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Meet Harsha, the Malaysian teenage entrepreneur with big dreams

Bernama FREE MALAYSIA TODAY Sun, February 14, 2021  

18-year-old teenage social entrepreneur Harsha Ravindran has written a book on her experiences. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Harsha Ravindran, an 18-year-old teenage social entrepreneur with big dreams, aims to impart her entrepreneurial knowledge and experience to one million teenagers across Malaysia and around the world.

Born in Johor and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Harsha began her entrepreneurship journey at age 11 when she realised that she wanted to be a social entrepreneur. It came after attending talks by a social business incubator.

When she was 17, she founded her own start-up, It designs, builds and maintains websites, and has since secured more than 400 clients from four continents.

Harsha shares her raw experiences navigating the entrepreneurial world at such a young age in her newly published book, The Makings of a Teenage Entrepreneur.

“This book documents both the fun, exciting experiences and the serious, hard-hitting stories of my journey as an entrepreneur.

“It ranges from positive experiences such as speaking at TEDx events, getting accepted into the University of Pennsylvania, and how I grew my business to over 400 clients in one and a half years, to more challenging circumstances such as learning how to manage clients, building a team and working hard to make the business grow,” she told Bernama recently.

Harsha began writing the book on her 18th birthday (July 11, 2020) after getting non-stop text messages and calls from clients which resulted in her working day and night, to stay on top of things.

“Having spent my birthday flooded with zoom meetings, calls and emails, I broke down and cried after a minor disagreement under the stress of the day.

“For a moment, all my experiences of managing my business seemed to have been overshadowed by my teenage emotions.

“I decided to pen down my experiences over the last seven years as truthfully as possible to share the lessons learnt from them so that other teenagers can use them to plan their own journey as an entrepreneur,” she said.

Harsha, who is the chief executive officer of and chief marketing officer at Ascendance Sdn Bhd, has received the Diana Award for Young Changemakers 2019 in recognition of social and humanitarian work.

She has also spoken at three TEDx conferences so far — TEDxYouth@SKIS, TEDxMonash University Malaysia and TEDxIMU at the International Medical University — and has been given the opportunity to speak at dozens of conferences, both locally and internationally, on topics ranging from “Gen Z’s in the Workforce” to “Solving World Problems”.

She is currently a distance-learning undergraduate student (bachelor of applied arts and sciences degree) at the University of Pennsylvania.

Harsha said she decided to form her own start-up to earn the funds needed to pay for her university fees while providing a valuable service in exchange.

Not wanting to burden her single mother, she was already dabbling in web development during her free time.

She had the resources after meeting many kind entrepreneurs from ET Ideas (a platform that empowers entrepreneurs) over the last few years of running Ascendance.

Harsha said a large portion of the proceeds from the book will be channelled to Ascendance to develop other teenage entrepreneurs.


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