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How Kshitij Doval's Unhu School Empowers Early-Stage Startups

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Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India], July 4: Kshitij Doval was an average student and never truly understood the concept of theoretical education with no practical application in the real world. Thus, he studied just to pass exams and focused his energy towards solving real problems.

The Birth of Unhu School of Business

In 2016, driven by this concern, Kshitij started Unhu School of Business in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. The name 'Unhu' from the Shona language, means mutual respect and support for each other's ideas.

Identifying the Problem

Doval's first execution failed miserably and while being incubated, he encountered many early stage startup entrepreneurs like him, who had no clear guidance on how to land customers and were busy over-perfecting their product & websites - blindly depending on raising funds. To help them effectively, Kshitij knew he needed the right skills.

Kshitij immersed himself into learning digital marketing, copywriting, sales and branding through online courses and mentorship programmes. He invested a lot of money to master these high-income skills while working a night shift job at HCL. With this knowledge, Kshitij launched 'Sales for Brands', a digital marketing agency for service-based businesses. Despite financial success, he felt unfulfilled because his high fees limited his reach to early stage startups.

Turning Crisis into Opportunity

When COVID-19 hit, while he saw people wasting time playing ludo & watching web series, Doval saw an opportunity. With more people spending time online, he shared his expertise through online courses & programs. Over 1,500 aspiring entrepreneurs, students and freelancers benefited from his programmes, with one even getting funding on Shark Tank India.

Kshitij's success brought recognition, including invitations from the Public Relations Society of India and many prestigious universities & organizations. A highlight was, sharing the stage with the Vice President of India and top Indian business magnates at an event in Bangalore.

Battling Cancer

In 2023, Kshitij was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Doctors advised him to pause work during treatment, but he remained determined. He saw it as a temporary setback to achieve a bigger leap. On the bright side, he now got the time he needed to brainstorm and work on a business model, which solved the problems for early stage startup entrepreneurs without charging them an extensive fee, through an app. So he worked towards it from his bed.

Post his inevitable recovery from cancer, with effects of chemotherapy and radiation still on his face; he didn't care how he looked and began recording videos and resumed his mentorship program - this time with a twist in his business model.

Unhu Founder's Community

During this tough time, Kshitij envisioned a game-changer: Unhu Founder's Community (UFC). The community helps early-stage startups connect with local founders, and provides online mentorship and collaboration opportunities at a small membership fee of just ₹999.

Through the Unhu School of Business app available on both IOS and Android, Kshitij guides entrepreneurs in building essential brand assets like websites and social media profiles. He then helps them set up lead generation and sales systems, create lasting brand recall, and explore multiple sales channels for growth and potential investments.

He also created a more personalized model called OCMO or Online Chief Marketing Officer, where he works founder to founder to become their interim CMO for a period of 3 months, which costs less than an intern's monthly stipend.

Unhu's Mission

Under Kshitij Doval's leadership, Unhu School of Business aims at making businesses profitable, scalable, and ready for investment. Kshitij's vision goes beyond Unhu; he wants to build the largest global network of entrepreneurs, with India at its heart.

Empowering a Generation

Kshitij believes entrepreneurs are the unsung heroes of Indian democracy. Through Unhu School of Business, he provides tools and support to empower a generation of problem solvers and nation-builders. His story is a testament to perseverance and a desire to make a difference, helping early-stage entrepreneurs in India, one ambitious founder at a time.

This article is part of a featured content programme.
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Published 04 July 2024, 09:49 IST

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