As a journalist, Shreyasi Singh worked for over a decade in a variety of media – news agencies, print media and radio. Her work as editor of Inc, the legendary American entrepreneurship magazine, gave her what she calls a “PhD in Entrepreneurship”.
“It was very interesting to meet so many entrepreneurs, to hear their stories and things that they fought for. All of the amazing ideas, culture, and productivity that I saw made me think that if I were a CEO, this is what I would do. I think that immersion in entrepreneurship was the beginning of my own journey, ”says the co-founder of Harappa Education.
In 2015, she decided she would no longer resort to full-time journalism and began working with Pramath Raj Sinha, now her co-founder, on the Vedica Scholars Program for Women, an 18-month full-time management program for postgraduates.
After Vedica, she wanted to work on something from scratch. She started having conversations with Pramath and the idea of Harappa came up.
They spent six months doing extensive research on online education and understanding of the edtech industry. One of the decisions they made was to create a curriculum and not just become a marketplace.
As an edtech entrepreneur, technology plays an important role in Shreyasi’s life and work. She believes it is an immensely powerful tool for professionals to create their own personal brand. “I don’t think that female professionals have to limit themselves to networking groups with women, even though they are critical and deeply empowering, but have to use social media to broaden and expand their professional networks as a whole. You have the opportunity to design your narrative on social media. and my advice to female professionals would be to learn how to do this with consistency and flair. It’s the cheapest way to stand out, but it requires skill and discipline, ”she adds.
Shreyasi says she couldn’t imagine running her life and business without WhatsApp. “I appreciate the speed it allows and the ease with which it is possible to create group-based forums for chat that can be created in seconds. I’ve tried other collaboration tools, but the speed and super-intuitive user interface you’ve gotten used to make it difficult to build a habit beyond WhatsApp, ”says Shreyasi.
Harappa Education was founded in March 2018 and started its courses in May 2019. Essentially, Harappa is an online learning facility that offers 25 courses on the cognitive, social and behavioral skills employers crave in the workplace. The courses last approximately five hours and are self-directed and asynchronous.
Harappa has a team of 60, made up of the convergence of work and science, delivering rich and contextualized content tailored for 21st century learners.
It works according to a B2B model with locations and companies. No B2C model has yet been introduced. On campus, it works with IIT Gandhinagar, Punjab Engineering College and Lovely Professional University. It also works with 12 companies including leading brands in IT, FMCG and financial services. In January 2020, James Murdoch invested in a seed funding round in Harappa, led by Lupa Systems.
“Harappa’s unique ‘5 Habits, 25 Skills’ curriculum is delivered through an engaging online first approach. It addresses a key gap in education: the cognitive (how to think, argue, and solve problems), social (how to communicate, influence, and build relationships), and behavioral (how to grow, act, and lead) skills that employers do crave in the workplace, ”says Shreyasi.
Shreyasi believes that the “new normal” requires everyone to develop different skills and behaviors. “Change is going to be a great skill that each of us will need, and I think our courses can help,” she adds.
This story is part of a series that features extraordinary, inspiring women from different walks of life for the See Us, Hear Us campaign run by WhatsApp for International Women’s Day.
You can read more stories like this from the month-long campaign Here.