How Supriya Paul is unlocking the potential of Indian youths through Josh TalksMarch 21st, 2022
Supriya Paul from India is one of the 20 finalists for this year’s Commonwealth Youth Awards. This young woman is the co-founder of Josh Talks, India’s largest regional platform that offers inspiration, soft skills and growth opportunities to youths living in India’s developing and underdeveloped cities. Sola Abe, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Lagos State, Nigeria, interviewed Supriya about her initiative.
Supriya Paul wanted to achieve greater success in her life so she looked online for role models whose stories would inspire her. She found none. Instead, she came across other Indian youths who were also in search of the kind of inspiration that she was looking for.
While everyone in college was striving to get a corporate job, she decided to tackle the lack of role models and quality resources for young Indians to unlock their potential.
Supriya’s passion birthed Josh Talks in 2015 – an initiative that shared the stories of people who could serve as role models to inspire others.
“These role models are relatable for our audience because they share similar stories, backgrounds, and speak the same language as them,” the media entrepreneur said.
THE DIGITAL MOVE
As data prices fell and the internet became more accessible for people in smaller towns and cities in India, Supriya took the stories to social media.
Seven years later, Josh Talks has grown into a community of 15 million people who have access to its online tools and products – Josh Talks and Josh Skills.
“While our content is available on YouTube for free in 10 Indian languages and garners 70+ million views on a monthly basis, our Android application, Josh Skills, has 200,000+ users who spend more than 30 minutes on the app daily, learning English,” the CEO explained.
Josh Skills was designed for non-English speaking users to overcome their hesitation of speaking English. “Our Spoken English course has one of the highest industry course completion rates at 32%,” Supriya revealed.”
Starting such a platform did not come without its own hurdles, as the media woman stated that she and her co-founder Shobhit were not sure if the unconventional idea would be well-received by Indian youths.
For the first five years, Supriya persistently focused on building content by showcasing motivating and instructive stories of individuals who came from the grassroots of India. “They inspire and inform our audience of various career options and ways that they can upskill to prepare themselves for those careers. Watching their stories makes our audience believe, ‘If they can, then so can I!’”
Supriya’s hard work paid off as Josh Talks is now India’s largest non-entertainment network.
With over 4,000 recorded stories of relatable role models from across India in the last seven years, the media entrepreneur noted that their audience now looks up to the platform as “their elder brother guiding them to take critical life decisions”.
A FORCE OF ENERGY
But what’s in a name? Well, names are a critical part of people’s identity, hence, Supriya and her co-founder were intentional when they chose the name of their company.
“Josh is a Hindi word which means a force of energy or having perseverance. When Shobhit and I started Josh Talks with a mission to unlock human potential, Shobhit felt that such a strong mission could only be achieved by spreading josh or a force of energy in the life of every Indian,” Surpriya explained.
ENDING UNEMPLOYMENT IN INDIA
Generational poverty, lack of effective career guidance and lack of decent work are some of the reasons India’s population of youth below 35 – more than 845 million people – find it hard to reach their full potential.
But through her digital products, Supriya is able to release that ‘force of energy’ and help many lift themselves out of unemployment and bridge socio-economic gaps. The stories on Josh Talks educate youths on the importance of making informed career choices and upskilling themselves.
Now in its development phase, Josh Recruitment Test, one of Supriya’s newest product, will be matching individuals who have acquired the relevant skill set to decent employment opportunities. “In a pilot test that we conducted, 84 out of 350 people got job interviews,” said the CEO. The recruitment test include a cognitive evalaution, personality profiling and written and spoken English language evaluation.
THE POWER OF STORYTELLING
A huge fan of storytelling, Supriya states that the art of sharing stories is an essential life skill for everyone. According to her, what drives their work at Josh Talks is the ability to stir emotions and rally people to action through the power of storytelling. While inspiring stories can be found all over the internet, she noted that those on the Josh Talks platform stand out.
“We make an effort to identify speakers that our audience can relate to. More importantly, we don’t just focus on their achievements but also their failures. We also try to include actionable tips and clear pathways for our audience to adopt and learn from.”
To harness the power of storytelling, Supriya advises individuals to “find inspiration from your own life experiences and build relatability. It is about connecting, understanding the needs of your audience, cultivating trust and then making them experience newer possibilities through your story.”
Photo Credits: The Commonwealth /Josh Talks
About Sola Abe: I am passionate about calling for a better life for Nigerian women. My vision is to create media content that will inspire, educate and renew the minds of the people.