
Yi establishes YUVA in schools and colleges across the state, each of which is mentored by Yi members. Yi nurtures and supports the YUVA and helps bring students into mainstream, by giving them a platform to work on leadership and nation building initiatives.
How successful has Yi Goa been in providing a platform for young entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship and Innovation is one of the key focus areas for Yi. Most of the Yi members are business persons and professionals themselves, and hence they understand the nuances of entrepreneurship. Yi has conducted frequent seminars, panel discussions, lectures, workshops and other such events where learning and networking opportunities were provided through interaction with fellow businessmen, industry icons, senior bureaucrats, academicians and others.
For students interested in entrepreneurship, we have been organizing the Blue Ocean Dialogues (BOD) in the schools and colleges. The BOD is a workshop conducted to stimulate young minds to identify uncontested market spaces and come up with solutions to plug them profitably.
We are also in partnership with Centre for Innovation and Business Acceleration (CIBA). Through a series of boot camps planned for students across the major towns of Goa, we are to provide students and novice entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and framework for taking the first step in the business arena.
As one of the Founding members of Yi Goa, tell us about Yi’s progress since its establishment; has it been able to grow on par with other chapters in the country?
Goa has steadily evolved to be one of the most consistent chapters in the country. All the past leaders at Yi Goa have ensured that the Chapter has grown in all aspects.
Membership, Nation Building Projects and Activities, Learning Programs and the Camaraderie in the group have all grown in leaps and bounds; and we wish to take it further by continuing to make a difference in our chosen areas of work.
What is Yi’s vision in Goa?
Yi wants to be a platform for Young Goans to participate in and contribute by becoming an integral part of the Indian growth story. It will be our endeavour to work effectively with all stakeholders and contribute our bit in making Goa a progressive and ideal state through relevant, progressive and impactful projects in our chosen areas of work.
How successful has Yi Goa been in providing a platform for knowledge sharing, nationally and locally?
Nationally, Yi is one of the proud founders of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, which is a collective of leading entrepreneurially-minded organizations representing the G20 countries who seek to promote youth entrepreneurship as a powerful driver of economic renewal, job creation, innovation and social wellbeing.
Yi is also one of the founders of the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (CAYE- A) which is a network of young entrepreneurs from the Commonwealth Asia region and the organizations that support them. Yi has organized learning missions in many countries around the world to understand and learn from the best practices and diverse cultures. We have also worked with the Planning Commission of India to conduct consultation workshops across its chapters for accumulating a youth perspective to be included in the 12th Five Year Plan and with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India; to facilitate missions of visiting delegations of young entrepreneurs to India from around the world. Yi Goa locally has organized ‘BRICS India 2016: Advantage Goa’ at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao in October 2016, where experts in the field shared their views on how Goa can benefit from the 8th BRICS Summit which had taken place in Goa.
Has Yi Goa had any collaborative projects with the Government to fulfill its objective for Nation Building?
Yi has been collaborating with the relevant government departments for many of its initiatives. We have had the support of the Education Department for most of the Nation Building initiatives that we took up at schools.
Our initiatives have been welcomed and supported from time to time by various government departments like Goa Tourism Development Corporation(GTDC), Economic Development Corporation Limited (EDC), Directorate of Industries, Goa University, The Municipal Corporation / Councils and many more institutions of the government.
How would you rate the current government on providing opportunities for the young entrepreneurs?
It may be too early to thoroughly rate the current government. However, with good leadership in place, we hope to see many more opportunities for young entrepreneurs. Investments being drawn in in the areas like Defence, Electronic City, The New International Airport, Agro Business Zones etc. should augur well for the over business atmosphere in Goa. Also, we look forward, with much hope, to areas like e-governance and ease-of-doing business to be given a boost.
As told to ALEXIA FERNANDES