As Jean Piaget puts it aptly,
“The principal goal of education is to create individuals who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done.”
MIDAS is an entrepreneurship institute headed by Mr. Parag Shah and based out of Pune. It primarily started off with a Masters program in Entrepreneurship for students, and has now grown to provide Business Coaching for established businesses, family businesses and Incubation Facility for startups as well. With a vision to create 10,000 entrepreneurs and impact over 2 crore Indians, Mr. Parag Shah is making entrepreneurship not just a career option but a way to lead life! MIDAS is unique in its offering as it’s the meeting point of conventional education and real world experiences.
There are tens of thousands out there in India who want to be entrepreneurs, with good ideas, who do not know how to go about it, who to approach, how to get things done etc. That is where Mr. Parag Shah steps in. He and his organization MIDAS are entirely devoted to nurturing and mentoring budding entrepreneurs and lead them on the way to becoming successful business men and women. They support to these entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into products and services and even launch in the market. For established businesses, who have reached a level ready to scale, or are struggling with stagnancy, MIDAS’s expert coaches guide them through a sustainable and scalable model. Family businesses looking for succession planning or rather finding it difficult to convince next generation to get onboard, MIDAS propels these businesses with a way forward.
Mr. Parag Shah 57, is a serial entrepreneur and educationist himself who is on a mission to create and work with 10,000 entrepreneurs. His vast experience across retail, real estate, distributorship, hospitality, etc makes him the right person for this vision of developing entrepreneurship skills in men and women, young or old to conquer the business world. He has developed his own methods to inculcate creativity, critical thinking and innovation in his students, which is followed by world class entrepreneurship institutes that he has himself visited as part of research.
What follows is a bit of inspiration, teamed with passion for creativity, sprinkled with the right amount of advice and real action straight from Mr. Parag Shah himself.
1. What is the Name of Your Venture?
MIDAS – This is an acronym for Management, Innovation, Design and Social Sciences.
MIDAS is a not-for-profit foundation established primarily with the vision of nurturing and mentoring entrepreneurs, innovators, designers, artists and social scientists.
MIDAS exists to help its stakeholders turn their business ideas/innovations into tangible products or services that are market-ready. Towards this end, MIDAS is entirely dedicated to the incubation and development of these business ideas.
MIDAS does not consider itself as an educational foundation alone, but goes beyond this definition to create an ecosystem that challenges the status quo in the field of education. MIDAS is in the constant quest of new paradigms that better the educational system and improve the quality of entrepreneurship training.
MIDAS aims to create over 10,000 self-employed, job-creators, who in turn will employ 500 people each directly or indirectly, thereby, impacting the lives of over 2 crore citizens.
2. Who is your target audience?
Everyone who is an entrepreneur like business owners and startup founders and also those who aspire to become entrepreneurs like students having completed their bachelor’s degree – age being no bar!
3. Where is your venture based ( city, state, country) at & What are your target areas?
MIDAS is based out of Keshav Nagar, Mundhwa, Pune, Maharashtra. Our target areas are tier 1 cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad etc and tier 2 cities like Raipur, Surat, Jaipur, Coimbatore, etc. All cities thriving with people who want to create something new or bring about a change in the same process, are welcome at MIDAS.
We believe in having diversity across segments and geographies, as that drives innovation among people.
4. What problems does your venture solve? What are your products or services?
India has developed a very competent workforce with the economy and environment opening up to creating more entrepreneurs. The usual thought process is that entrepreneurship cannot be taught, but at MIDAS we are doing just that through creativity, critico-thinking and innovation. We are creating and nurturing the entrepreneurs of the future.
MIDAS is into propagating entrepreneurship. We offer a Masters in Entrepreneurship for students, Business Coaching for established businesses and Incubation Centre facilities for startups.
Our venture solves the problem of not being able to think outside the box!
5. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come to an existence?
