Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani conducted a Young Entrepreneurs’ Bootcamp (YEB), an intensive six-day immersion programme for school students of grades 9th to 12th to help them experience technology-driven innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem and understand the mind-set of an entrepreneur through interactions with successful start-up founders at its campus in Pilani.
51 students who were selected from a pool of applicants across the country had to go through a vigorous selection process.
During the Bootcamp, students interacted with eminent industry veterans, start-up founders, and alumni from BITS Pilani. The students also got an opportunity to interact with the BITS Pilani Chancellor and Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla who stressed on the importance of programs such as YEB. He said that ‘budding entrepreneurs have the unique ability to learn from the collective and shared experiences of others who have trodden the same path’.
Mr Birla also said that ‘For an entrepreneur, it is important to operate at the intersection of passion, purpose, and a problem. An entrepreneur can create magic if they operate at this intersection. That means it is important to have clarity on what your purpose is, what you are passionate about, and what is the problem you are out to solve. There is no better time than now to be young and well qualified in India that’s bursting with entrepreneurial energy, and Institutions like BITS Pilani are at the epicenter of this entrepreneurial movement in India’
Sonam Wangchuk, an eminent social entrepreneur and innovator, the Chief Guest of the Bootcamp, spoke about his journey with the students and encouraged them to find contextualized solutions to problems. He said, “Importance of education, especially innovation, should be all about solving other people’s problems.”
Rashmi Bansal, Writer, entrepreneur, and author of 10 bestselling books on entrepreneurship, shared success stories, including her own, of people building successful start-ups by thinking out of the box and pursuing their passion despite all odds. She spoke about the importance of silencing their “inner critic” and believing in themselves.
Other start-up founders and BITS Alumni who shared their journey of being an entrepreneur with students were Lohit Sahu, Founder & CEO at Edzok; Sanskriti Dawle, CEO and Co-Founder, Tinkerbell Labs; Aditya Ruia, Founder at Beco; Alok Mathur, Co-Founder at EnCore Mindseek and Sumit Nandedkar, Ex-Chief Operating Officer at Microtek International.
Through these interactions, students got a sneak preview of how it feels to build a start-up, what to expect in the life of an entrepreneur, how to define and solve problems from a customer perspective, and to work on a business plan.
Students also learnt about the emerging opportunities in drone theory and innovations in biotechnology, and disruptive trends in technology such as the Internet of things (IoT) and its applications, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), and design thinking tools.
The bootcamp had some fun moments as well. The students visited the famous BITS science museum, library, labs, and were taken for a sky-gazing session.
On the last day of the Bootcamp, creative problem-solving skills of students were tested in an innovation pitch competition. On the completion of the six-day Bootcamp, the students received certificates recognising their participation and contribution.
Commenting on the Bootcamp Prof. Sudhirkumar Barai, Director of Pilani Campus said, ‘‘BITS Pilani, as an institution, is known for creating entrepreneurs. BITS Alumni have produced 10 unicorns, including 1 decacorn amongst 107 Unicorns in India. The founders of acclaimed unicorns like Swiggy, Big Basket, Groww, Zeta and Postman are all alumni of this institute. The idea behind starting this Bootcamp was to ignite the minds of school children and introduce them to the world of entrepreneurship and innovation at an early stage. Interactions with entrepreneurs, our faculty, and students would have opened new thought streams for their career paths.’’
Students excitement and enthusiasm has motivated BITS Pilani to take the YEB program to other campuses.
The next edition of Young Entrepreneurs’ Bootcamp is being planned at BITS Hyderabad campus in December, 2022.