Like many path-breaking ideas, the origin of I Create was in the unfortunate incidence of riots, police firing on and death of a few unemployed youth trying to enlist for the army during Kargil war. What started as a compassionate act has turned in to a movement for entrepreneurship development for the underprivileged and disadvantaged.
How I Create Came Into Being
One of the founders of I Create, Inc., Harsh Bhargava, was visiting India from the US in 1999. The Kargil war was going on. The army had advertised for 120 positions. There were so many unemployed youth that over one hundred thousand young men showed up for the jobs. A riot broke out, the police opened fire and three young men died - three young men who had come looking for jobs to support their families! The idea of I Create was born in his mind. Harsh and his wife Aruna had lived in the US for over 30 years. Their children were grown. Harsh and Aruna decided to start an organization that would help create jobs and job creators or entrepreneurs through entrepreneurship training.
Coincidentally, as part of Harvard Business School Alumni outreach program, Harsh had volunteered to help NFTE (Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship) with inner city kids in New York. There he met and heard the Founder and President of NFTE, USA, Steve Mariotti, speak. He was so impressed with Steve and his sincere efforts to help disadvantaged youth and NFTE's practical curriculum for teaching entrepreneurship that he felt certain, that the NFTE training would help the disadvantaged Indian youth immensely not only to become entrepreneurs, but also, to acquire employability skills. Rather than reinvent the wheel, Harsh and Aruna decided to take the NFTE program to India. Steve readily agreed. Once in India, they adapted the NFTE program for India. For example, Indian youth needed Indian role models to read about. So Aruna interviewed a large number of Indian entrepreneurs who started from scratch, struggled and became successful. Of these, she selected 12 entrepreneurs and wrote a book called, "Everyday Entrepreneurs: The harbingers of prosperity and creators of jobs." The book has a foreword by Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Group, and has been very successful in its purpose and has gone into its fourth reprint.
Originally, Harsh and Aruna had planned to start a small center in Jaipur, their hometown. Even though they both worked pro bono and two rooms in their home were dedicated to I Create free of charge, they needed funds for the staff and programs in India. Jay Misra, a common friend, and a philanthropist, introduced them to Dr. Purnendu Chatterjee (PC), Chairman of TCG (The Chatterjee Group). PC, already committed to the cause of entrepreneurship, enthusiastically lent his generous support for starting I Create centers in Jaipur and Kolkata. Fortunately for I Create, Sreedhar Menon, Chairman, Viteos Technologies Ltd., joined the I Create Board and has been a consistent and strong pillar of support to the cause.
A couple of years later, Harsh and Aruna met Siraj and Fauzia Bora in New Jersey. After hearing about I Create's work, they and their three friends from Gujarat decided to fund a center in Baroda. A year later they met Vishwa Prakash and his wife Sujata in New York and they offered to fund I Create's center in Bangalore. When Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande and his wife Jaishree heard and learnt about I Create & its mission and vision, they enthusiastically agreed to support a center at Hubli. Thus, with Centers in the East, West, North and South of India I Create has emerged as a national Integrated Entrepreneurship Training organization with Empowerment of the Disadvantaged and Creating job Creators as its mission.
These were the early beginnings of I Create. Since then, a very large number of organizations have joined hands and many more joining each year.