Home Spotlight WORLD YOUTH SKILLS DAY 2023 Special: Next logical leap for HEIs in India should be Graduate Venture Programs

WORLD YOUTH SKILLS DAY 2023 Special: Next logical leap for HEIs in India should be Graduate Venture Programs

16 min read
As the role of academic degrees is decreasing and skill, knowledge, data, and AI is changing how students, companies, and society see the world, Graduate Venture Program (GVPs) can offer HEIs in India the opportunity to engage youth and in the process will help creating a long-term impact on Indian business and the global economy writes Zahor Ahmad Paray*

Graduate venture programs (GVP) are educational initiatives designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to start and manage their own ventures. These programs go beyond traditional entrepreneurship education by providing students with hands-on experience in venture creation and development.

Wherever GVP programs are running, these have allowed participants to adapt to new ideas, innovate, and take benefit of mentors’ and experts’ ideas. GVPs have assisted teenagers and students in several nations to break away and start successful businesses. These programs give young entrepreneurs resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities to succeed in the business world. These programs help students and boost growth, innovation, and enterprise formation.

GVP vs Conventional Entrepreneurship Education

Graduate Venture programs are different from conventional entrepreneurship education courses and models. GVP are experiential and practice-oriented time-bound programs launched by existing institutions and universities to promote entrepreneurship among their students. Through workshops, boot camps, and mentorship sessions, participants get the information and skills necessary to successfully traverse the challenges of establishing and developing a business from renowned entrepreneurs and industry experts. Participants are urged to use their imaginations, spot market gaps, and design innovative solutions individually or by making teams in these GVPs.

GVPs frequently offer participants access to finance opportunities, investor networks, and legal support, allowing them to overcome financial over financial and regulatory obstacles. Graduates are guaranteed the assistance and resources needed to turn their ideas into viable businesses because of the supportive ecosystem surrounding GVPs.

Need of GVPs in India

India has the world’s highest working population, which means India is enjoying the most significant demographic dividend of the century. But, it will not remain so always. This dividend is available for a limited time, and the latter part of this dividend is difficult. In such a case, India will not be able to use this demographic dividend in the best possible ways.

As per recent estimates, over 22 percent of the global workforce is expected to come from India. To convert this population into a dividend, our youth needs proper direction, skill, and mindset for the 21st century. India is estimated to have around 25 crore students in schools and around 4 crore students enrolled in higher education.

However, a study by ASSOCHAM 2016 reports that only seven percent of Indian MBA students from 5500 B-Schools are employable. Another survey by ‘National Employability Report for Engineers 2019’ highlights that over 80 percent of Indian engineering graduates are unfit to work in the knowledge economy. A McKinsey report shows that 69 percent of companies are looking to skill up the employees; India’s youth employability crisis wherein among 13 million joining the workforce each year, only one in 4 MBAs, one in 5 engineers, and one in 10 graduates are employable.

This has to change, and entrepreneurship is one sure way of managing the mindset, attitude and unleashing the potential besides job creation.

Entrepreneurship is basically the creation of a new business, and an entrepreneur is the one who creates a company based on a particular idea. GVP can directly engage students enthusiastic about learning new skills, creating start-ups, incubation and creating businesses in varied states colleges of India. As the program takes a slow and steady approach, its impact can be huge in the form of mindset change, perception building, growth-oriented thinking, exposure to new areas of understanding, financial and business literacy, etc.

Role of Universities in promoting Graduate Venture Programs

To make the most of the potential of the GVPs, it is essential to improve the support infrastructure. This includes getting funds, setting up mentorship networks, and making it easier for universities, businesses, and the government to work together. Also, attempts should be made to make sure that entrepreneurs-to-be from all backgrounds can join these programs and do well in them. India needs to keep spending in and growing these kinds of programs if it wants to use the enormous potential of its young people and ensure a prosperous future. Graduate venture programs can transform India’s entrepreneurial landscape and establish the country as a global powerhouse for innovation and entrepreneurship if they receive adequate funding and are allowed to develop organically.


