India’s young entrepreneurs are taking its innovative expression to an international level. Just recently, four girls from a government school in Kerala won global recognition for an entrepreneurial idea that quenches our recurrent thirst for coffee.
Sowndaryaa Lakshmi V, Dimple V, Sivanandana KB and Elisha Aenorie — students of Class 12 from Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Ernakulam — bagged the Popular Choice Award for a filter coffee capsule model at the TiE Global Student Pitch competition.
The said model of innovation is a travel-friendly coffee capsule called Kaapiphile, which is easy to store and consume. What’s even more unique about this product is that it is completely organic.
Each pill is made by compressing filter coffee into a capsule. The young innovators envision closing it with an outer covering of cassava to do away with the use of any synthetic materials. These chemical-free capsules are aimed to shield the coffee from moisture while packing it into portable shapes and sizes. All that’s left for you to do is drop the capsule into a glass of milk or water. Dissolving within seconds, it is ready to consume almost instantly.
But opening up to The Better India, team leader Sowndaryaa confesses that the main objective was never to win a prize through the product, but only to disseminate the culture of their country.
The idea struck her while watching a video of tea capsules based on a similar concept. “I could find nothing similar for coffee anywhere. Filter coffee is a major tradition in south India, but is not very popular with the rest of the world, or even north India. So we decided that through our innovation, this culture should spread globally,” she shares.
The opportunity to create something like this came through mentoring sessions conducted at the girls’ school by TiE Kerala. Reporting the process, Sowndaryaa says, “We received 40 hours of mentoring sessions under the programme. This was followed by the formation of groups.”
TiE is a global not-for-profit organisation focussed on fostering entrepreneurship on the world level. It hosts various programmes including TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE), which aims at nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset among high school students of Classes 9 to 12. Going beyond theoretical basics, this programme integrates classroom sessions, mentoring and business-plan competition to inculcate skills of leadership and business in the students.
“The team had an idea of creating a filter coffee capsule. To develop this into a product for the competition, we assigned them mentors who specialise as entrepreneurs in the retail sector. They underwent training, guidance and all the necessary preparation required to enter the global competition,” says Anooplal PM, manager at TiE Kerala.
The programme is gaining ground in various government and public schools across the country. India currently has approximately 18 branches of TYE identified as Chapters. Team ‘Kaapiphile’ won the Business Plan Competition at the Chapter Level first. It then went on to represent TiE’s Kerala Chapter at the Global Finals of TYE competition. This event is held in the United States, but was conducted online this year due to the global pandemic.
There were a total of 21 teams competing at this international level platform. Of these, ‘Kaapiphile’ became one of the eight teams that participated in the competition from India.
Currently, these young women hold a representational pitch video of their product. They aspire to further their creative idea into a full blown business after completing their schooling.