Student Entrepreneurship: Bridging the Industry-Academia Gap

It is rightly said that – “Child is the father of Man” and the CEO’s in making at age 11 have proved the same.

The Start-Up Industry is growing leaps and bounds in our nation, comprising a huge talent pool from different age groups and backgrounds. Interestingly, this stream that looks so scary to experienced professionals with fat pay checks, is all the more lucrative and enjoyable for students who don’t over think and are driven by their passion. Good news is that Top institutes such as IITs, BITs, IIMs etc. are supportive of this choice made by the students and are taking measures to create scope for the same in the overall curriculum. For instance, most premier colleges have created an E-Cell (Entrepreneurship Cell) to conduct events or talks around careers at Start-Ups. Moreover, there is extended support directly coming from the top players in the Industry to ensure that students get a fair chance to demonstrate their talent and live their passion.

Few Industry Programs/Initiatives are as follows –

• Microsoft Academia

• Your Story Campus Evangelist Program

• Tata First Dot

• 10000 Start-Ups for Students

Though there are several initiatives that focus on – Student Hackathons , Technical Skill

Building , Basics of how to Start-Up etc. yet looking at the big picture gives an impression that there lies a gap that needs to be filled in order to closely couple Industry and Academia. Even though top institutes have certain provisions, they are not functionally as active as they should be in order to spread greater awareness on various options that students can avail as their career choice.

Based on the general response from students when they are asked about their understanding of ‘Entrepreneurship’, one can raise their eyebrow on the following –

Why should this be limited to premier higher education institutes?

Why can’t Entrepreneurship be a part of student curriculum and more so in a practical way rather than just theory?

Why can’t most educational institutes support incubators such as CIE ( IIIHT, Hyderabad ) or TBI ( VIT Vellore ) ?

Why can’t students have a reformed curriculum where at the end of every year they get to test their theoretical knowledge on their Ideas?

There are numerous such questions, some of which are being answered today by organizations that provide incubation, guidance and acceleration to budding entrepreneurs, but many remain unanswered.

One of the important factors is the difference in the mindset and understanding of a student as compared to that of a professional or even post graduate for that matter. There is a dearth of student focused initiatives starting from entrepreneurial education till the realization of an idea into a product or service. Students fresh out of college or even those in college, are high on energy and have great potential but lack maturity and the lessons that are learned from experience. They are highly flexible and can persevere hard to gain expertise in the technical skills required to build great products but, what they need to build a great Enterprise is guidance and soft skills along with strategic intelligence.

The solution to the aforementioned concerns could lie in the ‘Enhancement of the education system’ to start with. There has been a long felt need to revamp the Indian Education System but there may not have been enough and serious attempt by concerned authorities. The bright side though is that Start-Ups are taking a lead in this field as well. Start-Ups such as – EVOLVD are trying to make education something that one and all can enjoy and gain from instead of it being connoted as a yardstick for personality development.

Parental understanding of this whole new eco-system is of utmost importance so that no blossoming flower (idea) is nipped in the bud. Support from parents can take the Young Entrepreneurs of our nation to a whole new level as it will provide them the most important ingredient of brewing a Start-Up : “BELIEF” !

Let’s dream of an era wherein parents want their new born girl to be a ‘Pearl Uppal’ and boy to be a ‘Sachin Bansal’.