In Conversation with… Harsh Vardhan Dadhichi, Founder, Space Advancement and Research Cell.
Please help us know you better. (Your background)
I am an electrical engineering undergraduate from the Government College of Engineering, Keonjhar. I come from a small town in Odisha called Rajgangpur.
As a child, I was fascinated by the stars at night. In addition to that, I have always been interested in astronomy and science fiction. As a student and in college, I pursued my astronomical interest during my free time.
My lifelong dream has been to contribute to India’s space industry.
Tell us about your business venture. How did it all start?
SARC is an open society of Space Enthusiasts.
The club comprises energetic and curious youngsters intending to launch a sounding rocket. We also plan on creating a thriving community of Space enthusiasts by conducting seminars, demonstrations, and social engagements.
As to its beginning,
In college, I worked hard to advance in this field. I still wanted to go further and represent my college at intl. competitions and, build rocketry systems. That is when I met Bijay Pal (Co-Founder of SARC). He had similar plans and so we started working on our shared goal.
As a group of beginners, we started to build a motor rocket. We had to face a lot of problems, including limited access to resources and guidance. It took us 2 months to collect all the materials necessary to build a rocket. And we had 5 total rocket motor tests after work of 3 months.
Through our experience, we learned that India lacked a community of rocketry enthusiasts. And so, We built this community to enable India to have a closed space science and rocketry community.
How has your journey been so far?
Our journey in the space science field has been fantastic so far.
We started sharing our knowledge and expertise with students through social platforms, and we impacted over 1000 students in the first 5 months through this. We then participated in several competitions and kept sharing the knowledge gained on social platforms. We connected with several eminent personalities of the field, got them on the platform, and did live shows to help our members learn.
There were many obstacles in the beginning months, and we had to redo a lot of our work, but these experiences taught us a lot and now It feels good to look back and see that we started as a small group of beginners in the field, and now are a full-fledged community of enthusiastic learners.
We now have a team of 15 members and our educational events have impacted around 4000 students in total.
How is the competitive scenario in the industry you operate in?
Indian Space Science sector is rapidly growing and has recently seen a surge in the number of private players. The space tech startup ecosystem in India is fairly open-minded and gives the opportunity of growth to all deserving enterprises. Our work does not involve selling a product, and so we don’t claim to compete with any specific company in the market.
As an entrepreneur, you might have faced many challenges as a part of your journey. What motivates you to keep striving and never give up?
Challenges are nothing but opportunities to grow.
In our tries to make a model rocket, we failed several times. We had to redo the work almost a dozen times before we had a model we could test, and even then it took us 5 model tests to confirm that our models could fly.
We contacted about 10 organizations before we had our first guest for our webinar.
Our journey here would not have been possible if we had decided at any point to abandon the project and go with something easier.
Here at SARC, we see challenges as tasks that simply require more time and effort to overcome. This has worked for us fairly well.
India’s growing space enthusiastic pool needs a community to showcase their interest and talent in the field, if SARC becomes big enough to provide for that, then our goal will be full filled.
Having a good team can make or break a start-up. What are your thoughts on building an effective team?
An effective team consists of two components,
- A common shared Goal
- Individual Competence
Looking back at your entrepreneurial journey, is there something you feel you could have done differently?
In the beginning, I spent a lot of time trying to keep the project hidden until it got successful. If given a chance, I’ll undo that and focus that energy on overcoming setbacks and learning from them.
What would be your advice to all the budding entrepreneurs?
I will try to refrain from generic advice and share what I have learned myself.
My experience has taught me always to,
Keep in mind your impact and place your trust in your team.
The Quote I go by Persistence over Perfection.