Meghna is the co-founder of SWAN Livelihood. Based in Delhi, India, SWAN Livelihood is a start-up that aims to improve the quality of the youth workforce by offering a range of training programs and counseling sessions, providing them with necessary skills while preparing them to create harmonious and fruitful relationships with their employers.
While Covid-19 has impacted youth job aspirations, SWAN Livelihood gathered data about the pain points they were suffering, producing online courses that would benefit them in a post-coronavirus world. Meghna’s vision is simple: to improve the quality of the workforce while putting a smile on their faces. We’re so inspired by Meghna’s story, so we chat to her to find out more about this amazing initiative.
Who are you and what brand did you start?
My name is Meghna and I am a budding entrepreneur, an artist, nature lover and along with Dr. Anil Joshi, we founded SWAN Livelihood.
I studied in Delhi India, and possess an eclectic academic background within Commerce, Business Economics, Environment and Development. Professionally, I have also had experience working in the Corporate and Social sectors in project management and operations where I have honed my skills in training, managing and monitoring skill development centers.
My brand SWAN Livelihood (Skilled Workforce Advancing Nation) is a start-up based out of Delhi, India. SWAN Livelihood focuses on improving the quality of youthful workforce through innovative training programs and counselling sessions. Our mission is to bring smiles on scores of youth and develop a congenial atmosphere in the workplace with satisfied employers. We strive to work with dedication and total commitment in our endeavor to achieve the goals.
BRAND IDEA - how did you come up with the idea for SWAN Livelihood?
The collective experience of working in the Corporate and Social sectors and managing the operations of various skill development centers helped me in gaining a deep understanding of the pain points of the youth coming from the economically weaker sectors.
It also gave me greater insight into the problems employers who employ unskilled youth face.
In an endeavor to resolve these issues through a systematic process, skill development became my passion that ultimately led to the seeding of SWAN Livelihood. Our underlying mission is to resolve the pain points these youth face by training and preparing them for a harmonious and fruitful relationship with employers.
However for myself, my co-founder and our staff, the main inspiration comes from seeing the smiles from the youth we’re supporting. Everyday we strive to improve the quality of the youthful workforce through innovative training and counseling sessions. Since inception, and even during lockdowns, our operation has maintained and even expanded to online training workshops where we can make sure our students are developing their professional skills ready for the post-Covid world.
BRAND LAUNCH - take us through how you launched SWAN Livelihood.
SWAN Livelihood was launched in January 2020 with a training curriculum that was focused on comprehensive in-class training followed by connecting the participants to the employers.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the operations of all at the TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) institutions including SWAN Livelihood came to a complete halt which naturally impacted the job aspirations of innumerable youth.
During the ensuing lockdowns we were able to gather data about the ‘pain points’ people were facing - from youth in youth in lower socio-economic areas, to college students and even working professions.
To tackle the situation and to provide counseling support, SWAN Livelihood launched a new up-skilling platform called ‘Skill-X’, which included specially designed workshops to train the youth for a competitive professional environment and an environment in a post-pandemic world. These online workshops focus on enhancing proficiency in ;
- Creative Planning
- Writing Emails
- Effective Communication, and
- Setting Goals.
Each workshop has a series of reflective modules, evoking creative consciousness through creative self discovery, mind mapping and visual journaling. All our courses are designed in-house and are continuously optimized using a combination of feedback from participants as well as R&D to ensure they’re as current and targeted as possible.
We conduct detailed surveys with participants, discussing the problems being faced when seeking employment, the skills they would like to acquire and further upgrade on their existing skills, and have helped in preparing these modules. Since Covid began, our online training sessions have been received well from both college students, early stage working professionals and also our more experienced professional clients. These online sessions are conducted either as 1-1 private sessions or as group sessions. We’ve found that using self-reflective exercises, activities and frameworks have really helped to build individuals' capacity as well as their understanding of their true potential.
During SWAN Livelihood brand journey, we have been reminded again and again of the real and significant lack of mentorship support in communities. Robust mentor-mentee connection can truly help create opportunities for the individuals in addition to helping them appreciate their potential. This fact is especially crucial for female professionals and female entrepreneurs.
In order to provide new avenues to budding entrepreneurs SWAN Livelihood is holding networking, discussions, learning and brainstorming sessions every Sunday where we discuss issues and common interests. These new sessions are called as a part - the Sunday Learning Circle and fall under our Skill-X initiative and their objective is to disseminate each other's work and thoughts, facilitate connecting like minded individuals, capture ideas and suggestions and/or support that can help in finding new dimensions and forge partnerships.
ONLINE STORE SETUP - what are your top 2 tips for successful Ecommerce store setup.
- Product description - always provide a description and ample details of the product you wish to sell.
- Delivery times - we suggest mentioning the likely time required for the delivery of the product.
CUSTOMER RETENTION - what has worked best to attract and retain customers?
Engaging existing customers through live sessions and news bulletins is important.
Also offering discounts to return/repeat customers on products being sold, is a great way to maintain engagement.
SOCIAL - what are your top 2 tips for successful use of social media to engage with customers.
- Hold live informative sessions on various themes that relate to your business/niche.
- Invite old customers to share testimonials about their experience of your brand/product/service.
BUSINESS GROWTH INSIGHTS - how has SWAN Livelihood changed and evolved?
Initially we used to hold in-class training sessions, post COVID we switched to our operations online and all the operations are conducted virtually.
MANAGING CHANGE - what are the top tips you’d suggest others adopt to safeguard their business.
- Remain patient and maintain balance.
- Do not allow the adversities to bog you down.
- Be alert and look for opportunities that may spring up...they always do.
FUTURE BUSINESS PLANS - how is SWAN Livelihood doing today and what does the future look like?
Since launch we’ve expanded to both classroom training and virtual sessions. Looking ahead, we plan to diversify further into e-learning to impart skill-based learning to many more people.
Future projections appear better as skill development is being more impetus as apparent in the SDGs-2030 that advocate technical, vocational education training (TVET), decent work opportunities and providing help to young adults.
ENTREPRENEUR INSIGHTS - what has been your biggest learning experience since starting SWAN Livelihood ?
Patience, resilience, innovative attitude and self-confidence are some virtues that an entrepreneur must nurture.
ONLINE BUSINESS TOOLS - what are the business software tools you couldn't live without?
WordPress - we had to create a website of our own to shift the entire work online.
For Design we use Canva - it has been great to help us develop workshop material and creative.
Both these tools have become essential for us.
See what tools other founders use here.
SELF DEVELOPMENT - what are the educational resources you’d recommend?
Start with WHY by Simon Sinek
INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE ‘shout-out’ - who have been the most influential people for you during your brand journey?
My team, parents and mentors have been the strong pillars of support during our journey and have always helped in sailing through difficult situations.
FINAL WORDS OF INSPO - for other aspiring entrepreneurs.
Self- belief can do wonders.
Latest offers & promotions - where can we go to learn more about your latest offers and promotions?
Please visit our website www.swanlivelihood.co.in,
You can know more about us through our Facebook and Instagram pages @swanlivelihood and on our Twitter handle @slivelihood.