“I couldn’t feel more lucky to have pitched alongside such an amazing team. Winning the award for the best pitch at #Vertex18 is the first step towards our goal of making DECNA the future of education.” – Mallika Boobna, co-founder of DECNA
DECNA is the Hindi word for ‘vision’, and together this team launched their project as a way to achieve theirs – to increase job employment for marginalised groups in India. At the earlier stages of the project, DECNA won “Best overall pitch” at the Vertex 2018 summit in London.
As shared in an interview with Christina Connel from The Courage magazine, “DECNA started as a class project in Storytelling and Persuasion. It was there that we met each other. We had to do a project in which we had to create a social enterprise. This business was DECNA. We presented in front of the class, we won, we participated in The Vertex…”, said co-founder Marie–Louise Maitre.
They’ve made astonishing progress since then, placing as finalists at the 2019 Hult Prize ahead of thousands of hopeful social ventures. Unfortunately, they weren’t fortuned the grand prize of $1million at this stage, which would have been presented by former US president Bill Clinton. But the team has made a remarkable pivot in its aftermath.
Mallika Boobna shared on her LinkedIn profile, “one of the major highlights of the last term for me was creating The Social Entrepreneurship Society with my teammates, Zachary Benetatos and Marie-Louise Maitre. The aim of the society is to encourage and help people who are working with enterprises in the impact center. We plan to build a community of future leaders who will change the world one day. It was an honor for us to organize a Social Impact Bootcamp right after having built a social enterprise ourselves. It was fun to talk about the formula of a perfect pitch, the importance of storytelling and, the tips and tricks needed to sell an idea. Having heard so many astonishing ideas, I can’t wait for these entrepreneurs to do amazing things with their startups.”
One takeaway from this level of progress was shared in the same interview by Zachary Benetatos, DECNA co-founder and volunteer in the Vertex Inspire series. “it is important to recognize that DECNA has changed 15 times or more. Change is important. That’s what we learned because what we presented in class was different from what we presented in the Vertex, and that was different from what we presented in the regionals and the accelerator. We went from waste collection to fashion, you name it. There were teams in the accelerator who where pivoting in the third week of the program.”
Interview with thecourage.co.uk: https://thecourage.co.uk/decna-visionaries-for-the-youth/