A report by Ohio University says that 70 percent of students are stressed about their finances be it loan, job or supporting their family. The same is the scenario in India as well. The pressure on students to start earning is common and mostly in the lower income generating families. This is the problem that FeedMyPockets, a Bangalore-based start-up is working towards. The fastest growing student engagement platform helps students earn their living while they study. With the moto ‘Getting the Youth to Work’, the company helps students get part-time flexible jobs to support their expenses without disturbing their education.
Founded by two techie friends the organization works towards helping students support themselves financially while they are studying. It helps in two ways, one – it ensures they don’t leave their college because of financial reasons and second it gives them the work experience before they pick up a full-time job.
Here is a brief from a chat with one of the founders, Prashant Janadri who talks about how his friend from BE graduation at the Bangalore Institute of Technology became his partner. Read further to know what triggered the creation of FeedmyPockets while Prashant was working with Wipro as an engineer and Naveen, had just returned post doing his Masters from UK.
What gave you the idea to create FeedMyPockets?
We often come across news covering about a student who committed suicide, we read, turn the page and move on. What we don’t realize is that the number isn’t as low as 1 but rather as high as 1 student committing suicide every 1 hour in India! (Hindustan Times).
It was a Saturday evening and we were in an auto-rickshaw headed to a snacks joint. As soon as we started, the autowalah received a phone call and stopped the auto. He was devastated and, suddenly bursted into tears. We learnt about what had happened after some questioning. He told us that he is struggling to pay his son’s college fee, and he is about 3000-3500 rupees short. He also talked about his other son, who was depressed as he was eager for education, but could not fulfill his study related expenses, and ended up committing suicide. The driver was not ready to lose his only son now. We checked our pockets and took out whatever money we had and paid him 2900 rs.
But this incident kept playing on our minds and we wanted to do something about it. Naveen and I decided to help thousands of students by helping them in paying for their college fees and giving them the confidence they need to be ready for the world out there. And FeedMyPockets was created.
How it all started?
We created a Facebook page ‘Part time job seekers in Bangalore-Students jobs’ and surprisingly we got 1500 forms in a month. We knew we were heading in the right direction. With the help from our colleagues and friends, we created a website and the app for ease of access. Today we have got nearly 50,000 students enrolled with us, have placed 5000+ jobs and have disbursed nearly 50 lakhs (5Mn ) of pocket money so far.
What challenges did you face?
Were people open to the concept of studying and working at the same time?
Well, while the initial responses on our Facebook page was great; in India working and studying together is not valued. So bringing that thought itself was a challenge. However we also know that with increased fee structure few students take up part time jobs anyway but those are mostly data entering jobs. What we convinced them on was not only will they earn but will have a work exposure in their field; this worked well.
We started with a survey through street ads and online but we had literally no clue on how to get genuine and appropriate part-time jobs. After a lot of struggle, we understood how part time and temporary workforce are important for start-ups, branding agencies, marketing research companies and event management. This is the information we were looking for.
We left our jobs to give FeedMyPockets the time and effort it required. We are now part of the the most trendy student engagement platform today!
What are your future plans?
By the end of this financial year (March-2018), we plan to place 10,000 jobs across PAN India. We also plan to have more organizations join us as part of their social contribution. We plan to promote youth empowerment, employment and skill development while providing career advice at a wider scale in the coming few months.
What the pocketeers say about their experience
“I finished my graduation and I was literally pressurized to get a job as I am from lower middle class and my father works as an auto driver and mother as homemaker. I happened to join FMP and I worked for 3 months and got confidence and better communication skills.
“If somebody is looking to utilize their free timings effectively, I recommend you to join here.” – Madhu
“I am from poor class family and I stay with my grandmother, as I lost my parents. I was always looking for part time jobs to support my studies and basic needs. I have been working with FMP since 1 year and happy to say it helped me to a lot in hard days” – Darshan
“I managed to pay my tuition fee and even bought two-wheeler by working in part times.
FMP has really helped me in improving socializing skills”– Rehman
“Being a student representative here was a wonderful platform to explore myself. I liked working here,FeedMyPockets feeds ‘our’ pockets!! “ – Revathi
“Becoming a student lead of my college in this company is like owning a franchise of FMP at my college. If you aspire to become entrepreneur, I suggest you first become a Student lead at FMP.” – Rahul