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We Need To Fortify Ourselves In Different Ways: Ronnie Screwvala

The effects of the pandemic are ubiquitous. In discussion with BW Businessworld, serial entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala speaks about how cinema industry will pan out, future demands and his venture Swades Foundation & changes in education tech

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The lockdown was porous and it had insurmountable effects on the world. In such grave times, people run helter-skelter for dealing issues related to uncertainty and business, but guidance from leaders on the ‘action plan’ can help them cope with. 

To answer some of these queries, BW Disrupt in association with BW Businessworld and BW Education organised a webinar ‘BW Dialogue on Entrepreneurship’. The second episode of the series feature Ronnie Screwvala. 

The founder of UTV, Swades Foundation and Unilazer Ventures, Ronnie Screwvala is a first-generation Indian entrepreneur and philanthropist. His niche in entrepreneurship is commendable. He has been named on Esquire’s List of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st century. 

When asked about how working from home in the last 70 days has worked for him, he said, “The mantra which stays with me is ‘less is more’. ‘Less is more’ has worked well for the team and the community. Though, the work from home is not ideal for every person because not everyone has the best infrastructure.” 

On his ability to spot business opportunities ahead of time, he shared that the grass is never greener on the other side and he is the living testimony for that. “As a first-generation entrepreneur, I have been through rough and tough times,” he said.  

Adding on to his point, Screwvala further said, he is very passionate about he does, but not emotional. “If you can segregate between the two that allows you to make decisions in a different manner,” he said.  

Ronnie Screwvala is of the opinion that in future, demand will struggle because the supply will be too much.  

On question about top qualities, he finds imperative before investing in a venture. Problem solving, attitude and approach, and communication skills are some of the few qualities. He strongly believes, communication skills are one of the important qualities in the 21st century. He also commented that the sector which he would be interested in to invest other than Ed Tech would be Health Tech because it is humongous. 

Wearing his hat of executive chairman and co-founder of online education platform upGrad , Screwvala also said, “There is a deep sense of learning experience that needs to come whether it’s the K12 or higher education or test- prep sector. And the companies that have been around for the last four to five years in building EdTech platforms even before this present pandemic which has only made it more acute, are the ones who have deeply invested in learning experience and insuring that online learning is equal to offline learning in many aspects.” 

The first-generation entrepreneur further said that there is a sense of urgency that has crept in for most of the people, which is good. “The educational institutions and the government have woken up and are evangelizing that,” he pointed out.

Furthermore, talking about the future of EdTech industry, Screwvala stated that India can be a global destination for online learning as the country does not lack if compared to others. He also believes that post-COVID the education industry will double in terms of investment and consumption. 

Answering to the question on what keeps him busy, he shared that the work Swades Foundation is doing for rural India keeps him busy. “Swades Foundation is a lifetime commitment. Reverse migration is the biggest problem we can face and other sectors as well. We are making opportunities for the migrant population to stay back,” he said. 

On giving his opinion on how the cinema industry will pan out in the days to come, he said, “Cinema windows will have problems. There will be a substantive shift in the economics of cinema but not in the storytelling. There still has to be consistency in content creation.” 

The session also saw participation from media panelists Nawal Ahuja, Co-Founder & Director, exchange4media Group and Noor Fathima Warsia, Group Editorial Director, BW Businessworld.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Sonakshi Goel

The author is an intern with BW Businessworld.

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