Entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala, who co-founded online education platform UpGrad is launching an Rs 100-crore fund to provide scholarships to working professionals looking to study. According to a report by Mint, the former founder of UTV Group says that he has already pledge Rs 10 crore as initial corpus.
Over the next one year, he is planning to raise Rs 100 crore, with a target of Rs 400 crore in the next three-four years.
Scholarships will be given to working professionals who want to study or take up any course of their choice from online platforms. It does not have to be restricted to UpGrad. Scholarships in the range of Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 lakh will be given.
Typically, a course on UpGrad costs between Rs 50,000 and Rs 2 lakh and the duration of the courses is anywhere between nine and 11 months.
“The inspiration for the scholarship fund was really our experience over the last two years with UpGrad and understanding that the need to push the credibility of online learning as a viable option is still not there,” said Screwvala in the report.
He also says that adding that such a fund will help in bringing credibility to online education in the country.
The fund will be raised mostly from high net worth individuals (HNIs) and companies.
Srewvala founded UpGrad in 2015 along with Mayank Kumar, Ravijot Chugh and Prabhav Phalgun. Upgrad offers online courses in entrepreneurship, digital marketing, data analytics and product management for working professionals and has over 6000 students from across the country.
Screwvala has also been an investor in the past through his VC firm Unilazer Ventures and has invested in 14 companies including Zivame and Lenskart.
As per the Mint report, UpGrad is also the official education partner of the government’s StartUp India programme where it offers a free four-week online course to entrepreneurs. It has also tied up with IIIT Bengaluru and MICA.
Speaking to Mint, Screwvala said, “The key criterion for selection outside of a normal aptitude test is that firstly, they should be working professionals... secondly for me personally, having seen what we have built, and me being an entrepreneur for the last 20 years, is attitude. So, when we are scrutinizing people for the scholarship (it) is really going to boil down to attitude. If the attitude is right, your learning would be right.”
Image: Richter Frank-Jurgen