WHEN Shubham Chouhan, then a second year engineering student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, (IIT-B), pitched his startup idea in a class in 2015, little did he know he would be registering his own venture two years later.
Chouhan, now an aerospace engineering with a minor degree in entrepreneurship, is in the process of registering his startup — an artificial intelligence based product in the field of media. He is one of the five students who form the first batch of students to get a formal degree in entrepreneurship from the IIT-B.
While IIT-B has been offering a host of courses to aid budding entrepreneurs, a BTech (Minor) in Entrepreneurship was formally launched this year. Over the past three years, the institute’s Desai Sethi Centre for Entrepreneurship (DSCE) has designed eight inter-disciplinary elective courses in entrepreneurship. These include Introduction to Entrepreneurship, Business for Fundamentals for Technopreneurs, Managing Tech Innovation, Developing a Proof of Concept Basic and Advanced, Tech venture creation, Marketing for Entrepreneurs and Intellectual Property Manage-ment. Each course carries six credits.
This year, the institute decided that students who complete 30 credits — either five courses of six credits each or two courses and six half courses — would be awarded a formal B Tech (Minor) degree. “Over the past decade, we have seen a lot of students are going into the entrepreneurship space, by joining startups or by starting own venture. Keeping this in mind, we started designing courses for interested students. Eventually, we have decided to grant degrees in entrepreneurship,” said Anand Kusre, professor in-charge of DSCE. He said the basic and advanced courses on Proof of Concept were the most sought-after ones and students agreed.
“Sometimes, even if we have an idea, we don’t know how to go about it or how to develop the idea into a startup. Through the courses, particularly the Proof of Concept courses, we were able to develop our ideas into a viable business model,” said Deepak Meghlani, a mechanical engineer from IIT-B who took six courses and was awarded the degree. His classroom project — a mobile application for travellers — generated interest from market players and he was in talks to sell the algorithm of the app.
“Currently, I am working as a business analyst to gain some corporate experience and polish my skills. But my aim is clear. In a couple of years, I will start my own venture,” said Meghlani. The degree programme is the latest addition to IIT-B’s thriving startup ecosystem. The DSCE was set up in 2014 to work in tandem with the student support group E-Cell and the institute’s incubator Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.