Fostering entrepreneurship in the campus – Dr K. Nirmala Prasad, Principal, MOP Vaishnav College for Women
Forty years ago, as a child, Nirmala wanted to be an entrepreneur. Her father was a businessman; yet, the family being a conservative one, she was not permitted to follow her dream. “I thought, okay if I am not a queen, let me make queens. I decided to be a queen-maker,” recounts Dr K. Nirmala Prasad, Principal, MOP Vaishnav College for Women. Here are a few snatches from her brief interaction with YourStory.
I saw many of my brilliant students, after being gold medallists in the university, sitting at home after marriage and child, and wasting all their intelligence. I thought India is losing the women power, somehow it has to be utilised.
Through entrepreneurship, they can go back to business or join the family business. If they come back after 35 years, after rearing up the child and family, the industry is not ready to take them. Entrepreneurship is an option for them. If not now, after 5 years if you think of it, you start.
We already have it. Everyday our students will be doing some business. If you come to our college, every corner there will be a business centre. There will be at least 10 businesses being run. We give hands-on experience, right from the first year, when they are seventeen years old. By the time they come to the third year, they have tasted all the money. The money taste comes to them. We have entrepreneurs, event managers, who are making Rs 5-6 lakh, and flying to all parts of the world. We also brought out a coffee-table book of all our successful entrepreneurs.
Even a below-average student, academically, we find them very successful as entrepreneur. They have something called native intelligence which may perhaps have nothing to do with academics. We believe that every human being is blessed with some strength. And our point is to make them optimise their strength.
If a girl is good in cooking, but very bad in academics, I tell her to start a restaurant. That’s how my story started. I found this girl with a lot of complex – that she is not able to cope up with her friend, she couldn’t dance, she couldn’t sing, she couldn’t play, she couldn’t study. After two hours of talk, I found she was good in cooking. Then I told her to put up a stall during our sports day. She put up a stall. And she found she could make 400 per cent profit. Now she is running a restaurant in Hyderabad.
That’s where the journey started. We make them feel, yes, God has given you some gift, why don’t you optimise your gift and strength, instead of all the time thinking about your weakness of not being academically brilliant.
If you see the so-called IIT-ians and IIM-ians, they may not be very successful in business, and school dropouts and college dropouts maybe successful, because of their native intelligence. Unlike academic institutions where they only give importance to the mark or score, we believe in and give importance to the strength of every child. We create every child as an individual. We think that they are heterogeneous as for as their strengths are concerned, though they may be homogeneous as far as they are degree or the course they study.
Our society is intelligent. Men are becoming very broadminded and allow women all the freedom that is required. But women become complacent after getting a child or two children, because our society believes that women alone can bring up a child, that it is always the duty of the women.
So, some of the men work on the women’s emotions, and say you alone can take care of the child, you alone can cook good food, and emotionally they blackmail the spouses, and the women become complacent. Actually, it is women who are responsible for not being successful. If a woman wants, she can make things possible.
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