How These Moms Are Working Towards Creating A Smarter Generation
Ten years ago, two friends from IIT Delhi, Pooja and Shivani faced a problem that almost all working mothers face - finding a reliable and high-quality childcare solution. The problem was amplified further because both deeply understood the importance of early years, how brain developed during this period and how these years would shape the rest of their children’s lives.
In 2007, Pooja was in the process of moving offices from Adobe San Jose to Adobe Noida with her family for a 2-year period. The transition plan looked great on paper except that when she landed in Gurgaon, she realized that finding a good option for early years education and care would be an impossible task.
At around the same time, in what was a happy coincidence, her batchmate from IIT, Shivani, also moved to Delhi with her two children and faced similar challenges. As they got talking, the realization hit home that early years education market segment in Delhi NCR had not been tapped and there was a significant latent need for a high-quality preschool program. Given that every parent scrambles to give their child a strong start and there is a large enough base of discerning parents who can afford it, the market was ready for an innovative early years education company.
Shivani Kapoor (L) and Pooja Goyal (R)
The Birth Of Intellitots
Pooja began to work on the business plan, interviewed many parents, Shivani ran a pilot program to understand the feasibility of the model and voila! Intellitots was born. Pooja recalls “When we launched Intellitots with a parent-infant and toddler program which was developed for children between the age group of 6 months to 2 years and their parents, the first question we would get asked was ‘What will you teach a 6-month-old baby? As we began to spread awareness and educate parents on how rapidly brain development happens during the first three years of a child’s life, the question gradually morphed into what can I as a parent do to make these years count.”
Pooja describes that ‘early success of the proof of concept was followed by inevitable questions that come with growth - should we raise funding or bootstrap, should we continue with company owned and operated model or franchise, how do we build teaching capacity in early years education and most importantly how do we maintain quality standards as we scale.’ After giving it much thought, Pooja and Shivani finally made a conscious choice to bootstrap the business, build their own innovative curriculum for early years in collaboration with Dr. Hardiman of Johns Hopkins School of Education and develop their proprietary teacher training and caregiver training programs. It helped to stay patient and focus on creating a fundamentally strong business with healthy profit margins and strong word of mouth.
Playtime at Intellitots
In the initial few years of the business, Intellitots team spent a lot of time and resources in conducting research, educating mothers, fathers and grandparents on how instrumental the early years are for the child’s brain development and what kind of stimuli, interventions work best for children. Over time, the hard work of foundation building paid off, and there were waitlists at the current centers and requests to open more and more centers.
Today, Intellitots has become synonymous with world class early years education and care and has impacted thousands of young families. Intellitots has recently joined hands with Founding Years, one of the most established childcare and learning organizations in the country in order to bring the highest quality of education and care to a much larger base of young children. Given that Founding Years has a pan -India network of daycares (under the brand Klay) which focuses on the needs of the mother empowering her to pursue her career without a break while the child is taken care of, this association will draw from the strengths of both companies and prove to be a boon for parents of young children.
Happy to be at Intellitots
The Smarter Generation
The amount of information a child is exposed to in one day today, is more than what an adult consumed in their lifetime a century ago. This has huge implications for families, educators and societies. Just 3 decades ago, before the onset of the internet, only parents, teachers, friends, family and books were the sources of information for children. Internet and social media has opened up a whole world of information that children have at their fingertips. Our education system needs to account for this massive shift. Today, while there is a realization of the need, not enough is being done to restructure our education system.
Pooja Goyal is the Founder and Director of Intellitots which is known for its path breaking work in the field of early years education and care. She is a serial entrepreneur, a children’s book author, a singer, a mother of two adorable girls and above all, an educationist with a desire to transform education. She has been awarded the ‘Woman of Substance’ award by Biz Divas for her contribution to the field of education and is a mentor to many women entrepreneurs.
D*****What a wonderful story and initiative