Published: 02nd September 2020
This platform connects college students with causes and opportunities they are passionate about. Here's how
The Codots programme was set up by college students who were hungry for an opportunity. Here's how they set up and offered a platform that manages to do the same
The Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development campus’ library in Tamil Nadu was boiling with ideas in 2016. For the co-founders of Codots, Shilpa P and Rajesh Mayilvelan and creative head Vishnu Priya, it turned out to be the exact place where they realised that a strong platform that could utilise their abilities for social causes was exactly what they needed within the student community. In February 2019, they set it up themselves as graduates.
Connecting Dots Services or Codots began with a relentless push to build strong networks locally in Vellore, where they first set up. The social enterprise aims to build an action-oriented network of youth to connect students and various stakeholders. In a nutshell, they focus on education, employment, health and entrepreneurship by partnering with institutions and offering opportunities to students in these avenues.
Shilpa P, Co-founder
“Initiating our own enterprise from the ground up was a tedious task, with our limited resources, the lack of systems in place and an overload of ideas. Our priority was to build strong networks locally,” says Shilpa. Through its financial literacy and career guidance campaigns, Codots reached around 3,000 school students in Vellore. Around 500 more were brought into the programme through their entrepreneurship development workshops called Youth Agripreneurship.
Codots’ youth engagement platforms are available online and offline. Youthspace, the virtual platform, offers a comprehensive digital platform. This presents networks connecting various stakeholders, including government, non-government and private sectors, with spaces where students can find voluntary opportunities. The online platform and directory will be India’s first exclusive youth services directory. The connections made take into account inclusivity and the identity of each student.
Rajesh Mayilvelan, Co-founder
The Youth Resource Centre (YRC) is the organisation’s offline network. They explain, “Young people experience an important period of transitioning from childhood to adulthood. This section of India’s demographic can have a positive impact on socio-economic development if the young population is provided the right information, inclusive opportunities, support, services and, most importantly, a space where they can learn, unlearn, evolve and contribute for personal and social development.”
The Youth Resource Centre channelises student potential by offering institutional services, youth networking and a supportive physical environment. The pilot YRC project was set up in Ranipet, 20 km from Vellore.
Vishnu Priya, Creative Head
Rajesh explains the process: “We experimented with agriculture, setting up of a poultry farm and building marketing channels for the farmers in Vellore with the help of district administration and community, primarily the youth. Towards the beginning of 2020, we felt the need to have a holistic approach with a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Though they've come a long way, Codots' entrepreneurial journey has not been free of challenge. About the journey, they say, “Due to the emotional connection entrepreneurs have to their ideas, dealing with mental well-being becomes extremely important. Some plans may fail and some may be rejected and highly criticised. We have learnt that it is always okay to take a break, give time and seek help when needed.”