Paving the way for skill-based entrepreneurship

Three IT professionals left their high paying jobs to pursue a dream of guiding young Indians to make the right career choices

Bodhami is an edu-tech startup and the only Goan startup to have won a National Startup Award from the Government of India. Awarded in the space of education for making headway in rural development and access to rural education by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, (DPIIT) Government of India; Bodhami was awarded in a special category.

The startup was founded by Damodar Patnekar, Ashutosh Shankar and Aarthy Vassan who worked together in an IT multinational. In their workspace, they often came across individuals who were grossly unhappy with their jobs or were not career ready. They realised that in almost all of these cases, these individuals had other varied skills and interests which could contribute to alternate careers and as well as satisfactions levels.

“We realised that most students made poor stream and career selection decisions due to uncertainty and lack of awareness. Students were aware of only 6-7 careers on an average, when in modern times, 2000+ lucrative careers are on offer. Over 45% of students were making the wrong career choice with 95% of schools and colleges not having any formal access to career counseling and mentoring. We set out a vision for ourselves to guide over 10 million students in our journey and with that vision in mind, left our corporate jobs to start on this noble path.”

The question that we had at the start of our journey was, “What is the genius in you and how do we help the students and professionals to find and arrive at that? When we looked at the student’s journey, we realised that career counseling is only 5-10% of the initial support needed for the student. The student also needs support or mentoring on up-skilling and learning, preparation for entrance examinations, readiness for corporate jobs, placement support in jobs etc.” Bodhami looked at this end to end student journey right from career counselling, upskilling, corporate readiness for students, scholarships and finally placement. It took them over a year and half to put their experiences into a technology driven solution to solve this problem. The entire team focused on developing a state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven career counselling platform and personalised learning platform where they used AI technology to accurately map the right career recommendation for the individual based on their unique skill, interest, and personality.

Bodhami is one of the fastest growing career counseling, skill assessment and personalised learning platform in India, having presence in 250+ cities and 5 countries; with more of these partners in the rural sector. Bodhami has enabled hundreds of nano entrepreneurs through their platform with more than 60% of them being women and their story has also been featured on Delhi Doorsharshan under the ‘Startup Champions’ programs.

“We believe that every student is unique and has potential. Our mission is to help students realise their true potential by guiding them on the right career path and holistic skill interventions to reach their target career. We have a very strong belief in our vision that we want to bring about change in the society,” add the trio. Bodhami works with more than 3000+ career counsellors, partners across India to drive career counselling programs to help support clarity of careers. More than 65,000 students, graduates and professionals have taken assessments on Bodhami platform. This includes government programs and outreach across some of the remote and rural parts of India to drive career counselling. It works extensively with NGOs and career counsellor networks in rural and semirural areas; where adoption of such a concept is extremely important to drive change at grassroot levels. Students in remote villages like Dibrugarh in Assam, Jalpaiguri in W.B., Bastar in Chhattisgarh, Valsad in Gujarat and Basti and Faizabad in U.P, remote parts of Kashmir etc are counselled on their careers through Bodhami platform which has been a first for lot of them. The platform has also enabled students to take career tests in regional languages on any device.

Bodhami’s impact on ground has been recognised on various forums and has received multiple awards and recognitions. It won the National Startup Award 2021 from the Government of India, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Startup Grants Award under the Goa IT Startup policy. Bodhami is one of the top 7 startups and the only one in the ed-tech space, selected to represent innovation by Indian startups at the India-Sweden Innovation Day. It was selected to be one of the chosen startups at the International SCO Startup showcase event which hosted 8 Nations and also selected for INFINITY (India France Embassy Connect) as part of the Government of India − Indian Embassy Exchange.

Bodhami was selected amongst the top 15 startups representing India at VivaTech Paris, was awarded a seed grant of `10 lakh from the Startup Promotion Cell (SPC) Goa. Bodhami is registered under Startup Promotion Cell, Government of Goa and mentored directly by Startup India and Invest India teams (Government of India).

It has been awarded the prestigious SKOCH award for the work done in rural development and career development, Tally MSME Champions of Change award for the grassroot level work done in India in the space of career counselling and skill development and IT Educator award by Government of Goa. Damodar, Bodhami’s cofounder and CEO has also been awarded with the Eminent Goans Achiever’s award by the Government of Goa for the organisation’s contribution to rural, women and youth development.

Bodhami has partnered with the Education Department, Government of Goa, to enable a state-wise roll out of the career aptitude testing and career counselling program in Goa. More than 20k students of class 10th and 12th across 250+ schools and 12 talukas in the state answered aptitude test and
were imparted career guidance along with personalised career reports. This was the first time such an initiative at this scale was driven under the vision of Dr Pramod Sawant, Chief Minister of Goa. Bodhami administers scholarships where more than 3000+ underprivileged students would be getting scholarships through its partnership with Sri Badrika Ashram (SBA) in Himachal Pradesh. The scholarships are administered on Bodhami’s Scholarship Platform. Bodhami’s corporate readiness platform is used by institutions across India to make students corporate ready, to find out their job readiness quotient, MBA branch selection, entrepreneurship readiness, technical knowhow etc. Bodhami’s upskilling and learning platform is used by educators to drive digital driven skill upliftment programs. Bodhami’s recruitment platform and portal has empowered educators to be job providers and help graduates get the right job opportunities aligning to their skills. Bodhami launched the Innovation Test, a first for Goa. The test measures one’s innovation quotient which includes 9 core innovation dimensions – namely Creative, Inventiveness, Passion, Learning, Motivation, Adapting, Risk Taking, Interpersonal, Problem solving, Technology Acumen and Curiosity.

Bodhami works closely with the Directorate of MSME, Goa to drive skill development and entrepreneurship across the State. Bodhami has conducted multiple sessions on skill development, selfemployment and starting entrepreneurship for students at different vocational institutes and ITIs in Goa. Bodhami also conducts entrepreneurship workshops and sessions across colleges and schools in Goa.

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