Entrepreneurship Development Cells in colleges help to start business ventures, get funding support.

Placement, perhaps, is the most popular word in any engineering or arts and science college. How many students got placed and what are the companies that came for campus recruitment has become the measure of success of a college or a university.

It is quite natural for students and parents to expect jobs immediately after completing a course. If job takers are in majority, there is also another group which ambitiously pursues to become job-givers. Yes, they are looking for a route to become young entrepreneurs.

The Entrepreneurship Development Cells in higher education institutions have been grooming their students to aim big, think new and start business. Youngsters are being oriented towards business ventures and nuances of starting an enterprise.

In the Madurai region, a big push to shape up students as entrepreneurs is being given by the Entrepreneurship Development Cell (EDC) of Anna University’s Madurai Regional Office which has the sway over engineering colleges in the five southern districts- Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram.

“Since our Madurai region is more rural, there is immense potential for students to become ‘agropreneurs’ by tapping the agriculture potential. We are preparing a project report in this specific area. If students are innovative, they can succeed by starting business units in Madurai itself without searching for jobs elsewhere,” said C.Swarnalatha, Chief Coordinator, EDC, Anna University Madurai Regional Office, during an interaction recently.

Three-day Entrepreneurship awareness camps and four-week training programmes are conducted to improve students’ skills and thinking while engineering colleges are being encouraged to start separate cells.

The responses from the colleges have been very good as institutions. Velammal Engineering College, KLN Engineering College, Bharat Niketan, Michael Engineering College (Kalayarkoil) and Vickram College of Engineering have opened entrepreneurship cells in their campuses.

Awareness camps focus on personality development, preparing a business plan, qualities of successful entrepreneur, starting up of new unit, schemes of small industries, assistance available from banks and financial institutions, interaction with entrepreneurs and management issues.

“In fact, our efforts yielded good result as several students of B.E., MBA, and other courses are in the final stages of submitting business plans,” Dr.Swarnalatha says.

The business plan need not be a big one. Students can think of local potential and enter areas such as natural food products, coir items, bouquet business, retail food items, jute items and technology-based entrepreneurship ideas.

Recently, the Anna University’s EDC started focusing on technology-based ventures to encourage engineering graduates and diploma holders take up tech-based business ventures.

New developments

A few students of MBA second year in Anna University are on the job to submit their proposals. A.Abdul Ansari is interested in retail outlet and is doing a survey to start business venture. K.Suguna is focusing on jute products while R.D.Manogari is showing interest to focus on soft skill training. S.Lakshmi Narasiman wants to do eco-friendly products and S.Sowhar Sugan will survey on the business potential of natural foods in Madurai. Similarly, M.Prabu is entering the field of coir products.