Thursday, July 10, 2014

Calendar of activities for building an entrepreneurial campus for students

I travel to over 100 colleges every year for conducing entrepreneurship workshops and we get a request of what more can be done to continue the spirit we kindle in our 2 day programs. Myself and Nurture Talent has limited resources to do all of these so I am making a calendar of activities open source, which you can execute as per your college schedule.

1. July 2014 - This is the time most colleges open, seniors come back for classes and also freshers join the campuses across India. Building a core team at this time is critical - make sure it has representation across all years, all branches, all hostels (as well as maintain healthy sex ratio ;-). The bigger the entrepreneurship cell, better it is. Also add 1-2 supportive faculty as head or consultant to the club (you will need them at all stages no matter if you are a govt or private institute). For example, IIT Bombay ecell has 25 members and few others have 150 members. You can make a FB group for smoother interaction and updates. Organize a team introduction cum team building exercise to build rapport and relationship among members. Give fancy designations to members like Vice President, Community Manager, Chief Marketing Officer etc. (like AIESEC does).

2. August 2014 - Organize a business plan cum idea generation workshop or introduction to entrepreneurship session. The aim is to create the right kind of culture and knowledge about entrepreneurship over and above what is being talked about on Wikipedia, Youtube or Techcrunch. The organizers of workshop behave like CEOs for a month and take care of their roles and responsibilities while learning key operations, and that brings about an additional maturity to their thought process.


3. September 2014 - Do some outbound activity - like everyone is given a task to reach out to local entrepreneurs, visit their offices, take their interview, click pictures and write a blog article for them. Feature the blog on your college website and run a contest on social media to reward the popular entries. Imagine if 50 out of 1000 students in your college do this seriously, you could have at least 50 job or internship opportunities easily from several entrepreneurs!

4. October 2014 - While most of the colleges are busy with covering syllabus, getting ready for Dussehra/Diwali holidays or for the exams, you could keep this time for participating in outside events and competitions. MBA, Engineering and Undergraduate colleges follow separate schedules - so you can check few upcoming fests on websites like Knowafest etc. Make sure you have at least 5-6 teams working on their ideas continuously, improving their bplans and applying to as many fests as possible. There are over 200 such contests taking place every year - if you apply in 20 of them, get shortlisted in 10 of them and win 5 of them - you could make a cool Rs 5 Lakhs!

5. November 2014 - Keep this month for some light activities like arranging an advertising slogan/logo making contest (pick any 10-20 known or unknown brands). Or you may also have a Fundoo Friday session - where 1 person from the students community becomes a teacher and takes a 1 hour session on a new technology like android app development, digital marketing, responsive web design, machine learning, virtual reality, design thinking etc. When I was in Infosys 13 years back, we had a TIPU (Technology in Practice Unit - named after the famous king Tipu Sultan who reigned near Mysore area where Infosys office was located), where 1 person was assigned the task of making everyone aware of a new technology every Friday. Just make sure you do not indulge in criticism.

6. December 2014 - This is when most of you will be having holidays so make it a movie month - watch inspiring entrepreneurship movies together this month - the list may include Band Baaja Baraat, Guru, Rocket Singh Salesman of the Year, Businessman (with the adorable Mahesh Babu). This could be screened in the college with projector (do not ask me how to download movies from LAN ;-) or a movie theater or a friends' home.

There are lot of other fun activities planned but I will keep it brief and share the Jan-June 2015 calendar in my next article. Till then, au revoir!

And if you have any suggestions or activities for the next post on this subject, please email me on amit.grover@nurturetalent.com.