The story of a social entrepreneur Michael Mathew, Founder & CEO Wordmart and Wisdom International
As an introduction, can you please tell us about yourself, your background, and what brought you to co-create Wordmart and Wisdom International
I emerged from a small working class family from Elanad village in Thrissur District, Kerala. My family consists of Dad, Mom and Sister. I have completed BE in Civil Engineering from Anna University Chennai.
During my school days my great passion was to become a scientist and invent medicines for unsolved problems in health sector especially like cancer. So I used to score good marks in biology related subjects, genetics was my favorite topic. But sometimes life will lead us through different paths; likewise I was forced to take engineering due to personal reasons.
Initially engineering was okay for me, somehow I managed to study. But later I started getting frustrated about the way the courses were conducted in my college. There was nothing innovative; just working out on problems which are provided in books. Students were not able to answer the questions, if the model of the questions were changed. They used to score good more marks only when the same questions come with different values.
Later I started to see the articles on Indian education scenario and the alarming rate of quality professionals in our country. So I thought of doing something from my end. This initiated the beginning of Wordmart.
Can you tell us the story of Wordmart and Wisdom International? How did the idea came, and what it took to make it a reality?
During my third year in college I took a decision to do something from my end to bring some changes to the current situation of the educational system. I had a small idea which can be executed through information technology. From my personal experience as a student and the feedbacks received from my batch mates about our learning system I formulated a plan which included solutions, a service app which might be able to change the life of students. It gives all kinds of knowledge out of their syllabus for students in any streams, various tools to bring schools in lower level to higher standards, interaction platforms to bring creativity, a different level of social media which is customized for education sector etc. But I was not confident enough to work on it. So I decided to conduct a study on its practical sides. During those days I stared discussing this idea to my few close friends. I had done a through market research to check whether such kinds of services are available in India. I found few similar features, but it was scattered in different places. So I got a little confidence to work on it.
Once my close friend named Jibi Thomas came to know about this idea from me and he motivated me to give a try and go behind my dream. He gave initial funds for R&D, thus I went to New Delhi, met pioneers in education industry and discussed this project with them. They gave good feedbacks, but were not confident enough to support this because our face was new and no one tried such things in India.
During my days in Delhi, I tried to meet Dr.Kalam sir, the one who inspired us to see dreams and go behind it. I was so lucky enough to get an appointment with him in that short notice. That 45 minutes discussion with Kalam sir inspired me more and determined to go behind our dream project. His words and promise that, he will definitely support me by coming for the launch of the project was more than anything.
Remaining college days I spend on research of my project ‘Wordmart’. After final year I got an investor from my hometown itself and I started my journey of entrepreneurship.
The motivation behind WISDOM was after Kalam sir passed away. When that news came on the television, I was really heart-broken and felt that all my work is going to be a waste. I felt that without Kalam sir, Wordmart will not be launched. Few days I was in depression, but after 2 weeks I started convincing myself that everything happens for a good reason. I started to think about the life of Kalam sir, thus I thought of doing something different than Wordmart. Thus I proposed this idea ‘WISDOM’ to my friend Jibi.
Kalam sir dedicated his whole life for research, inventions and inspiring India. I may not able to be a scientist, but I took a strong decision that I will continue his mission by spreading knowledge, motivating young people in India to take leadership and be pioneers in all fields. That’s the ultimate vision of WISDOM. Read The Man who invested email is revolutionizing medicine.
What is your ambition for Wordmart and Wisdom International in the coming 3 years?
In 3 years I want to see Wordmart as an organisation which has brought many solutions for the betterment of life and humanity in India. And WISDOM as a big platform in India where new inventions, ideas etc will be shared exclusively, nurtured and passed on to coming generations. We will always work to increase the quality of the services that we deliver.
According to you, and from what you see with Wordmart and Wisdom International, what are the 3 main success factors to become a successful social entrepreneur and make a positive change?
Success for any business is the ability of an organization to think and act from the customer point of view. For a mother her child is the best in the world, likewise for the company their product or service will always be great. But we should always work on what changes are we going to make to our product/service for it to be great for the customers.
Three main factors for a successful social entrepreneur is
- Understand the true need of the society.
- Courage to plan and execute the project. Be a insurgent and show the world that the way society follows is wrong and our project can bring changes
- Vision to see our society after 10 or 50 years, this vision gives us an inspiration and courage to move ahead in any kind of situation.
Do you have a final message, for a potential successful social entrepreneur who still wonders if creating a social business will be a viable career track?
Social entrepreneurship is expected to improve the quality of life in our country. Nowadays all youngsters consider startup journey as developing some apps or some electronic products. I fear that the boom in technology might lead to big social collapse. Information Technology is necessary, but we can see the lack of communication among people. In Delhi, Bangalore etc where influence of technology is high, in public transports we can see people communicating only to their gadgets without any interpersonal interactions; they shrank to their own world.
All social entrepreneurships are focused on bringing social change through their generous services. More than money, what drives social entrepreneurs is the happiness from the output of their work, i.e. bringing smile to the faces of human communities.
If you are focused on making money this might not be a good platform. But if you really want to see the changes in the world and make our precious life worthy, it is the biggest opportunity. Other important thing which I need to share with upcoming social entrepreneurs is,” If you want to do something, gather likeminded people, convince your idea and its impact going to make in society. Form a group and work for it. More details available at www.wordmart.in and www.wisdom.international. Read more CEO Interviews.