Gaurav Dogra: Aspiring Entrepreneur at 14 Years Old
Catalyst: Gaurav, You’re a 14-year-old entrepreneur with a fiery interest for tech, start ups, and community. When did you first realize you were entrepreneurial?
Gaurav: A couple years ago when I realized my passion for helping people, doing small projects, and always working on things that I love. My first venture was Unlimited Clothing Co. (Lemonade stand stuff if it counts when I was like 10/11)
C: What are you currently up to?
G: Working on my online clothing store, Abocado, with friends; deep research on AR/VR, getting more into marketing, developing ideas for Nestle and Airbnb, and getting more into design.
C: What’s your relationship with school? What are your thoughts on the current educational system?
G: I try to get everything I need to for school done as quick as I can, they get down to my “real” work. To me, school is very beneficial. Apart from learning so much in most of my courses (some I don’t see a net benefit), I get to meet new people and make connections and relationships, such as that of with my co-founder.
C: Tell me about some of the volunteering you’ve done and how that was impactful to you.
G: TIFF — Really enjoy working with TIFF as they are a very youth-friendly and welcoming organization. Volunteered at the TIFF Next Wave festival, TIFF kids event, March break camps, Summer camps.It really provided me with a broader sense of the film industry as well as led to me to many great connections and experiences and skills (leadership, people skills/customer service, caregiving skills, etc.)
Luminato — Volunteer at the annual Luminato festival this summer — great time volunteering; helping with pathfinding, kids zone, and tours of the famous tents. Also gave me a good idea of what the film industry is like, on a more abstract level. Really helped my event planning and leadership skills, as well as that of helping people with disabilities (we went through training as Luminato is proud of its openness to disability and how those should still get the full experience)
Amnesty International — Human rights organization. Volunteered with fundraisers in and out of school, event planning, and our school human rights week. Shaped my sense of the world and what it is like on the “other side” (outside of the Toronto and 1st world bubble). Really helped me get involved in something big and a huge movement.
Engineers Without Borders — Shaped my interest in engineering. Planned events with EWB, as well as taking leadership in the school club. Helped with fundamental skills of engineering through programs that I volunteered at.
Out of The Cold Soup Kitchen — Organization in Toronto that helps those who are unable to prepare their own meals in the colder months. One of my greatest volunteering experiences was going here every Saturday for a couple of hours and helping those in need of help. Preparing meals, socializing with “users”. Helped strengthen my sense of the ‘outside world’ and my empathy skills.
Horizons — In school organization that helps kids at other elementary skills with disabilities. Probably the organization I’ve volunteered at the most in many ways; learn to skate program, learn to soccer program, math tutor program, learn to lacrosse, and music programs.
C: Who are your main mentors?
My main mentor I would say would be Navid Nathoo, one of the coordinators of TKS. Whenever I need help or guidance on something, he’s my go to guy. And I think this is the way it is because of the connection we’ve established through the 12-week program of TKS, and all the things he’s helped me with. His brother, Nadeem, is also someone who helps me often but I feel that we don’t have as strong of a connection on a personal level. Navid has helped me with a countless number of projects, decks, interviews, applications, etc. and given me opportunities to learn, meet great people, and spread my passion. There are also some other people who have really helped me out and I look up to them because of their mindset, what they have done, and the great and cool things they are doing now:
All of these accomplished, helpful, and truly kind people are those who I consider people I can go to help to and set up a meeting in a matter of minutes just because they are so willing to help me grow. But, I consider Navid my true mentor.
C: What’s the one thing that you’d love to see available to youth innovators, like you?
G: In regards to things I’d love to see available to youth innovators;
A group of older, more experienced, and willing to help, mentors always available to them; A strong “database” (for lack of a better word) of resources that we have at our disposal, helping us move forward and grow
Not necessary a fund just for youth innovators, but a simple means of capital for all the projects and initiatives we do.
C: If Catalyst could do one thing for you, what would it be?
G: Connect me with like-minded individuals!
— — — — —