Aashish Birgi on Expanding Social Entrepreneurship and building MASH

In Entrepreneurs

Inspirations become the cause of action for many artists and entrepreneurs alike. In his teenage years, Aashish Birgi caught his initial entrepreneurial bug when he was moved to work on the spheres of social development. After representing India on numerous international domains, the young social entrepreneur decided to commence with his venture MASH Project which endeavors to make an ecosystem for social entrepreneurs of India.  

Highlights Of This Episode

  • Aashish  Birgi was moved by the prospects of human developments since his years in school.
  • Later he represented India in the Global Changemakers Global Youth Summit, London, United Kingdom.
  • He closely works on social developments related with waste development and builds an ecosystem of social entrepreneurs.

Quotes and Takeways

  • “….there are times when it would get difficult to retain good talented people and the process of joining and leaving goes on but, as an entrepreneur we must always strive to get the best people on board who are passionate, believe in your idea and ready to go an extra mile for the same.”
  • “Another thing, your closest people like family and friends could be loving and caring but, they can be misguided. They may not understand your true calling so, you should continue to follow your heart and never stop chasing your dreams.. “

 

Which was the conviction which inclined you to pursue entrepreneurship? Was it an event of chance or an effect of deliberate planning?

I believe entrepreneurship is more about the mindset. I have always believed that as human being we have immense potential in making a difference in others people’s lives and society at large. This is possible with innovative approach to do things and being an entrepreneur it gives you the flexibility to do so. I think this conviction led me to a path of being an entrepreneur.

You started building an ecosystem for social entrepreneurs with MASH Project. What are the key takeaway lessons which you have acquired so far? How has been your experience?

I have been working in the social sector since my school time, I used to volunteer with NGOs and this developed my interest for social sector. Later, I had a chance to represent India at Global Changemakers Global Youth Summit in London where I met many other like-minded young activists from across the world. This experience gave me confidence to pursue my interest further in this domain. During this journey, I had many high and low incidents and each had taught me a lot. Few key lessons – Self belief is very important, people may or may not believe in your idea and you should never doubt yourself. Another thing, your closest people like family and friends could be loving and caring but, they can be misguided. They may not understand your true calling so, you should continue to follow your heart and never stop chasing your dreams but, make sure it does not impact your relationships with your closest people as well.

These experiences have been very enriching and has helped me make better decisions every time.

Aashish Birgi

In a flashback, which were the most challenging times for yourself as an entrepreneur? How did you get ahead of such a time?

MASH Project is a youth-led, non-profit organisation and building an eco-system for social entrepreneurs. As a voluntary-run organisation we have challenges in retaining good talented people. It gets hard to sustain the organisation with minimal resources and sometimes you have to go an extra mile so, work doesn’t get affected. So I have wore multiple hats many times and did varied jobs to overcome such challenges.

In a world which is fast changing, do you think innovation is eventually losing its impact? 

I think innovation is the bottom-line of continued evolution and commercialization can not sustain without innovation so, I don’t think it will lose its impact ever.

Do you think that more students should come forth to purse unconventional professions? 

Yes, of course! I think there is plethora of options for young people today and they must go beyond what is available to them. They should take the path which is not taken before and leave a trail for others to follow.

How do you look at the impact and necessity of waste management in India? 

I have closely worked with waste management sector and I believe we have a long way to go when it comes to matching with western countries. With growing population, we have a huge waste being generated everyday and this waste goes to our landfills which have exhausted their capacities. We have worked on micro-based decentralized models of waste management that converts solid waste into valuable resources like food waste into manure, plastic waste into fuel and horticulture waste into biomass pellets. This ensure zero waste is being sent to the landfills. We have also rehabilitated existing workforce and brought them into an organised stream by training, giving minimum wages and providing them proper tools and uniform.

This created an impact at the bottom of pyramid along with environmental benefits.

It is said that behind an able man, there are many able men. How much important do you think is team building? 

Absolutely! No entrepreneur in this world has succeeded without a great team. I had a great fortune of having a wonderful team. Like I said above, there are times when it would get difficult to retain good talented people and the process of joining and leaving goes on but, as an entrepreneur we must always strive to get the best people on board who are passionate, believe in your idea and ready to go an extra mile for the same.

What is your message for our readers who are mostly the MILLENNIAL youth?

As young people of this global society, we have the power to bring any change that we want. There’s so much out there that we can do and make a dent in the universe! And it’s only possible when we go outside of our comfort zone to do it. Whenever you feel let down, always believe that things happens for a reason and something better is in store, and like Steve Jobs once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”