MIDAS has been founded by Mr. Parag Shah who is a serial entrepreneur and an educationist himself. Having set up and scaled numerous businesses in retail, real estate, distribution etc, Mr. Shah started MIDAS after his Founding Chairman of FLAME University stint. MIDAS is based on the four crucibles of thought, namely, innovation, critical thinking, creativity and communication. Being a visionary, MIDAS thrives in breaking the status quo and shaping leaders of the future!
6. How did you identify your co-founder?
I don’t have a co-founder.
7. What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
MIDAS aims to reach out to maximum students across the country through collaborations with universities across India. We aim to provide undergraduate courses also over time, which will include courses beyond the usual finance, marketing, etc and teach innovation, creativity, critical thinking for students to understand that entrepreneurship is not just as a career but a lifetime opportunity.
We also intend to reach out to business owners especially in SME and startup segment who require experts to revive and thrive their businesses.
8. Where do you want to see yourself in next 5 years?
I envision MIDAS to have trained at least 2000 more entrepreneurs by 2022.
9. Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
10. What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
Setting up an education venture like MIDAS takes a long time to take off. The gestation period is three years minimum, and it is only now that we have achieved a breakeven point. Given my prior work experience of running multiple businesses, I had set aside funds that would be required for running this institute and had a well laid out plan for the same. Astute planning has kept aside much of the problems, but the challenges remain same as of any other startup!
11. Are you married, single or in a relationship?
Married with a wife, two children, daughter in law and a grandson
12. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I read, write, and see good movies, and listen to music.
13. What’s your favorite food & holiday destination?
Paneer tikka favorite food dish and Europe favorite holiday destination.
14. Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
I do not have a single role model as such. All business people and academicians are my role models. There is no perfect human being and I believe I get to learn something from everyone, be it my driver or Warren Buffet! My student could motivate me today, and so could my client – it’s more about me wanting to still learn and get inspired by people.
15. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Entrepreneurs are self-driven who believe they can control the environment. They focus on what they can control and not on what they can’t. Entrepreneurs are the last to take the profits home, and first to bear losses. Managers on the other hand work for a fixed salary, and with a limited purview.
Entrepreneurs innovate and challenge the status-quo!
16. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Nothing at all. It’s been a very fulfilling life and all the troughs and peaks have only enriched my experience.
17. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Being an entrepreneur is not an easy task. My family has been one of the biggest support in my journey all along, and they have been affected by it severely at the same time. When my children were small I believed in spending quality time rather than quantity, so every evening from 8.30pm – 10.30 pm my time was all for them and we would talk about all things in the world except business.
As they grew up, they began working with me at a very young age, which made them become a bigger part of my time and experience, so we had more special moments in our own manner. Being an entrepreneur requires you to sacrifice much, so even though I managed giving time to my family, my social circle has not been too active. C’est la vie!
18. Anything you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Believe in yourself. Dream big, dare to fail! Respect those who have failed.
19. Tell us something about your education & family background.
I was born and brought up in Daund, Maharashtra. My father was a doctor and mother, a home maker. I completed my B.Com from Fergusson College, Pune and was interested in business from a very young age. Organizing a cricket event in my hometown at the age of 11 was my first brush with the ‘entrepreneurial nerve’ in me. This went on to flourish as I started my first business of developing photo films in my photography lab and studio, opening a distribution chain of Nestle vending machines and becoming the largest at that pan-India. Venturing into real estate and hospitality and finally into education first at FLAME University and now MIDAS, life has been a wonderful journey of exploring myself and working with people from all walks of life!
20. What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains?
MIDAS is focused on new and innovative products and services. We believe and have proven it that entrepreneurship can be taught, and that entrepreneurs can be made, provided you’ve a fire in your belly and gumption to back yourself up. Currently there are 14 products and services in development which reaffirm our work towards creating entrepreneurs. MIDAS’s teachings are in line with the Socratic concepts like critico-thinking, works of Tina Seelig which combine knowledge, attitude and imagination as a form of learning. Offerings of MIDAS are at par with international standards of education with practical nuances and lateral thinking coming into play.
21. Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person