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Creative entrepreneurship: driven by diverse ideas

Sajid Rahman

Sheehan and his team members at 7TEEN University Futsal Cup. â Courtesy photo Sheehan and his team members at 7TEEN University Futsal Cup. â Courtesy photo

Going against the tide is never easy, especially when you are young and you dream big and you want to achieve those dreams no matter what. This, despite people left, right and centre telling you that you need to set more achievable goals; take the safer, more assured path and get rid of the madness! Yet, some do stand against the tide, follow their dreams and inspire others to break the shackles. Sheehan Rahman happens to be one of those young individuals who are setting an example by pursuing his dream against several odds. Through his organisation 7TEEN Events, he is trying to tap into a new zone in the event management industry of Bangladesh by focusing specifically on the youth segment. 7TEEN Events have so far organised various competitions on sports, music and entertainment for university goers and have managed to earn a reputation among the entertainment savvy youth of the capital. Headed by Sheehan, it currently has 120 employees, handpicked from various reputed universities.
The seed was sown back in 2009, when Sheehan along with a couple of his friends organised a gaming competition and pulled off a decent return from it. Gaming, sports and music were Sheehan’s foray and organising such competitions gave him a sense of accomplishment, as he could tinker with his passion. On top of that, being a business administration student, he could also bring his entrepreneurial skills into play. After several months, a handful of small but successful events with youth as their main target group, Sheehan along with his friends began 7TEEN Events in January 2011.
Initially, the organisation started off with console gaming events but then it evolved to cater to bigger entertainment perks of the young generation, perks which they sought to satisfy through organising futsal tournaments and musical reality contests, creating a platform for healthy recreation. Some of the prominent events which 7TEEN have organised so far include ‘MusicOn’ (an inter-university musical talent competition), intra-university futsal tournaments ‘7TEEN Dugout Bonanza’ and the ‘7TEEN Inter University Futsal Cup’ with the participation of students from several universities in the capital.
The journey of the nascent company has not been all smooth. According to Sheehan, soon after 7TEEN’s inception, the other managing partners became less actively involved with the new organisation and left to pursue their individual careers. Sheehan himself was left with a big dilemma-should he keep nurturing his own venture or should he opt for the safer route of joining an established corporate company. Things were not made easy by a lack of support by the family in following his dream.
When asked what made him plough on, Sheehan replies, ‘When I started organising events, the kick that I got out of them was unparalleled to any adrenaline rush I ever experienced. I simply love it!’ Added to this passion was a more rational and strategic view, which Sheehan puts as, ‘As a student, I noticed that even though the event management sector was very saturated, it was saturated for events of certain genre. The youth population was still deprived of a great many things, particularly of events where they could take part in refreshing recreational activities, such as music and sports. But this is not the typical music and sports we are talking about. This is about the music and sports the youth embrace and want to be a part of. ’ Thus, 7TEEN Events decided to establish itself as a pro youth event planning agency, focusing on healthy recreational needs for the work-heaped university students and working to give them platforms where they could let go off daily life pressure and unleash their talents.
Sheehan’s passion for his work and his keen business acumen definitely combine as a driving force behind the 7TEEN engine. But what else makes the company click? ‘My co-workers,’ explains Sheehan. Perhaps the best part about 7TEEN Events is the fact that it is not only a ‘for the youth’ but also a ‘by the youth’ organisation. ‘I am not a fan of rigid work guidelines but I love working at 7TEEN because the work here is closely related to things I enjoy doing, particularly futsal. Apart from that, I have also learnt a great deal about working within tight schedules, leading teams and enhancing the communication aspects of the various events. It’s been fun,’ shares Ahnaf, a young employee of 7TEEN and a university student.
7TEEN’s dynamic workforce, comprising of young, undergraduate students, brings a lot of different elements to the table and they utilise their energy, exuberance and ingenuity to create magic. They are not only actively engaged with the marketing and promotion of the various projects of the organisation but also invest their unique ideas to pull them off. Another young gun Nabid remarks, ‘I love to play with ideas and 7TEEN gave me the right platform where I had the freedom to use my creative skills.’
As Sheehan puts it, ‘Our strength lies in a diverse array of ideas. And the best of creative ideas come from people who are young. Since 7TEEN is for the youth and caters to their activation needs, we feel nobody understands their needs better than the youth themselves.’ Not only does 7TEEN provide the youth with part time job opportunities, which add to their resume, but they also pay their employees through a scheme where profit is equally divided among them after each event completion. ‘I believe in fair compensation and it also lifts the spirit of the team’, remarks Sheehan.
Reviews from people working for 7TEEN, like that of Rittika, are encouraging. ‘I wanted to work and establish myself as an asset to the company. I wanted to learn about how certain things were managed in an organisation and 7TEEN gave me the opportunity to learn all that!’ Arko, Ryan and other youngsters at 7TEEN have similar, encouraging stories to tell.
In the future, 7TEEN Events aspires to engage the youth more, arrange bigger and better events and spread outside the domain of Dhaka. Sheehan’s journey has been challenging but who said following one’s dreams is ever going to be an easy job!

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