Author: Sanjay Goel
In India, gradually the youngsters are getting attracted towards entrepreneuship. The successes of Mark Zuckerburg and others is inspiring Indian youth as well. Events like Startup Saturday and Start Weekend are attracting lot of response. I have always wanted to encourage entrepreneurship spirit among my students. After so many years in teaching, in the summer of 2012, I finally got an idea and opportunity to actually do so in a meanigful manner. The first batch of Dual degree BTech-Mtech students at JIIT have enetered their fifth year. Their curriculum required them to take a 2 credit seminar course in the summer. Normally, in such a course, the students would have been asked to prepare and deliver seminars (and reports) on 1-2 topics. I decided to use this opportunity to encourage entrepreneurship among these students. I took the responsibility of coordinating this course and asked these students to deliver two seminars. The first seminar was about presenting an overview of state of art of IT application in their chosen field. This carried 35% weightage.
The main engagement in this course was the other seminar with 65% weightage. It was about preparing and presenting a proposal for an IT startup. In a group of 2-3 students, these students identified some problem, conceived a solution using a novel IT product/service, examined the competition and revenue generation model. In all these 41 students divided themselves into 14 groups and presented their case. These proposals were examined by an expert team from industry. Following experts critiqued and evaluated these proposals:
1. Mr. Mukul Jain, Founder and CEO of MTree (former COO GlobalLogic)
2. Mr. Arvind Jha, Founder Movico, Pariksha Labs (former Director Engg. at Adobe)
3. Dr. Mona Mathur, Entrepreneur (former Engg specialist, ST Microelectronics)
4. Mr. Sandesh Goel, Technical Leader, CISCO Systems (former Director, Systems Engg., Marvel Semiconductors)
All these four judges have IIT (Kanpur/Kharagpur/Delhi) background and individually also have very rich industry experience (ranging from 15 – 30 years) in creating new innovative products, founding/working at start up companies, and also leading technical groups. The four experts carefully and critically examined the proposals and also gave their suggestionsns to these students. Nikhil Wason, an entrepreneur and alumnus of JIIT (formerly at Adobe) and two faculty members of JIIT – Dr. Satish Chandra and Ms.Sangeeta helped in conducting the proceedings.
The judges collectively identified three best proposals. Some of these judges have even volunteered to support and mentor some groups. Here are the three presentations that were declared by the judges as the best.
1. Personalized Recreational Planner by Brio (Prachi Badera, Reema Aswani and Surbhi Maggo)
2. GreenTruck.in by United Stealth (Aniket Handa and Prateek Sharma)
3. CREAMi by Layers (Sagar Ghai, Divya Sharma and Ashish Bhardwaj)
On the whole the students found this engagement very enriching. I hope that some of them are able to transform their proposals into reality. I look forward to engaging more and more students into such activities.
After this experience, I feel that each university and engineering/management college must have an incubation centre. The quality of the incubation support must be given due weightage in assessing and ranking these institutes. The Government and chambers of industry like FICCI, CII, and NASSCOM must generously support such chambers. It is such a paradox that even a large number of private universities and colleges that have been promoted by business houses, do not have their incubation centre.