Mumbai News

Campus Talk: E-Cell at IIT Bombay taking start-up culture to schools – The Indian Express

In a one-of-its-kind initiative, students from the Entrepreneurship Cell at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay are giving entrepreneurship lessons to school kids. The idea is to inculcate a ‘start-up culture’ in children from a young age.

Start-ups are receiving a boost nationally and the new National Education Policy (NEP) also puts emphasis on setting up innovation and incubation centres in higher education institutions across the country. In such times, this student-run non-profit organisation, popularly known as E-Cell, at IIT Bombay has taken it a notch further with the launch of the National Entrepreneurship Challenge (NEC) Junior.

The NEC Junior, as per the information provided by IIT Bombay’s E-Cell, is created with the idea of developing entrepreneurship from the grassroots. Bhargav Chaudhari, media and marketing head at the IIT Bombay E-Cell, said: “We plan to promote entrepreneurship among the nation’s younger generation and to ensure that youngsters don’t feel that starting a company is rocket science. The most enthusiastic audience is in the school and they do not fear to dream. NEC Junior was started this year with the aim to set up a culture in schools that would encourage students to solve the problems that they see around them… E-Cell has already got this running in 30 schools in India.”

The NEC Junior will replicate the original NEC model of the IIT Bombay E-Cell which was focused on higher education institutions until now. The NEC is a platform that helps colleges build actively functioning E-Cell on their respective campuses, by way of collaborations and mentorships through a network of established E-Cell on campuses across India.

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“There are successfully functioning entrepreneurship bodies at different colleges across India, just like the E-Cell at IIT Bombay. Initially, mentors are identified from this pool who are then connected with budding teams of entrepreneurs from colleges and schools that have registered with us for the NEC. Along with training sessions, talks, and so on, the teams are encouraged to work on a focused plan,” added Chaudhari.

Sakshi Khanna, chairperson of the E-Cell at Sardar Patel Institute of Technology, Mumbai which has been participating in the NEC since 2018, said: “Even as our E-Cell was formed in the year 2012, participating in the NEC has really helped us expand and acquire the professional approach. The student mentors assigned by the IIT Bombay’s E-Cell are constantly in touch with our E-Cell members for guidance. Training sessions are held with successful entrepreneurs to learn the tricks of the trade.”