My four-year-old asks me not less than hundred questions each day. Some days, I am very patient and can answer most of them, but there are days when I just do not have the answers. I am told that this curiosity is a great thing.
Ritika Amit Kumar’s The Young Chronicle was born out of the need to provide good, meaningful content to kids of all age groups. The Better India caught up with her to understand why she chose to start a child-centric newspaper and app, learn about her journey and her plans for the future.
Foundation for The Young Chronicle
In 2009, Ritika started a social networking portal called AchaBacha.co.in while still pursuing her MBA degree at MICA, Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad.
She says, “I had a fair amount of experience in e-learning and had created close to 300 education-based scripts. I also had many colleagues who were grappling with parenting issues. They were all first-generation parents stepping out to work, leaving behind their children at day-cares or with help at home.”
The virtual network she created was a one-stop-solution to all the issues that parents might have. The Young Chronicle was a part of this network.
Along the way, she went on to work with various corporates, but her heart was always with creating something for children in the education space. At one time, she was running three start-ups simultaneously, which is when she decided to wind down one of the three and concentrate on building The Young Chronicle.
The birth of an exclusive children’s newspaper
Early 2016 is when she made a conscious decision to hire only mothers to work on The Young Chronicle. She reached them on various online portals.
She says, “My focus was solely on making important content easy and fun for children to understand. I wanted children to have all their questions answered without having to wait till they grew older.”
She continues, “Many people from well-known organisations applied. Some of them were on a sabbatical, others had chosen to stay at home with their children, and some had to quit owing to the transferable jobs of their husbands.”
Many of the writers bring to the table over ten years of experience in fields like remote sensing, pharma, finance, and marketing. With them, Ritika managed to build a strong team of passionate mothers who shared her same vision.
The Young Chronicle
The best part of this newspaper is that it is made for children at various reading levels.
Explaining this, Ritika says, “A question asked by a six-year-old and 10-year-old might be similar but how we answer it needs to cater to their levels of understanding. The Young Chronicle addresses this issue.”
The papers are put together at four levels, one each for classes 1, 2, 3, and the last one for classes 4-7.
“No two children have the same reading level. Understanding this has been the key to our success. Ensuring that the content we create marries the capabilities of the child is very important to us,” says Ritika.
They arrived at this understanding after surveying what books children were reading at different age groups. They analysed content from over 150 books, and mapped it to international reading levels.
The Young Chronicle is available in two different formats for children – a physical copy mailed every fortnight and an e-version e-mailed each week. A quarterly subscription to the printed version will cost Rs 600 and Rs 360 for the e-version. With over 500 paid subscribers, they are working on reaching many more homes and children.
The takeaway from being an entrepreneur
One of the prime concerns of budding entrepreneurs is funding. Ritika says, “While I had money to begin, I felt that it was not enough to scale up. But with the growth, I realised that that is the last thing to worry about. If the idea is strong enough, you will find ways to execute it.”
The other key is recruiting the right people. “My breakthrough came when I started hiring mothers. To have people in your team aligned in the same way makes a world of difference,” she concludes.
The Better India wishes Ritika and her team the very best for their venture.
To know more about The Young Chronicle, look up their Facebook page here.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)