It’s a man’s world’, but throughout history and in modern times, women too have played an important part in society. They are no longer treated as show pieces to be kept at home. India has always been the land of taboos and it is a tough job for parents to encourage the girl child to make a career as an entrepreneur. Despite the fact, few women are making their mark in this male dominated industry and are strong enough to break the barriers set around her and emerge as an example. One such example is Ms. Sneha Tapadia, founder, Jumpstart Preschool, who stepped out of the cocoon of her financial security to embrace her passion, nurture her dream and follow her heart.
Preschool education and daycares in India are highly unorganized with a gap between knowledge and the way it is imparted. Preschool years are when the maximum brain development happens with up to 97% of the brain getting developed till the age of 8 years. According to Sneha quality education for preschool can make a difference in how our society will turn out to be in future. Sneha says, “Investing in the first five years will decide how our nation and world’s human potential will be in the coming years. Jumpstart is a revolutionizing child development center based on the premise that every child is unique, every child is a genius and every child is special. Jumpstart has also played a crucial role in defining and redefining my personality. Preschool education not only gives me an opportunity to shape lives of children but also to shape and impact lives of team members and parents who are associated with us. Over a period of time I have realized that Jumpstart is unique by forming healthy parent partnerships through parent involvement in various activities. This helps us maintain the transparency every parent wishes and pairs for.”
Jumpstart today has multiple programs like the Learning Center for children from 6 months up to 10 years, Parent Toddler Program for newborns to children upto 2 years and also a day long school called 360 degree program for preschoolers. By adapting the right facilitators, teaching methodologies, state of art infrastructure and modern technology, Jumpstart is a conductive learning environment for children; which fills the gap between knowledge and the way it is imparted. Jumpstart is meant to revolutionize the way children learn and develop. For Sneha, Jumpstart is more than a business. It is a getaway by which she gets an opportunity to change lives of more than 1000 children and more than 100 women who work at Jumpstart.
When discussing about balancing work and life responsibilities, Sneha asserts, “It has only been over period of time that I have realized that there is nothing called asprioritizing work over your normal usual life or vice versa. Like most women entrepreneurs, I too have struggled to balance both in my initial years of conceptualizing Jumpstart. However, I have realized that both are important and need their due investment of time and efforts.It is not this or that; it is about this and that together. The investment of time and efforts has to be on a horizontal graph putting both work and family life at an equal priority and not on a vertical scale where one of them is given a higher priority over the other. I am trying to balance both by presetting my time commitments to work and to family life.”
Family plays a very pivotal role in the life of an entrepreneur. According to Sneha, she is at such an excellent place in life only because of the faith, trust and belief that her family ha s shown in her. They have made her realize that she has infinite potential which just needs to be explored. When emotional needs are taken care of at home; work place becomes a place where you display your passion, your goals, use your expertise and judgment. She says, “My father has always been a role model for me. ‘Never stop trying’ is what I have learnt from him. Even after retiring he works relentlessly on 3 new business projects. He is an epitome of energy and enthusiasm. From him I have learnt that you are your own hurdle and that you need to overcome only that in life. My Mother in law is my biggest inspiration. She too works with me at Jumpstart. I have learnt to focus more on “giving’ rather than “receiving” in any relationship; whether it is with children, with my team, or with anybody associated with Jumpstart. She has been instrumental in getting this shift in my attitude towards everything in life. My Husband is my backbone. He motivates me to become better at everything and always pushes me to come out of my comfort zone. He is the one who gives me the most critical feedbacks needed for my transformation. I am what I am because of him. Jumpstart happened to me because of him.”
The goal of success for Sneha has been the zeal to do everything with perfection and excellence. This has always driven all her efforts and actions; let it be as simple a thing like formulating a SOP for the code of conduct of the team or designing the curriculum for young children. The entire effort has always been to execute everything par excellence.
Challenges and obstacles are all a very necessary part of any success journey. These challenges come in many forms. But, regardless of the challenge, facing up to it is the key. Sneha talks about the initial challenges she faced and overcame in her route to success. “From recruiting a passionate team to making the markets understand a niche service like our 360-degree program was the biggest challenge that I faced. The 360-degree program at Jumpstart is a daylong curriculum for preschoolers.Usually when typical preschool programs have duration for 3 hours; the Jumpstart 360-degree program runs for 7.5 hours. The idea is to help children participate in many activities like gymnastics, learning a foreign language, speech and drama which otherwise the child would not be exposed to because of less number of hours. Convincing parents to sign up for this day long program was challenging initially but later these children stood testimony to the effectiveness of the program.”
Seeking and giving advice are central to effective leadership and decision making. Sneha suggests that if you have the desire and aspiration there is always a way. How much ever busy you become with other roles and responsibilities, the desire keeps making more amount of time for you in a day. She concludes, “When I started this venture, I was a newly-wed and getting adjusted to new routines and ways of life of this new family. It was a change and change is never comfortable. Back then, without a child, I felt my hands were full with enough responsibilities and I always used to wonder as to how I would accommodate more responsibilities with a child. Today with a 5-year-old daughter, with regular investment of time on fitness and social circles, I still feel I have enough time to do something more.” It is just the attitude that you carry towards life. It is about seeing the glass half full rather than half empty. It is about giving the best with whatever resources you have rather than looking and wishing for what you do not have.