It started with a recommendation from Respected Director of GTU Innovation Council, Mr. Hiranmay Mahanta. I got interested and filled my Application form on Jul 13, 2018. My Application got approved on Sep 15, 2018 after getting scrutinized by the JY Team. Application followed with two more forms: ‘Additional Personal Details’ and ‘Sponsorship Form’. Finally on Sep 29, 2018,I received a mail congratulating me for being selected for sponsorship level 2 meaning the remaining fees of INR 36,000 to be paid and a note intimating “CONFIRMATION IS ON FIRST-COME-FIRST SERVE BASIS”.
Now, I started thinking of how would i pay the fees being determined of not paying a single penny from my parents pocket. Being a student i was not having a job which could even help in this. I talked with the JY Team to guide me and they suggested to get crowd funded, as earlier also few Yatris had made it that way. I discussed this with my friends and peers, most of them told to drop down the idea of being a Yatri and continue with my studies; but there were also people who encouraged me to at least try and experiment if something works.
I created a milaap crowd-funding campaign, and thought as this is India’s best platform so i will be easily getting it done.Shared it on social media, requested many people; But wasn't successful into it, after 10 days only INR 550 were collected and that too from my friends and colleagues. I tried to withdraw the money and try something else because at the time of withdrawal i only received INR 500 after subtracting the fees of milaap itself which was not good to me as if i would have crowd funded 36k i could only have approx. 33k in my hand. Which wasn't a good deal.
I knew that i don’t want any donation; I wanted to at-least give something back as an exchange. I thought for a day long and came up with an idea of proposal for sponsorship instead of crowd-funding. Then i prepared a proposal which you can find here. Started pitching the same to people i know and could approach. Mailed them the proposal,linkedin, facebook messenger,whatsaap chats and what not. Still nothing worked for a week and now i realized virtual talks won’t work and i started meeting people personally. The very next day i meet my papa’s friend, explained him all aspects and he was happy with the proposal but unfortunately being in engineering works the proposal of branding solution didn't work. Yet believing in me he gave me INR 4000. But as i was not gonna take any donation i asked to make his website in exchange which he accepted. This was more of a business than sponsorship, yet it was good to me.
Now i was more determined & confident to go for Yatra and started pitching it to more people.Days passed, I got a new suggestion from Mrs. Tosha Shukla (Pre-Incubation Manager, GIC)that why don’t you go and ask your College Principal. Then i immediately went to Mr. Hiranmay Mahanta (Director,GIC)and asked him for his written recommendation to Dr. A. M. Prabhakar (Principal, GEC Modasa). He added to also give an application to Vice Chancellor of my University. Fortunately, he was going to visit GIC the very next day and i got chance to meet him personally. I submitted a written application to Dr. Navin Sheth (Vice Chancellor,GTU), Hiranmay Sir personally talked to him on it, then VC sir asked me for the written recommendation of my principal along with the application and then he could think of.
The next day, I went to college to meet principal sir and after listening to me he happily signed the recommendation letter. I also submitted an application to principal sir and he stated that if GTU doesn't sponsor for the full amount, he will help for somewhere around INR 5000. I was filled with joy at that moment. Thanked him and returned home at night as my college is 100 KM from my college(Modasa to Ahmedabad). Next day i went back to University and saw that VC sir was not available. So I submitted the application along with a copy of proposal and recommendation to VC Office through a procedure which was mandatory. Now i took help of Dr. Tushar Panchal sir (Incubation Manager,GIC) to have a talk with VC sir and recommend me once again so that the process gets faster as time was ticking. After 2 days i got call from Tushar sir that VC has approved the Sponsership of INR 10,000, which was released soon.
I came back to my college, meet the principal and asked if what he can do. So he now asked for the confirmation of VC on paper and he will get me sponsored with what GTU has sponsored. I got it done and came back college in very rush as it was already 1 pm when i left VC office and had 3 hours of travel to my college. It was 4:30 pm when i reached college, Sir was in meeting. It was exactly 5:12 pm when i was able meet him. It was friday and office gets closed by 6:00 pm last to last. Sir was very kind, he understood my situation and immediately wrote me a cheque of INR 15,000. It was the very first time i was getting a cheque of Govt. of Gujarat.Why 15k when promised for 10k it’s also a long story to tell so i will make it short for you. One of my friend Nisarg Prajapati was also selected for the Yatra and had to pay same fee as of mine. But he was preparing for Gate Exam and also was not able to concentrate on Funding & Sponsorships, so with his permission i asked principal sir to allow me the fund he was about to sponsored to nisarg that was INR 10000, so in that concern he added up 5k to me. And finally i was sponsered INR 15000 from my college. Thanks Nisarg !!
So now i had INR 25,000 already sponsored. Along the way i was also trying companies and people to sponsor me. I got lots of rejection but as i told i was determined to go so as days passed i increased my pitching count. One night, I received $100 sponsored from Mr. Anuj Desai(Founder, Rentah.com) based out of USA, once i meet him in a talk at GIC. That too was credited into Harsh’s (friend) account as i was facing issues with my Paypal. I was also receiving mail reply from companies that you don’t fit into our domain, policy and other reasons.
Meanwhile i got chance to meet Dr. Bhavdeep Ganatra, Trustee of World Ayurveda Foundation. World Ayurveda Congress was going to happen from 14–17 Dec 2018, and he needed someone to handle the local office and core team member. I joined him immediately. After my last university exam on 3rd Dec, i went full-time till 20th Dec. He assured me a sum of INR 11,000 for the service and branding solution, but after successful completion of the work assigned.
I was getting mails from JY Team to pay the fees ASAP, so i approached Mr. Pravash Dey(Founder, BrandIndia Magazine), his current account was in process to be done and so his payment was also due. Now the day came when i got a mail stating Nov 30th being last day to get the payment done, else i will loose the opportunity. I had already paid INR 6000 of registration fee but still INR 30000 were to be paid. I was in extreme pressure, I only had half of the payment to be done, i took a quick call to my friends to whom i gave few capital to help them and asked the funds back in urgency. Even after that INR 10,000 was less only INR 20000 were arranged. So lastly i asked Mr. Shubham Jain(Founder, Brainton) to lend me the remaining sum.
Thanks a lot to god and my well wishers, that i had somehow managed the funds and paid the rest of fee within the last deadline. In total, Approximately I had personally mailed 150+ people & companies; personally spoked to 50+ people; all social media interactions including Linkedin are not counted yet. Once also tried facebook promotion with INR 160 as a budget.
So yes, this is how i was successful in managing the fees and learning lessons and skills out of it. The most important thing i understood is the “belief system OR Law of Attraction” whatever you name it. You may be the only person left who believes in you but it’s enough. It take just one star to pierce a universe of darkness. Hence, NEVER GIVE UP !!
It was quite easy to me to easily take help of such good people because i am in startup ecosystem since 2 years and i am someway working with them. Similarly you too can leverage your network. “Your Network is your Net Worth”. I hope this was a good read for you guys and you will pursue your dreams and won’t give up. Be a Hustler !!
Last thing i would like to say is: “To all of you going against the grain battling the naysayers STAY STRONG & KEEP GOING.”