Wings of hope


Annie Deckelbaum

Junior Krish Bhagat holds up a crow at Wild Bird Rehabilitation (WBR) after rescuing it from a nearby fence on the side of the road. Bhagat treated the bird for lice contracted from roadkill and administered medicine and ointments for other possible injuries. “I was terrified that [the bird would] freak out on me. You have to hold a crow by its head and talons so that they don’t bite your finger off or claw your arms, meaning you can’t hold its wings to keep them from flapping. You just have to deal with it. But I was also holding a freaking adorable crow, which was so cool and awesome, and I was over the moon,” Bhagat said.

Entrepreneur junior Krish Bhagat created speakUP! to help non-profit organizations promote their brands.

In elementary school, junior Krish Bhagat was labeled gifted before moving into Mosaics Academy, where peers constantly bullied him. Because of this, he pushed himself into the outside world and found happiness in himself and nature. In the outdoors, Bhagat discovered a new hobby that spun itself into a business.  

“I learned how to use [mental health] to my advantage, especially during COVID-19,” Bhagat said. “I was able to connect with nature.” 

After finding his passion for the environment, Bhagat devoted himself to caring for birds. He began volunteering and discovered the Wild Bird Rehabilitation (WBR) organization. 

“[WBR] helped me take [my passion] to the next level, not only by volunteering frequently but also by having a community and making connections,” Bhagat said. 

WBR admits over 2,000 birds annually and allows people like Bhagat to care for them and learn about their lifestyle. In addition to volunteering, Bhagat works at the Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis, a non-profit songbird hospital. 

 “I would have never been as obsessed with songbirds as I am now if it hadn’t been for working with Wild Bird Rehabilitation. I’ve worked with them consistently, and they’ve helped me learn [about wildlife] and grow [as an individual],” Bhagat said.

As Bhagat continued to experience new opportunities and meet new people, he became inspired to write. With over 140,000 words written, he writes blogs for WBR, helping the company promote the business to the community. 

“I started writing for fun because there’s always an inner monologue screaming in my head. I [decided to] put pen to paper and capture the emotions I’ve experienced,” Bhagat said. 

Logo for speakUP! features a box with the letters SU in blue and a yellow diagonal arrow pointing towards the top right corner.
Junior Krish Bhagat created this current logo for his business speakUP!

After enrolling in Spark! program through school, Bhagat realized he had the exposure and character to begin his own business: speakUP! He currently works with non-profit organizations and small businesses that do not have the technological capability to market themselves. His goal is to help organizations advertise their brand or promote their vision. Bhagat uses communication and marketing skills to build connections with customers. 

“I have a passion for humanitarian concerns, [so] it’s nice to have this business and have [the ability] to go to other companies or nonprofits and say ‘we can work with you.’ It makes us professional and opens up many opportunities,” Bhagat said. 

Bhagat utilizes diverse services to tailor to his customers’ needs and maintain quality and authenticity. 

“I specialize in creative writing, editorial writing and presentational speaking, which means I offer services such as copywriting, blog writing and presentation preparation. SpeakUP! above all else, strives to meet clients’ needs and give them the tools they need to succeed,” Bhagat said. 

To meet with emerging entrepreneurs and discusses business struggles, Bhagat attends Venture Cafe STL. With these continual gatherings, he receives requests to create websites, blogs and more for small businesses. 

An infographic explaining the three Cs in running a business: consistency, communication and confidence. Consistency means how often you are able to work and stay consistent with your vision of the business. Communication means that you must be able to work with a team, your suppliers and your audience. Confidence means having strength and willpower, as well as taking risks.
Junior Krish Bhagat describes the qualities a person needs to run a business successfully. After a year in Spark!, Bhagat believed there are three important principles to running his business. “There are a lot of different skills and aspects for different businesses. However, I feel like the most universal [skills] are consistency, communication and confidence,” Bhagat said. (Annie Deckelbaum)

“There will always be people who are there to help you. At the end of the day, businesses don’t have to be industrial. They can help you and the community grow, and that’s a wonderful thing,” Bhagat said.

Bhagat plans to advertise his business through social media. He wants to focus on social media platforms like Facebook after sports and AP classes slow down.

“I plan on marketing and growing by going to social media and creating engage groups, eventually drawing in customers and getting leads,” Bhagat said. 

From his experience starting a business and working at WBR, Bhagat hopes to see more teens caring about the outside world and giving back to the community. 

“If you have an idea and [the] drive to accomplish it, there should be nothing stopping you,” Bhagat said. “The best time to learn is through failing. It’s not even failing; it’s falling because you want to fall forward at the end of the day. When you fall, you build yourself back up, and you’re more resilient in the future. So take those risks. And if you fail, good job. You learn something, [so] you’ve accomplished something.”