Saturday, May 08, 2010

Grooming entrepreneurship in classrooms

Educational institutions across the country are doubling as nurseries where great ideas are planted and nurtured, helping youngsters begin their incredible journey as entrepreneurs. Take Gaurav Singh, a final-year student at Mumbai business school NITIE, who, along with three of his classmates, already runs a thriving business. Over the past few months, the group has earned a neat Rs. 10 lakh by selling theme-based T-shirts. We got a lot of orders from colleges in Mumbai, and are in talks with Wipro and Deloitte, he said. Eight months into the business, they have even employed a few workers to do the knitting and embroidery, and a designer. Mr. Singh credits NITIE's Entrepreneurship Cell with helping them market their ideas and conduct recruitments. Through a project called "Hamara Dhandha" (Our Business), the institute encourages students to launch and manage their own enterprises from the start of the MBA programme. The idea is to help students understand the link between all the 25 subjects they learn in their MBA course, says Prof. T. Prasad.

The S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR) in Mumbai offers its final-year MBA students a course on entrepreneurship. The institute also offers an elective course wherein students work with entrepreneurs on a specific project. For students serious about starting their own venture, the institute has a Start Your Business programme. Besides developing the knowledge,skills and attitude for creating a sustainable new venture, this gets them connected to the entrepreneurial network, says Prof. Suresh Rao, Chairperson, Centre for Entrepreneurship at SPJIMR. The programme has four modules that takes a student through the stages of starting a new venture. Besides this, the institute is a founding member of the National Entrepreneurship Network that helps generate interest in entrepreneurship and create an entrepreneurial faculty in the country.

Other institutes are planning collaborations to give wings to budding businessmen. The entrepreneurship cells of two government-run institutes in Mumbai Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS) and engineering college, Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) have entered into one such tie-up. Under the deal, students of VJTI will get marketing and finance-related support from their counterparts in JBIMS for the technical projects that they work on in their final year or during college festivals.

Many marketable projects die a natural death in college laboratories. Through this collaboration, we will involve students from both the institutes to create successful businesses, says Stephen Dsilva, Director, JBIMS. However, the concept has yet to catch on, with students being wary of the entrepreneurial process and job offers during campus placements seen as more lucrative. At NITIE, for instance, just three students opted out of the placement process in 2009 to start their own ventures, while this year all the students went in for campus placements. In the case of JBIMS, of the total 120 students, only one student opted out of placement this year, and in SPJIMR, over the past four to five years, just 10 to 12 candidates chose to become entrepreneurs. To address this concern, JBIMS will allow its former students to take part in placements.

Source: The Economic Times, May 7, 2010

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