Students today have entrepreneurship courses to encourage them to start up, to bring their ideas to life in a way to improve the society. Many of the ideas that students bring out for the social innovation projects in my college, B.V. Bhoomaraddi College of Engineering and Technology, Hubli, are beneficial for the society. But, what happens next? I wanted to find out if students in my college were interested in starting up after the entrepreneurship course. Here’s what I found out.I realized there was no dearth of ideas among the students for starting up. But what holds us back? There are a group of students in my college for whom the course on entrepreneurship is just another subject. The aim of doing the project is to get good grades and a better GPA. Once that is done, they don’t give a second thought about taking their idea to the next level.
There are also students who are seriously interested in putting their knowledge and ideas to do something better for the people. As the course is about social innovation, many of them misinterpret it as social service and hence starting up on the idea is not on their list.
There is also the group of students who have great ideas and want to start up. But they don’t. Time is their biggest constraint. As engineering students today, we have a lot of academics to cope with. The increasing demands of our academic course leave us with little time to think about starting up.
Most of the students in our college are from low income or middle class families for whom a steady source of income is a necessity. So the students prefer to take regular jobs than venturing into starting up on their own. Also there is lack of information on student startups. We think starting up is something done only by experienced people. For those who are ready to startup in our college, finance is a problem. Students don’t know how to bring in investors for their startups. Logistics is another reason why students don’t startup. Some students also feel that with the existing competition in the market, their products stand no chance of competing with the branded ones existing in the market. Also there is no market for a few products designed by us during our course.As for me, I did the course in Social Innovation too and I too didn’t want to start up due to several reasons. The product we made for our project was an herbal shampoo without harmful chemicals designed to be affordable for the poor. But what we realized that the poor are not interested in buying shampoos and the well-off prefer branded shampoo. Most of all, preparing the shampoo on a large scale would require technical facilities that we don’t have access to. Apart from that, we also have our college work that stops us from starting up.
But I suppose, the best aspect thing that I realized after speaking to my classmates and college mates about our entrepreneurship course, is that many of us are ready to start up if provided with the necessary resources. What I think we really need is support, guidance and motivation in pursuing our dreams. Of course, we would also need parental support for our ventures. On retrospection, the course on Social Innovation has been beneficial to us and it has inspired us to think about starting up.
Reema D’souza is a second year student in B.V.Bhoomaraddi College of Engineering and Technology,Hubli