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Name: Gwendolen Noronha

Business: CIA Pvt. Ltd., educational programs in India

Industry: Education & Training 

Location: Mumbai, India

Reason for starting: I started Child’s Intellectual Academy Pvt. Ltd. in the year 2007. CIA was established as a parent company for the various educational brands we were offering under the franchise model of our business structure.

One main brand is CurveC, a handwriting improvement course for students suffering with illegible handwriting or lack of speed while writing. The motive was to offer the co-curriculum activity for schools and students visiting the franchise branches to overcome any barrier that they faced when it comes to writing. This included the problems faced by students battling learning disabilities or the ones who were demotivated because they were left-handed writers.

The other mentoring service offered through our franchise operations in India and other countries, is the skill of mentally calculating and memorizing. The course for students is titled, Genius Kid. We strive to make sure every child believes and works towards being a genius. When my career first started taking off, I decided to help change the way math is seen as this mandatory nightmare for students. I modulated the solution into an activity-based course for students that made learning fun.

Related: Read about another entrepreneur helping to foster literacy in children here

How do you define success? I built my early career working in nonprofit organizations, and it was easy to feel good knowing the work I was doing was positively impacting others. Though success for many others might be measuring the financial profits and increase in fame, for me it has always been about the goodwill I earn with my work and being able to match my talent and passion with my projects. If at the end of the day I am satisfied, regardless of the line of work, I believe I was successful. When I am propelled to motivate the many lives around me with my mentoring services and I see those thousands of students smile at me, I believe that is success.

Biggest Success: Being fortunate enough to be accepted by the Mental Sports Olympics Federation as their National Board Member for India. It is their trust and faith, which is bestowed on me and my capabilities, and getting accepted by the entire mental sports community, where many look up to me for coaching advice, marks my success each day. I was blessed enough to have more than one big success, and a few to name are my team winning the Mental Calculations World Cup at Dresden, Germany, in 2014; a total of 18 world records created and broken in the field of mental calculations; and, majorly, the success of Break Free and its campaign, which focused on educating and creating awareness among young girls about intimate hygiene, various infections and their precautions and about being strong enough to battle against any crimes.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My top challenge is staying focused because I have so many ideas and solutions running through my head and I want to achieve all of it. But at the moment, it is staging the biggest Mental Sports Event in India for the eliminations of the nationalities and foreign contestants towards the World Mental Sports Olympics 2016, followed by establishing several training camps across the country to impart free mental sports coaching and mentoring services so that every deserving contestant receives all that is required to win and make their nation proud.

Related: Read about another math-loving entrepreneur here.

Who is your most important role model? I was always fascinated by mental calculations. I’ve been especially inspired by some extraordinary personalities in mental sports, such as Melik Duyar, the human calculator Scott Flansburg, four-time USA memory champion and Alzheimer’s research initiator Nelson Dellis, and several world-record holders like Jan Van Koningsveld, Simon Reinhard and Naofumi Ogasawara. The work by these people is amazing, and they left me flabbergasted. I had never imagined back in school that a six-digit mental square root could be calculated mentally to perfection without the use of a pen, paper or any other device. But I must admit, I was greatly motivated by my father to do so, and that’s how it started out.


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Edited by The Story Exchange