KUALA LUMPUR: Harsha Ravindran, an 18-year-old social entrepreneur, aims to impart her knowledge and experience to one million teenagers across Malaysia and around the world.
She began her entrepreneurship journey at age 11 after attending talks by a social business incubator. When she was 17, she founded her own start-up, StartMyName.com, which designs, builds and maintains websites, and it has since secured more than 400 clients in four continents.
Harsha shares her raw experiences navigating the entrepreneurial world in her just-published book The Makings of a Teenage Entrepreneur.
“This book documents both the fun, exciting experiences and the serious, hard-hitting stories of my journey as an entrepreneur – from positive experiences such as speaking at TEDx events, getting accepted into the University of Pennsylvania, how I grew my business to over 400 clients in one- and-a-half years, to more challenging circumstances such as learning how to manage clients, building a team and working hard to make the business grow.
“I hope that all of these experiences will inspire others to become entrepreneurs as well,” she told Bernama recently.
Harsha began writing her book on her 18th birthday on July 11, 2020 after getting non-stop text messages and calls from clients. This resulted in her working 24/7 to stay on top of things.
“Having spent my birthday flooded with Zoom meetings, calls and emails, I broke down and cried after a minor disagreement due to stress.
“For a moment, all my experiences of managing my business seemed to have been overshadowed by my emotions.
“Realising that many other teenage entrepreneurs around the world might be facing similar things, I decided to pen down my experiences as an entrepreneur over the last seven years as truthfully as possible.
“I wanted to share the ups and downs and lessons learnt from my experiences so that other teenagers can have a guide towards being an entrepreneur,” she said.
Harsha encourages teenagers not to be shy to explore and reach out because opportunities come with small steps.
“My first step towards becoming an entrepreneur was to attend talk shows held by a social business incubator called ET Ideas, and talking to entrepreneurs there.
“If you have an idea you are passionate about, go for it and find the right people who can bring the idea into reality,” she said.
Harsha, who is the chief executive officer of StartMyName.com and chief marketing officer at Ascendance Sdn Bhd, received the Diana Award for Young Changemakers 2019, in recognition of her social and humanitarian work.
She has also spoken at three TEDx conferences so far – TEDxYouth@SKIS, TEDxMonash University Malaysia and TEDxIMU at the International Medical University – and has been given the opportunity to speak at conferences both locally and internationally on topics ranging from “Gen Zs in the Workforce” to “Solving World Problems”.