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Education as an Enabler: The ProBano Story Part 2

What is ProBano?

ProBano comes from the merging of Pro, from the English word “professional” and Bano, a Hindi word which means “to become”.

The name is filled with meaning, as ProBano seeks to provide career guidance. They began with an initial target audience of middle and high school students, but has since expanded to serve college and Industrial Training Institute (ITI) students too.

ProBano aims to provide career guidance in a simple 3 steps process.

The first step involves bringing awareness of the different career options available to the students. Students also take psychometric tests, which helps them to understand their strengths and interests better so they are empowered to make their own career choices. Students then shortlist 2 to 3 career options they are interested in exploring.

The second step is career planning, in which students go through mentoring sessions for their selected career options via online modules, webinars and classroom sharing sessions. Experienced mentors from all walks of life share about their work and give practical advice to the students.

Last but not least, students go through skill building, in which they take specially developed career based courses based on their interests, such as Entrepreneurship and Automobile Technology. In this way, they can better equip themselves with the skill sets necessary for their ideal job.

It was not easy at all for the young entrepreneur when he first embarked on this journey. Aditya started out by searching for any opportunity he could find to meet students and counsel them on career options available to them. By sheer grit, he organised sessions in 9 schools at no cost. However, financial troubles lay ahead as he used up the start-up capital loaned from his father fairly quickly. Undeterred, he gave tuition to continue financing ProBano’s operations.

His big break finally came in August 2017. An engineer by training with no contacts in the education sector, Aditya attended the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) conference, which brought together educators, CSR leaders and entrepreneurs from all across India. However, the INR 2.5K entrance fees posed a challenge to the struggling entrepreneur. He managed to persuade the organization committee into giving him a student discount as he was a fresh graduate and eventually joined the conference at no cost.

Bold and fresh-eyed, Aditya talked to the speakers after their presentations and pitched ProBano to them. His lucky break came when he got a lead from a speaker from the Airtel-Bharti CSR team. She referred him to an individual who was the Head of Programs for Government schools. Opportunity knocked when he called Aditya one day and asked him to quote his services for a project which included career guidance sessions for 52 schools in Delhi and Haryana. Relieved and thrilled at getting his first big opportunity, he calculated only his travel and accommodation costs (without including any margin or service charges). As the cost was low, almost like a throw-away price, the officials got really excited and offered him the tender. To clinch the deal, he needed to complete the vendor registration and so ProBano was officially incorporated on Jan 8, 2018.


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