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Going digital

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I am 18, and plan to start my own business while pursuing higher education. I have no background in computer programming, but I’ve noticed that many start-ups are technology-based. How should I go about realising my dream of becoming an entrepreneur? 

- Shaurya Jain



Shaurya, it’s great to hear that you’re keen to start your own business and that you’ve been looking at which industries have the most potential. Tech hubs like Silicon Valley and East London’s Tech City are attracting people like you from around the world; individuals who are on their way to becoming entrepreneurs.


You haven’t mentioned your idea or area of interest—IT startups can be found in almost every industry—but perhaps you’re not at that stage yet. So let’s start from the beginning.


If you envision building an app or a business that is otherwise based on code, it would make sense for you to master the basics while you’re in school. Learning to code used to be quite daunting, but now there are many options that make this process easier. 


Codecademy (a company that I invested in) offers a user-driven experience based on a set of modules that would be easy to fit into your studies. Other solutions you might check out include Udacity, Girl Develop It and Code Racer, just to name a few. Whatever path you pursue in the long run, these skills will be an asset to you. At Virgin we are encouraging our employees to try their hand at coding, since it’s increasingly useful.


But if you don’t have a knack for coding, that’s not a problem, you can work with colleagues who do. Meanwhile, you should focus on developing your skills in the areas you excel at. For instance, given your interest in entrepreneurship, you might consider joining organisations that offer help with learning the basics of starting up a business.


When you begin tossing around ideas for your startup, don’t just limit yourself to apps and IT solutions. 






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