By Udgum Khadka, Educational Designer/Faculty, King’s College
After a brief interaction with one of my undergrad students, I got a hint that they prefer to have a class beyond the four walls of the classroom. She gave an example of an Art History class where she went to Bhaktapur Durbar Square (King’s Palace area). There she saw sculptures, art pieces, ancient weapons and tools. All those intrigued her to make more connections between Nepalese art and history.
Her request got me to thinking of an appropriate and relatable place to take the students of Entrepreneurship, where they could get the most out of the out-of-classroom experience.
It didn’t take me long to decide for a place, but, instead, I was haunted by what I would do after going there. After consulting with some colleagues and a person representing the place that I had in mind, we decided on broader aspects to cover.
On 10th February, I took the students to a well-known incubation and acceleration service provider of Nepal, NEXT Venture Corp. The NEXT Venture Corp has been working as an end-to-end support system for the young aspiring Nepalese entrepreneurs since last 3-4 years. It conducts various startup ecosystem building programs along with incubation and acceleration services as its core functions.
The company is housed in a happening building in the town, Movers and Shakers (M&S) tower. Movers and Shakers is also the holding company of NEXT Venture Corp. In M&S Tower, companies like NEXT Venture Corp is housed along with many other growing start-ups like FoodMario, Uptrendly, VMAG, Imagine Nepal etc. Many but not all of the startups are functioning under M&S holdings that are physically located in the tower.
The class, more like an interactive session (as you can guess from the set-up), took place on the 8th floor, in the balcony, of M&S Tower. From there, one could get a 360-degree view of the Kathmandu valley. The set-up and atmosphere were unlike any classrooms we have had in the past.
Kavi Raj Joshi, the MD and Founder of NEXT Venture corp, who also happens to be my classmate, and Deepak Jaiswal, the Founder of OHO Digital, shared the ground realities of working as entrepreneurs. They shared the struggle and challenges of being an entrepreneur in Nepal. Also, among many other insights, Kavi openly shared other services and companies like his working in the same field to help Nepalese entrepreneurs blossom.
The two hours went by so quickly. Students got engaged in their stories and asked them inquisitive questions. The speakers’ answers were based on their own experiences and understanding. After the interaction, the students were given a tour of the office spaces and work environment where the in-house startups work. The workspace was creatively designed giving a refreshing outlook (Oops! I should have taken pictures of the spaces too). Right after entering the workspace, one of the students said, “Oh wow, this is the kind of place I’d so love to be in and work for hours after hours”.
To study nature and forest, one immerses into the wilderness. To see, touch and know more about animals, a group is taken to a zoo. To experience and learn about drama, the students visit a theatre and/or are given roles to play. Similarly, this was an attempt to let the students of Entrepreneurship immerse into and experience an atmosphere designed to nurture and flourish aspiring entrepreneurs. Students not only got to interact with the entrepreneurs who have made their hands dirty but, they also got exposed to the entrepreneurial spirit that those people and space were transmitting.
With a little thought and minor coordination, I managed to identify and arrange a visit to an appropriate spot for the students of Entrepreneurship which made me realise that such excursions definitely provides students applicable exposure and opportunity to make a connection of the theories they study. If given a thought, such playgrounds, can be identified for any subject be it Finance, Information Technology, Research, Marketing etc. Don’t you think so? Wouldn’t students benefit from escaping the four walls of the classroom once in a while where they can feel and sense the theories-in-action?