Ladderworks is a publishing startup of diverse picture books with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews, by a character named Spiffy, with founders working on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Our focus for March is on SDG 4: Quality Education. There is so much at stake, so let’s see what’s being done!
Hello! My name is Spiffy, I’m an Interplanetary Journalist. I’ve been speaking with innovators from around the world who are working on education. I’m heading to London, England to talk to one of them! Harry Verma is the founder and CEO of Uprise. Let’s see what he has to say.
Spiffy: Harry, it’s great to meet you! Can you tell me about the challenges you’re addressing and the purpose of Uprise?
Harry: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! At Uprise, we're trying to get the most driven and curious young professionals doing things that make them feel alive and impact the world through their careers. Making them more fulfilled through creating entrepreneurial careers that fit their values. Making them more employable for the future of work. And hopefully addressing some of the challenges around us today; whether in a small way or a big way.
Spiffy: That sounds stellar! What kinds of things motivated you to do address this?
Harry: I spent years feeling lost as a young professional; starting in "respectable careers" like management consulting and realizing it neither made me feel alive nor did it allow me to have some sort of impact in the world. After venturing through the startup world, MBA landscape, and backpacking scene, I realized the key to a remarkable career was having clarity of purpose, and taking bold action towards it surrounded by the right people. So that's what underpinned Uprise.
Spiffy: How would you say you’re working at making a more equitable world?
Harry: We get young professionals doing things with their careers that fit their values; usually those values are around the big problems facing our world today. From launching companies and starting movements to becoming changemakers within fast-growing startups. In the past three years, over 50 impact-driven startups and brands have been founded and are still successfully running. We’re also responsible for over 100 purposeful career changes.
Spiffy: Do you have any recent milestones you could tell me about?
Harry: Yes, we recently hit 100 members for our new pivot—The Uprise Collective, and haven’t had a single dropout. This is massively exciting because everyone in there is helping each other create entrepreneurial careers but in a completely new way. One that doesn't rely on content or experts; but instead upon the other members to push each other and hold each other accountable.
Spiffy: I always ask entrepreneurs to share an experience when they faced failure and didn't give up. What about you?
Harry: Well, Spiffy, in response to the pandemic, we launched fully virtual programs (three-months long for people to create fulfilling careers) on the back of our very popular three-month travel-while-learning program. Demand started strong but then plummeted as we failed to stand out enough from the other thousands of online offerings. It taught me that content is, well, everywhere. It's not what people need. Don't do what everyone else is doing because it's "on trend". Instead, look into what you deeply know to be true, and build upon that. We did that for The Collective, and it's flying.
Spiffy: Congratulations, Harry! I can’t wait to see Uprise soar! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me. It’s been an honor!
Harry Verma is the founder and CEO of Uprise Academy. After beginning his career in management consulting, Harry dived into the world of startups in search of something more meaningful. He spent over five years there but still felt something was missing. So he backpacked the world, did an MBA, and realized that there are so many unconventional ways to live life. Obsessed with personal growth and startups, he created Uprise to bring together those who dare to make their own path through life. (Nominated by Pathway Ventures)
© 2020 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s stories of founders building a more equitable world at www.ladderworks.co/blogs/spiffys-blog