‘Unreasonable’ Thinking Brings Results, Entrepreneur Tells Colorado College Audience

By Stephen Hobbs
The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.).

It’s easy for entrepreneurs to get dissuaded.

Concepts fail. Investors are hard to persuade. And family and friends provide nudges to look for a different career or ditch an idea.

“That’s why it takes unreasonable people who are not willing to listen to that traditional wisdom to have an impact,” said Teju Ravilochan to a group of about four dozen people at Colorado College Thursday.

Ravilochan, co-founder and CEO of the Unreasonable Institute, invoked his own life when speaking to attendees.

He told a story of seeing beggars in India, when he was a child, and asking his father, a doctor, if there was a medical school for poverty.

After attending the University of Colorado at Boulder and working with an entrepreneur credited with helping millions of farmers move out of poverty, he co-founded the Unreasonable Institute in 2009.

The Institute attracts entrepreneurs from around the world to the program, which has them live together in the same home for weeks as they are mentored and meet with potential funders.

Putting the select group of people together can be empowering, Ravilochan said.

He gave examples of attendees from India, the United States and Uganda who worked on projects related to sanitation, health and energy to improve the lives of people around the world.

The organization has institutes in Boulder, Uganda and Mexico, which have attracted more than 100 companies from dozens of countries, according to its website.
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Ravilochan said entrepreneurial education should be about giving people a safe space to try ideas, fail and improve. Encouraging them to take risks and be unreasonable can be transformational.

“You can’t teach someone entrepreneurship but they can learn it,” he said.

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