Last week, an early morning surprise call from Dr. Abhinav made my day. A firm believer of Jugaad and Innovation, Dr. Abhinav always creates a beautiful fusion of entrepreneurial teaching and practice to bring the best of both worlds, making entrepreneurial education more action-oriented and fun
The call was regarding the interest of more than 14 students from the School of Management willing to work with student start-up entrepreneurs from our University.
These students willingly left the opportunity of working with corporate as an intern, earn stipend money and get exposure with the business world outside and chose to work with young start-ups. Start-ups who are still trying to make it big fighting lots of challenges of their own and shaping up, those who cannot even issue a proper certificate forget about the stipend are being preferred by the students over well-paying corporate internships.
In 2017 when I heard the word entrepreneurial mindset these words sounded more fancy than realistic. Coming from core acceleration and incubation space with full-time start-ups and VCs, inculcating the entrepreneurial mindset among university students was inspiring but looked far-fetched. I used to see my job as more of converting ideas into start-ups and helping them launch and grow than working with students with ideas. I used to question myself, if an idea is not transformed into a start-up, what’s the purpose/outcome?
I still remember, during my starting days at Bennett Hatchery, most experienced member in Centre of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Bennett University, Dr. Vinod Shastri saying to me, “not everyone will become an entrepreneur and build a startup but our very job is to inculcate the entrepreneurial mindset among students. In a university, start-ups are the by-product. We have a larger task. Start-ups may or may not happen, but you will see the change”. I see and realize it happening today. 4 years down the line, I see a change not only at Bennett University, but the entire country.
While I must appreciate Government’s initiatives apart from its department, DST, DIPP and others, it directly started promoting entrepreneurship in school and colleges, through NITI Aayog’s initiatives of Atal Tinkering Labs and Atal Innovation Centre respectively and also through MHRD and Ministry of Education’s the initiative, with the direct impact of creating job creators creating employment.
While many may think, it’s more like tapping the talent early and nurturing them into start-ups, the other more important side was creating the ripple effect of making a change in the mindset of young talent and the generation at large. A generation, taking risk and challenge and joining hands with start-ups, who earlier faced a dearth of talent. And a cultural change, of families, who earlier fended for secure govt. job’s supporting them in taking risks.
While dropouts and student entrepreneurs declining job offers was a trend earlier, the new trend coming is talented youth declining lucrative jobs and internship offer and looking to work with start-ups. With the entrepreneurial interest of students may range from quick to launch app-based projects to long term research based ones… I see a light of “Made in India” now.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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