Interview: Mr. Nirvaan Birla, Founder – Birla Brainiacs & Director – Birla Open Minds Education Pvt Ltd
At Sugermint Media, our aim is to bring to our entrepreneurs community some of the inspiring and motivational stories from the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
As part of this endeavour, we invited yet another passionate entrepreneur Mr. Nirvaan Birla, Founder – Birla Brainiacs & Director – Birla Open Minds Education Pvt Ltd for an exclusive interview with us.
Tell us a little bit in brief about yourself?
Nirvaan Birla: I like to be identified as an ‘Edupreneur’! I am someone who aspires to create a positive value shift in the world with the economic resource of “learning”.
As the managing director and promoter of Birla Open Minds which was formed 11 years ago with the idea to transform education across the vast landscape of our country and ensure quality progressive education, I have always strived to enrich the legacy of Birla family.
With the focus and non-stop dedication of our team the brand has grown to over 120+ schools across 22+ states and 90+ cities and continues to grow at a steady pace.
How did you get your idea or concept of business?
Nirvaan Birla: The Birla family has a legacy of nation building and has always strived to provide best educational facilities to every stratum of society.
Aiming to nurture sensitivity towards the society, economic betterment of people as well as social transformation has been the ultimate goal.
This led to the thought that there was a glaring need to focus on high-quality, low-cost and replicable interventions to address gaps in the education system.
New challenges demand novel approaches to the process of teaching-learning and we wanted to meet this demand. This is what inspired us to take this leap.
What services does your business offer?
Nirvaan Birla: We offer an array of services in the education sector ranging from curriculum and training solutions to over 120+ schools and counting, across the country.
We provide the best ed-tech solutions through school-based support services which include: Curated Curriculum, Seamless integration with our LMS Platform, Fully Tech-enabled Schools, Real Time Operations Tracking & support – Software, course, documentation, tracking, education, e learning…you name it we have it!,
Teacher Training – Regular school visit by school support officers to work closely with teachers in collaborative lesson preparation meetings and provide various kinds of services (e.g., talks, seminars, workshops, classes and sharing) to facilitate teaching and instigate new initiatives, Workshops for students and teachers, Intensive on-site school support and being a part of elite Learning communities – The cross-school professional sharing aims at enhancing teachers’ professionalism and leadership.
We strongly believe that modern technologies like machine learning, virtual reality, artificial intelligence among others, can be involved in bridging the vital gaps.
Our Birla Brainiacs app which is a pioneering initiative in delivering Ed tech solutions Right from online schooling embodying a blended ‘hybrid’ learning system and courses targeting skill development such as coding to home-schooling, we have left no stone unturned.
However, India has manifold diversities with regard to cultures and beliefs. There exists a huge socioeconomic class divide in India, which is impenetrable.
Through our Vocational Skill Development programs we strive to bridge this gap and create a generation that is fully employed and contributing to the society.
What is unique about your business?
Nirvaan Birla: We offer a teaching–learning environment where students take control over ‘what’ to learn and ‘how’ to learn. We prepare teachers to help them in this voyage.
Our endeavour is to offer great opportunities for students to learn new information and skills, as well as harness their own unique qualities and interests at their own pace.
We are committed to meeting the needs of the 21st century learners and helping them thrive through a variety of educational experiences, we help them build upon the 4 Cs (critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication), which is the cornerstone to becoming a successful learner.
Our belief that students need to work together and experientially learn and not be dependent only on a peripheral understanding of concepts brings in the many amenities and services; the most important being a strong support system in the form of interactive content and teacher support.
What was your mission at the outset?
Nirvaan Birla: Our Mission at the outset was to design and develop a progressive curriculum and support the schools such that we ensure holistic development of a student.
Through our institutions, we strived to prepare economically independent, skilled and innovative individuals, who will be leaders in their respective fields.
Also, through our holistic approach, we ensured that these students will be sensitive and committed to protecting and preserving the social and physical environment and building a just and humane world.