As the NEP 2020 is implemented, there will be a need for course development that can enhance students’ entrepreneurship, innovation, skills, and employment prospects. The world is undergoing rapid change, and academic cycles are shrinking. Students are more interested in skills than in long format courses. Consequently, there is a large demand for Graduate Venture Programs that can be launched by college innovation councils, incubation centers, venture capitalists, and private incubation centers across the nation. These GVPs will improve the ability to consider and select a more worthwhile career path than trying to find employment and waiting for the same.

Some Global Models

  1. Babson college venture program

US-based Babson College runs one of the most elite graduate venture programs. It is a 10-week intense program to accelerate the growth of students’ entrepreneurial endeavors. Every year, graduate and undergraduate entrepreneurs choose roughly 15 teams from Babson College, F.W. Olin College of Engineering, and Wellesley College for this program.

Teams get free housing, co-working space, devoted advisors, knowledgeable speakers as mentors, and top-notch programming that uses the Centre’s resources. This timeline is a free dive to expand your network, engage with potential clients and investors, ask for help, pivot, and enlist team members, partners, investors, and industry influencers. Teams make presentations at the Summer Venture Showcase at the program’s conclusion to an audience of Babson and Boston start-up community members. Despite the inestimable value of a life-changing event for an entrepreneur, each Babson Summer Venture team receives services worth at least $200,000.

The EIT Digital Way

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT Digital Way) venture program is a year-long platform that guides entrepreneurs from ideation to investment. The program’s experience in learning and actual venture development assists students from imagination to MVP, market validation, and finance. It is entirely an online program. The program takes advantage of the existing network of EIT in Europe, as well as Nodes and local partners who provide program editions.

This venture program begins with a two-day boot camp, followed by an 8-week virtual Pre-Acceleration Phase – entrepreneurial skills instruction and entrepreneurial gurus’ supporting in entrepreneurial skills and support from entrepreneurial gurus to develop and finalize your MVP. This engagement has the potential to win them € 5,000 in cash. Individuals that successfully finish the program incorporate the enterprise on time and show a strong MVP qualify for the first tranche of the Final Prize of € 10,000.

Scientific Venture Program (Concordia University)

This one-of-a-kind program at Concordia University gives young, energetic Ph.D. holders a chance to do PDF in their fields of expertise and then turn that into a business or start-up. This program helps scientists start their businesses based on their knowledge in one year. The SVP postdoc program is perfect for university experts who want to create companies. The following things are offered by the program.

A salary of $45,000 CAD per year so you can work on your business and the program full-time. You can get advice from our mentors and experts to help you deal with the risks of being an entrepreneur. SVP Postdocs are paired with a PI whose main job is to help them bring their idea to market and turn it into a business. University links students with Canada’s best incubators and accelerators to get various programs and workshops to help with start-up, technology, and personal and team growth. Initiatives to find co-founders, tools for marketing and branding, help with grant funding applications, office space, and complimentary services.

Grow Your Great Idea (Harvard Innovation Lab)

This one-of-a-kind program provides all the assistance a new business requires to get off the ground and progress to the next level. You can receive service through unique idea generation when you join the program. Access to I-Lab tools is provided. It also helps you schedule meetings with specialists during business hours and gives you simple access to i-lab tools and expertise. The program also allows participants to meet specialists, seasoned entrepreneurs, and other experts who may offer valuable insights into developing their business idea. The constant reviewing, pitching, and learning benefit the team as well.

Add-Venture program (Moravian University)

The program admits around 20 new first-year students each year, making admission to Add-Venture difficult. A committee selects the candidates based on the Add-Venture application and a holistic evaluation of the student’s qualifications for the program. Add-Venture students will collaborate with a faculty advisor and the university’s advising office throughout their tenure at Moravian. The Add-Venture Program gives its graduates the tools to pursue employment and graduate degrees tailored to their preferences, objectives, and unique skills and talents.

*Zahor Ahmad Paray is Assistant Professor at the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India [EDII], Gandhinagar (Gujarat)


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