IFIM is essentially an entrepreneurial institution. For anyone following the school’s trajectory, this might be apparent from the rapid experimentation and demonstrated agility to change over the past decade. Entrepreneurship as an area of study for our young graduates, however, is a more recent endeavour.
IFIM E-Cell student members
An easy way to describe what we do at IFIM to nurture young entrepreneurs would be to state that we offer an eclectic set of subjects to help students absorb themselves in the study of business through an entrepreneurial way. We offer opportunities for students to major or minor in entrepreneurship through an offering of the following courses while they simultaneously work on their own business ideas:
Creative Thinking and Innovation
Value Creation through Business Models
Venture Growth Strategies
Legal Aspect for new ventures
Business Plan writing and pitching
Exit Strategies and
Managing Family Business
Besides the listed subjects, the students also are free to pick up cross-listed courses from other areas such as Financial Modelling and Business Valuation, Leadership and Teambuilding etc., to augment areas in which they feel the need for additional help. Their curricular work is supported by extra-curricular activities of the E-Cell and the support structure of the Start-up Foundry, the incubation center at IFIM. While the E-Cell provides the students with a sense of connection with the larger student base at the school, the Startup Foundry supports the students’ ventures through mentoring, legal, marketing/branding and some financial support.
Hostel Backpack, a venture founded by students of IFIM
The foregoing description is perhaps sufficient to placate the curiosity of a distant observer, looking to make a case for what is possible for nurturing entrepreneurship at an educational institution. It may not however, answer the sceptic who understands that entrepreneurship is perhaps not best learnt in a classroom. Can an offering of a set of courses and a promise of support, nurture entrepreneurs? What fans and sustains their flames of entrepreneurial passion? What makes them curious enough to delve deeper into a difficult business problem without giving up when the going gets tough?
When enterprising students keen on exploring their potential for running their own business tentatively walk into the entrepreneurship course or the Startup Foundry, they are looking for assurance. In the entire educational career, many students are told to earn a degree to get themselves a respectable ‘job’, that being the quintessential purpose of education. These students, typically low on confidence in their ability to go behind their instincts, are looking for someone to reassure them that their dreams could be real. They are looking for a way to explore their ideas or interests and also for someone to lead them step by step into the ventures they want to undertake. They want to know that they have someone to go to and discuss their problems without being judged for making a mistake or being chided for taking a chance. They are looking for ideas to help them build upon their own and a safe place that will accept and discuss their ideas further. Guidance and help to work through their purpose a little better will boost their confidence.
In reality this is what the IFIM system offers to the students who diffidently enters the entrepreneurship arena, till he or she learns to be a confident entrepreneur.
Business Plan challenge competition hosted for the PGDM students to instil the spirit of entrepreneurship
When a student comes to us and asks, “I want to do something in education, but I don’t know what or how – I have no background. Could you give me some examples I can get inspired from?”; when a student closes the door behind him, looks around to see if no one else is noticing and says, “I am looking to start a flooring business because I don’t want to do what my father is doing, how do I start?”; when a student in the class says, “The Amazon case is cool and I get it, but how do you analyse a case to understand the underlying business issues – how do we think through these issues – how do we structure our thoughts?”; when a student says “there is this little app I want to develop as a project to solve an everyday problem, and I would like to do it just to know that I can solve the problem and build the product”; when a student tells us that ”the team is important and we can do more together than alone”; when a student tells us, “I didn’t want to work with my father because I didn’t know I could stand up to the scrutiny, but now he lets me sit at his business meetings since he and his partners think I can actually make sense and add value” – these little nuggets we occasionally hear in the passing from our students – is when we really know we are nurturing aspiring young entrepreneurs.
Chairperson – Centre of Excellence (Entrepreneurship Development)
Associate Professor – Entrepreneurship and Marketing
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