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HULT PRIZE: A futuristic approach to entrepreneurship

By Tajamul Ashraf –

Whenever we hear the word entrepreneurship, what is the first thing that strikes our mind? Money, idea, startup or any thing else. When I got familiar with this particular process, it showed me how to traverse new things. How it changed my perspective of thinking and viewing things differently. I still remember when we were called after our normal classes to a session, where they scrutinize about innovation, incubation and idea pitching. At that time these words seemed unfamiliar to me. Now I may define entrepreneur and this process as someone who exercises initiative by organizing a venture to take benefit of an opportunity and, as the decision maker, decides what, how, and how much of a good or service will be produced. Entrepreneurs have a keen eye for innovation, but that doesn’t always translate into a gift for market research. As a result, many startups suffer from fundamentally misguided assumptions about the potential profitability of their business ventures, which I think is a part of life.

Recently NIT SRINAGAR was selected as On-campus for the Hult prize Competition. It is a great opportunity for the students of the valley. The Hult Prize transforms how young people envision their own possibilities as leaders of change in the world around them. With a US$1,000,000 global startup prize as its anchor activity, the Hult Prize has brought impact focused programs and events to over a million students globally, creating a pathway for youth everywhere to take action to build a better world. In 2021 the Hult Prize is asking youth around the world to build viable food enterprises that will create jobs, stimulate economies, reimagine supply chains, and improve outcomes for 10,000,000 people by 2030.I from the Organizing Committee end want to share that people in Kashmir have great potential as far as innovations and new ideas are concerned.

 

This year’s topic for Hult prize is Food for Good: transforming food into a vehicle for change.

Now coming to reasons why its time now for College students. A student who is in college is free from any restrictions and has much leisure time. Different people have different philosophies, I think starting a business or at least pitch in new ideas is the best way one can utilize that time. There are broadly two reasons why one should do it now, instead of after graduation. The first reason is that I don’t want to get a regular corporate job.  Also, I’m not quite sure if my work has an impact on the company as a whole. The idea I have is that if I am able to start a successful startup in college, I do not have to worry about finding a regular corporate job after graduation. (Of course, there are other ways to avoid a regular corporate job.)

The second reason is that it is way more zealous to graduate while having a successful startup and go straight into working on something that matters to me than to try to find a corporation to hire me and build my resume. To me, working on a startup is better and more interesting than working in a large corporation. As after b-tech from NIT SRINAGAR same is going to happen.

Also, there is something I debate with myself a lot. Many of the articles I’ve read suggest that college students should start a startup in college because of reasons like the resources available in college, abundance of potential co-founders (IIEDC in case of our college).

It is no longer enough to come out of school with a purely technical education; engineers need to be entrepreneurial in order to understand and contribute in the context of market and business pressures. For engineers who start companies soon after graduation, entrepreneurship education gives them solid experience in product designing and development, prototyping and technological trends. These skills are just as relevant for success in established enterprises as they are in startups; students with entrepreneurial training who join established firms are better prepared to become effective team members and managers and can better support their employers as innovators.

Now coming to the role of college to boost this process, by including this subject to the main stream subjects. Entrepreneurship education teaches engineering students in all disciplines the knowledge, tools, and attitudes that are required to identify opportunities and bring them to life. Students who take part in entrepreneurship programs as undergraduates gain insights not available from traditional engineering education, such as understanding and designing for end users (“empathy”), working in and managing interdisciplinary teams, communicating effectively, thinking critically, understanding business basics, and solving open-ended problems.

Now comes the social one, the most successful social entrepreneurs challenge themselves to be open-minded and approach problems with a filter that is void of established tendencies and stigmas. They are unconventional thinkers, not limited by the constraints of the systems in place, but instead challenge those systems with fresh ideas and techniques. Don’t mistake this objectivity with naivety; entrepreneurs leverage research and data-driven analysis to account for factors and variables that existing solutions may have overlooked. Their ability to challenge commonly assumed principles or beliefs users in a completely new way of thinking. Humility is a core component of entrepreneurial thinking. It drives even the boldest leaders to challenge their own established tendencies and recognize their potential for continual improvement. Successful entrepreneurs strive for perfection, obsess over learning and iteration and recognize that they can always do better. At last, but not the least, I would like to end with the quote of Jessica Herrin as:

You have to see failure as the beginning and the middle, but never entertain it as an end.”

Writer is a B Tech undergraduate in NIT Srinagar. Feeback at: [email protected]