A new generation of start-ups

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A new generation of start-ups

Wednesday, 07 October 2020 | ATUL RAJA

A new generation of start-ups

We are now witnessing a paradigm shift with entrepreneurship fast becoming the first-choice career for our best and brightest, and start-up successes inspiring a new generation of Indians, says ATUL RAJA

It is an interesting reflection. When I was growing up, and perhaps till a decade back, many of the career aspirations were decided by one set of parents proudly proclaiming, “My son will become an engineer or a doctor”. The other set would tell you, “We are not Tata or Birla. Study hard to get into a job from where you can retire”. Indians were traditionally risk-averse when it came to career choices.

However, the situation today has turned on its head, and we sure have come a long way. The fact that India needs job creators and not job seekers isn’t lost on anyone, including the youth. We are now witnessing a paradigm shift with entrepreneurship fast becoming the first-choice career for our best and brightest, and startup successes inspiring a new generation of Indians. This has mainly been due to a significant shift in the way Entrepreneurship Education is now being imparted at campuses. The new trends in Entrepreneurship Education are experiential and focused on ‘learning by doing’.

Mainstreaming entrepreneurship course with credits: Educational Institutions which are serious about creating a culture of entrepreneurship at their campus are mainstreaming the course with credits and bringing in an evangelist faculty for the same. This has gone a long way in generating more interest in entrepreneurship amongst students.

Project-based learning: The course is now less theoretical and focused on out-of-the-class and out-of-the-book approach — validating the startup idea, how to create business models, understand the nuances of Minimum Viable Product (MVP), do’s and don’ts before starting up etc. are real-time scenarios ensuring that startups of tomorrow begin on the right footing.

Exposure to industry experts, mentors and entrepreneurs: It is widely acknowledged that the best teachers of entrepreneurship are entrepreneurs themselves who have dirtied their hands, faced myriad challenges and done it all. While industry experts give an outlook of the various facets of the business, the entrepreneurs give a first-hand feel of what’s to come in the entrepreneurial journey.

Practice ventures: Practice ventures by students lay a clear roadmap for venture creation and build entrepreneurial muscle. A number of startups have arisen from campus ventures as they provide real-word learning into business planning, customers, markets, revenue, competition and funding.

Design thinking: Innovation and Entrepreneurship are two sides of the same coin. Fostering innovative thinking through creative and collaborative workflows helps to facilitate prototyping and discovery of new solutions.

The new entrepreneurship education trends at the campus are fostering innovation and experimentation through hands-on experiential learning and providing an opportunity to budding startups for building and executing the business idea, learning to challenge the status quo, and developing a risk-taking mindset. More importantly, this will go a long way in grooming a new generation of educated and robust startups who are more aware of the pitfalls that lead to failure and hence, will maximise their success rate.

We are looking at a future where our entrepreneurs will be heroes much like the Bollywood stars and cricketers.

The writer is Executive Vice President, Marketing at Wadhwani Foundation

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