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Top varsities want you to be a biz whiz

education Updated: Feb 22, 2012 17:27 IST
Rahat Bano
Rahat Bano
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Columbia University is going to expand its five-day entrepreneurship and innovation programme for high school and undergraduate students of all disciplines in India and other countries such as China in late-May-early-June this year.

The decision comes following the “excellent feedback” to the programme, called In-V-Ent-Ed (Innovation - Venture Creation - Entrepreneurship - Education) that was held for the first time outside the university, in India in October 2011. This time, In-V-Ent-Ed will be conducted in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore by Jack McGourty, vice dean, corporate, government and global engagement, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, Columbia, in association with a city-based consulting firm.

Two sessions are scheduled in Delhi, two in Mumbai and one in Bangalore, with 75 spots at a fee of Rs 1 lakh per head.

Aspirants must have a clear business idea to take part. “The most important factor is whether they can show they are passionate about and can work around it,” said McGourty who was in the Capital to meet parents and students. Applicants are asked questions based on their proposed project.

In the maiden programme, 21 of the 24 participants were school students and the rest college-goers. About the success rate of that session, McGourty said, “They are young. Several of the students continue to work on their ideas. My favourite is one student who is working on a portal for young aspiring creative writers… She’s the farthest along. She’s coming to us (at the university) in the summer to develop it further.”

McGourty said, “At this level, what matters is that the student has thought about the feasibility of the idea — is it technically feasible, is there a market for it and whether they have the personal resources to keep working on it. At this age, it’s about motivation.”

The local business and bureaucratic environment is touched upon too. It takes 29 days to start a business in India as compared to two in Australia and six in the United States, according to a World Bank study. “We certainly talk about it in the class. We are starting to build a local network of mentors. We are starting to talk to Columbia alumni who are entrepreneurs,” said McGourty.

Application details are available at futureworks.co.in

Tech advantage
A group of nine Canadian universities and Indian partners, now has three offices in India “that provide space to focus on entrepreneurship and innovation”. Led by Carleton, Ryerson and Simon Fraser universities, the consortium will work with businesses. “We’ll look at problems in India and Canada and solve them through science and technology,” said Roseann O’Reilly Runte, president and vice-chancellor, Carleton University, in New Delhi