How many employees are there in your organization?
Nirvaan Birla: We have the Crème de la crème from every sector working hand in hand to make this endeavor a success. Right now we have over 500 employees and at the pace we are growing the number is bound to expand.
Birla Open Minds (BOM) is one of the largest employer’s in the country with a mega gross employee addition over the last year.
The company has a market leading presence in end-to-end offerings across Employee Lifecycle Management right from training & skill development to deployment of resources for clients across sectors which maximize the value creation for both the individual and the organization.
What are the goals of your company?
Nirvaan Birla: Building a future ready generation across the social strata has always been our end goal and Birla group of schools and our tech driven version ‘Birla Brainiacs’ has been consistently striving at achieving this dream of a country that has the privilege of uniform education to one and all.
How do you build a successful customer/client base?
Nirvaan Birla: We provide our customers/clients with 360-degree support. The support enables every school under the Birla banner to successfully move forward and implement the progressive curriculum with trained teachers and staff members who understand and appreciate the vision of this company.
By providing quality education and training, using the best practices and focusing on the holistic development of our students and staff, by following the NEP guidelines and integrating progressive, tech enabled platforms and teaching/learning methodologies we keep our clientele base loyal and steadfast to our company.
What have been some of your failures and what have you learned from them?
Nirvaan Birla: Well we strongly believe that failures are stepping stones to success and we learn from them. Though there have not been any major failures to list, our lack of marketing and brand promotion did make us not so visible in the industry.
Basically our focus was on academics which led to us being blindsided to the important task of building an awareness of our product in the market. However, we have overcome this roadblock beautifully.
Who has been your greatest inspiration and why?
Nirvaan Birla: My greatest inspiration has been my father for the way he has dealt with all the challenges life has thrown his way, yet soldiered on strong and composed, and how is always there for those who need him.
What are some of the mistakes that you have made in your professional life?
Nirvaan Birla: Less focus on branding and marketing in initial years to make the project cost effective was one of the mistakes.
Also, there were multiple brand names under one umbrella and maybe that led to our brand getting overshadowed. But then Good judgment comes from experience and mistakes are experiences too.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what it would be?
Nirvaan Birla: Push your limits and strive to deliver your best. There is no substitute to hard work but working hard without passion won’t yield results. Being passionate is the only stairway to the door that leads to success.
Does your company help the community and society?
Nirvaan Birla: At Birla Open Minds we believe in respect for human rights, respect for differences in views, we have diversity and non-discrimination as the guiding principal, and we believe in retaining the core principles of the community and strive to add value to society.
Economic and social development of one and all is our motto. Our company has been conducting innumerable CSR activities.
It is obvious that the education sector has undergone an overhaul in the last decade and now more so with the pandemic and all the baggage it brought along.
The underprivileged children faced the harshest blow when it came to learning owing to the lack of access to technology and the exorbitant costs involved.
We understand that helping one child might not change the world but it might change the world for that child for sure!
As a small gesture of support and philanthropy from our end, in collaboration with the Being Human Foundation, we distributed much-needed tabs free of cost to the children in an NGO in Pimpri, Pune to ensure their learning progresses smoothly.
Under this initiative, students can gain access to an array of learning resources and virtual sessions at no cost.
In collaboration with the Aakankasha foundation, we have taken initiatives like ‘Fist full of grains’ to distribute food and groceries to orphanages and blind schools.
We purchased bags made by students at Aakanksha foundation and distributed the same to our business partners and students.
Building a future ready generation across the social strata has always been our vision and Birla group of schools and our tech driven version ‘Birla Brainiacs’ has been consistently striving at achieving this dream of a country that has the privilege of uniform education to one and all.
We hope you find the inspiring story of Mr. Nirvaan Birla, Founder – Birla Brainiacs & Director – Birla Open Minds Education Pvt Ltd useful and inspiring through your entrepreneurial journey and will keep you inspired.
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