Posted on: March 14, 2013
Over the last decade, ‘E-Cell’ has become a much-spoken about aspect of most prominent management institutes in the country. A lot many consequential entrepreneurial ventures have emerged from these E-Cells. But the question surfaces out as to whether B-schools are actually serious about E-Cells as agents of change, or just look upon them as another club on campus.
From hosting researchers and budding entrepreneurs, to their deep industry and government connect, premier management institutes today have all that it takes to be the cradles of entrepreneurship in the country. E-Cells have been a playground for ideas for quite sometime now and are seeing to back students in terms of funding or even mentoring to help turn their vision into reality.
“We know the latent power that lies in an E-Cell,” emphasises Professor Bidyanand Jha, Faculty Coordinator of the E-Cell of Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies. “And that is the reason why the E-Cell at KIAMS is a relatively new inclusion. KIAMS is a brainchild of one of the greatest entrepreneurs of India, Mr. Shantanurao Kirloskar, and therefore Entrepreneurship is a subject very dear to the entire management at KIAMS. We could not have an inconsequential E-Cell, so we needed to know the exact purpose that our E-Cell would serve. So when the KIAMS E-Cell was launched about seven months ago, in July 2012 – along with the induction of our 15th Batch – it was with the aim to ensure that if there was an entrepreneur with a great idea amidst our batches, he or she would find unstinted and total support. We would give them a platform to explore their ideas on market feasibility in front of the experts and guide them to the relevant organization where they can explore the possibility of executing the project. We will mentor the idea and make them interact with the right people for funding guidance.”
The KIAMS E-Cell does have a fairly different approach when compared to other B-schools of the country. Right from inviting 11 young entrepreneurs to launch its E-Cell, to the Intra-KIAMS Business Plan Competition (Anukaran) – everything seems to indicate that the KIAMS E-Cell is seriously looking for the ‘Next Big Idea’ that it can nurture. Infact, the KIAMS E-Cell is constantly on the lookout for opportunities like the Yuva Summit to expose members of its E-Cell to legendary entrepreneurs. Nearly 40 students of KIAMS were given an NID (Non Instructional Day) and sent to the Yuva Summit in Hubli on the 31st of January, where they had the opportunity to interact with stalwarts like Mr. Ratan Tata, Mr. Narayan Murthy and Ms. Sudha Murthy.
“Since KIAMS attaches a very high premium to our E-Cell, the selection process is equally tough,” pointed out Vikas Kalani, a PGDM student and a part of E-Cell at KIAMS. “One can be an E-Cell member only by clearing a test on the Entrepreneurship domain. After the screening there will be an in-house competition for B-Plan and a personal interview. Once the student clears the rounds, he/ she would be recruited to the core committee for KIAMS E-Cell.”
Interestingly, the KIAMS E-Cell is actively encouraging business plans from its alumni diaspora as well. With a proactive approach to entrepreneurship, KIAMS clearly seems to have an ‘E-Cell with a difference’ – one that B-schools across the country would do well to emulate.
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