Business: Codas Digital
University of Surrey undergraduate student Anushka Das has taken her love of coding and computer science and created Codas Digital, a business that teaches coding to the next generation of computer scientists and developers.
Anushka shared how her journey to develop the business has progressed, ‘when choosing my GCSEs my parents encouraged me to select coding as one of my options. The course was very male dominated but I enjoyed it and I learnt lots.’ After completing her GCSEs course work and exam Anushka wanted to put the skills she has learnt into practice so set up a coding club at her local library, working as a volunteer ‘running the club gave me a chance to hone my skills, teach others how to code plus develop my people skills. It gave me a chance to learn about different learning styles and the best way to communicate with groups when teaching coding and new skills’.
On completing the sessions, Anushka wanted to take the coding club to the next level by turning it into a business ‘I came up with a business plan that outlined how coding will be a job of the future so getting young people and the wider community into coding at an early stage would benefit the community and businesses alike. I started up with my own funds which made me focus on how the money should be spent. At a later stage, I applied to Slough council who liked what Codas was achieving for the local economy and awarded a further £2,000 to help me to develop the existing sessions on offer.’
In addition to help from Slough Council, Codas has receive support from Student Enterprise, part of University of Surrey. ‘I applied for and won a Wates Enterprise award of £630 which was brilliant in helping to promote the business. In addition the team have supported my business with helping me to develop my pitching skills, encouraging my ideas, giving feedback and helping me to find opportunities that I probably would not have found’.
Anushka has continued to develop her business whilst completing her studies as a student and business owner ‘we started off with 6 people working on Codas and now we have 13 and currently we are building a curriculum so that there is a recognized coding qualification gained. At the session, attendees bring their own laptops so after the sessions they can continue to practice their skills and build confidence in coding’.
Anushka continues to develop Codas Digital whilst studying with ambitions to continue the business ‘I’d like to keep things running whilst completing my degree whilst at university. I want to scale things up further by working with schools and working with Arts Award and City & Guilds to develop a qualifications in coding delivered by us’. Whilst juggling multiple priorities Anushka shared her top tips for running a business ‘be organised at all times in order to manage your time and work load. It’s important that I’m professional and demonstrate confidence in my topic so children and adults have confidence in the service we offer. I feel a sense of responsibility in helping people so I get a real buzz from watching people develop and learn coding skills’.
Setting up a business can be challenging so what advice would Anushka offer to anyone thinking of doing the same? ‘The best part of setting up and running a business has been seeing the kids develop and the parental recognition for the skills they are learning. Its hard work but I love the independence of running my own business. My advice for anyone thinking of starting up is to believe in yourself – even in the tough times. Reach out for help as you will find lots of people willing to help you regardless of your age, gender or idea – just go for it’.
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