Sapan Jot, Etobicoke-based Franchiseeof Code Ninjas South Etobicoke
Sapan Jot is an Etobicoke-based franchisee of Code Ninjas South Etobicoke, an educational coding center for children aged 5-14. Inspired by her father’s entrepreneurship, her desire for her own kids to be prepared for the increasingly tech-focused job market, and her passion for education equality, Sapan opened Code Ninjas South Etobicoke with the goal of amplifying STEM-based curriculum in schools. Sapan holds both an Engineering Degree in Information Technology from India, where she grew up, and a Masters in Statistics from the US.
What is your vision with Code Ninjas?
My goal for Code Ninjas South Etobicoke is to provide young children of all backgrounds access to STEM education, to fill the gaps in provincial STEM-based and coding curriculums, and ultimately offer every child an opportunity to further their knowledge in the technology sector so as to prepare them for an increasingly tech-focused job market.
How has your experience of growing up in India inspired you to open Code Ninjas South Etobicoke and empower young people to achieve anything they want?
Growing up in India, I saw firsthand the lack of opportunities for young girls growing up. I believe every child should have access to the knowledge and education that will help them reach their goals and dreams. I used my experience growing up in India, inspired by my father’s entrepreneurship, as motivation to open Code Ninjas South Etobicoke. I want to do everything in my power to give the kids in my community opportunities that I saw many girls deprived of as a child.
Why is it crucial to normalize the importance of youth learning how to code?
Coding has been called “the literacy of the 21st century.” By gaining knowledge of basic programming languages, children will have a strong foundation and understanding of the technology they use on a daily basis. Coding also provides them with the critical thinking skills they will need as they further their education and once they start their career. The need for a generation that not only understands technology at the surface level but also the intricate outline of how technology works behind the scenes only continues to grow along with the emerging tech demand.
How can the knowledge of coding increase computer literacy and prepare them for the growing tech demand?
The Canadian job market is becoming increasingly more tech-focused and school boards are working hard to include basic coding into STEM learning to equip youth for the most successful future possible. Normalizing this area of education addresses a gap in the understanding of technology among youth and prepares them for any tech training, regardless of the industry they pursue.
How does Code Ninjas offer accessibility to a sophisticated coding education to address a gap in the current curriculum?
At Code Ninjas, coding is taught by intertwining education with play. By learning to build and create their own video games, children are taught the foundational basics of coding and other computer literacy skills in a unique curriculum that they can take at their own pace. Through our many year-round programs and summer camps, we offer a diverse arrangement of ways for parents to invest in the future of their children while allowing them to learn in a safe, encouraging, and most importantly, fun place.
As a strong believer in providing access to education, I have established an ongoing partnership between Code Ninjas South Etobicoke and the Jean Augustine Centre. The Jean Augustine Centre is an organization passionate about female empowerment, and we are working together to offer free coding sessions for young girls that enroll through their foundation.
What are some of the difficulties you faced while trying to navigate this field and what can other aspiring entrepreneurs learn from your experience?
Opening Code Ninjas South Etobicoke in the midst of a pandemic and various lockdown restrictions was not ideal, but I stayed focused, determined to be a success. The generous and continued support of the local community ensured we mitigated some of these challenges–Code Ninjas South Etobicoke is very fortunate to have boasted an impressive run with a high volume of classes throughout the pandemic since our opening. We have implemented virtual learning sessions and made continued accessibility to our program our priority for our students.
Something that any aspiring entrepreneur can take away from this is that your own lived experience doesn’t have to last forever. The barrier to education resulting from gender inequality as a young girl growing up in India was not ideal, but I never let it hold me back. Instead, I turned it into motivation to ensure that young kids who are just as passionate about learning as I was, will always have an opportunity to further their education. The past never has to dictate the future, and any entrepreneur should find inspiration from wherever they can to encourage, empower, and educate others – especially the children of today, who will be our leaders of tomorrow.