The Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Kharagpur is a non-profit student organisation that has been established with the chief aim of fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship among college students in India. They are one of the most successful entrepreneurial organizations in the country with over 50 start-ups incubated within their first 7 years. They conduct Guest Lectures, Workshops, Business Plan Competitions and provide mentorship and establishment support to aspiring student entrepreneurs.
The Entrepreneurship Awareness Drive (EAD) is one of their major events, the other being the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in January. The EAD consists of a series of guest lectures and workshops held in 20 cities over a span of 20 days in the month of October.
Each city plays host to an Entrepreneurship Awareness Camp (EAC), where eminent entrepreneurs and industry leaders counsel students about the pros and cons of entrepreneurship as a viable career option and how it differs from the usual run-of-the-mill job culture that has existed till now.
Each EAC also features a Networking Session, where startups, students and the guests can freely interact as well as a Startup Pitching Session, where the startups attending the session reap the benefits of a one-on-one interaction with the Guest Lecturers.
The EAD has come a long way since its inception 5 years ago and the number of cities it is held in has grown from 10 to 20 with a footfall of 7,550 in 2011 and 12,000 students in 2012.
Some of the distinguished guests who have been guest lecturers at EAD include Ms. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Founder of Biocon, Phanindra Sama, CEO of Redbus.in, Arjun Malhotra, co-founder of HCL Technologies, Mr. Irrfan Alam, Founder of Sammaan Foundation as well as a contemporary face for Social Entrepreneurship in India, and Ms. Shaheen Mistry, Founder of the Teach for India Foundation. As this drive continues to reach out to more students and entrepreneurs, they move one step closer to achieving Vision 2020, as outlined by Former President of India Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.
The Entrepreneurship Awareness Drive also coincides with the launch of their International Business Plan Competitions: Empresario and Envision, which draws in enthusiastic participation from all over the nation and beyond.
Though the event is spread over one day, there is a follow up with the students, and they are further encouraged to take part in their Business Plan Competitions and take their ideas a step ahead .Their B-Plan Competition, Empresario 2013, generated a huge buzz across the country with the number of entries going up to a total of 2,247, and is the biggest business plan competition in the country with a prize money of Rs. 6 lakhs and a total incubation support of Rs. 1.8 crores. IIT Kharagpur’s Product Design Competition, aptly titled ‘Envision,’ attracts some of the best engineering innovations from across the globe, and offers a prize money of 1.5 Lakhs.
During the drive, many colleges expressed their interest in setting up entrepreneurship promoting bodies for the benefit of their students, and activities have been initiated to set up EDCs or E-Cells in such colleges with IIT Kharagpur’s Entrepreneurship Cell as their mentor.
The campus ambassadors appointed from each associate college have also received due recognition from the Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Kharagpur. Thus, a healthy network has been developed between a large number of colleges and the Entrepreneurship Cell at IIT Kharagpur, which is important for spreading awareness about entrepreneurship across the entire country.
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