At 10 and 12, most boys stick to their home works, cartoons and video games; but some just skip the throwing-fire-crackers-at-cats phase and launch startups, whilst still holding cotton candies in their hands.
Kollam-based siblings Abhijit (12) and Amarjit (10) are among those few. India's youngest CEO and COO, the young kids head Indian Homemade Toys, which was ideated, conceptualised and created by themselves.
A year back, the duo did not even know the meaning of the word 'startup', let alone starting one. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi changed it all in one day. Well, you read it right; it was Modi's Independence Day address of 2015 that inspired Abhijit and Amarjit to venture into business.
When the kids saw Modi stressing upon Startup India, they asked their parents about it. Soon, the entrepreneurial bug caught them and an idea was born out of their favourite hobby – toy building.
Students of SN Central School, Kollam, the brothers, as of now, are not selling their products. Nevertheless, the young talents have showcased it all in a website, which is aimed at urging children to make their own customised toys.
Their father Premjith swears by his boys' skill in toy building. “My children’s main hobby was to dismantle their toys and build another ones out of it. They would pull apart pretty much all the pieces and then reassemble it into another toy.
If they have four wheels and a motor, then in the first five minutes, they will make a car out of it; half an hour later, they will turn it into a truck, and then continue to make another model out of the pieces they have pulled apart,” he says. Premjith is the Head of the Department at Government Polytechnic College in Attingal.
Skillfully developing the next generation of India
The main objective of Indian Homemade Toys is to develop the minds of children in India through toy building.
The project also aims at making the children a part of Skill India initiative by the government and thereby, urging them to make in India. Apart from making children more creative, toy building also channels their energy into something productive, making them ignore television and video games, Premjith says.
Standing tall economically
The annual toy import in India comes close to Rs 13,000 crore, according to an Assocham study. Most of the toys are being imported from China and Italy. However, more than 50 per cent of toys from China contain toxins that may pose health hazards to young children.
Here, comes IHT's role. Through IHT, Abhijit and Amarjit want to sell child-safe manufacturing components so that kids can make whatever they like as per their interest.
“We aim to collaborate with IIMs, IITs, traditional toy manufacturing companies, etc. so that we can have a group of startups with a common mission,” says Amarjit.
All profits from the venture will be used for the betterment of poor children, says Premjith.
Invitation to Startup Summit in Delhi
Of all the IITians and engineers who were invited, these two small boys also got the opportunity to go to Delhi and experience the various innovations and inventions that were featured in the event.
“The visit to the startup summit was quite an experience for us. We thoroughly enjoyed being there. Everyone was surprised to see us there as entrepreneurs and was wished good luck by those who were there,” says Abhijit.
Indian Homemade Toys – as a website
The website was created by Rahul R.S. (Chief Operating Officer) and Joemon George (Chief Technical Officer), from Rabitech, an embedded system and software developing startup, from the Startup Village in Kochi.