The exercise takes them through different stages of setting up a company

Team leader B. Gopika and her seven-member group are brainstorming hard to raise funds for their venture ‘Baby's Day Out' – a play school targeted at parents who work on late shifts. But the venture is having a tough time getting capital.

“Why should I give you funds, you are new in the field,” asks the fund manager. Gopika tries to reason it out citing newspaper articles on the challenges working parents face as day care centres close by evening and how the centre would also sell food items and toys.

‘Baby's Day Out' is an imaginary firm started by a group of class IX students of Vel's Vidyashram, Pallavaram in less than 10 minutes.

Teams of seven to eight have come up with business ideas as part of the Entrepreneurship Week (E Week) programme launched for the first time in schools by the National Entrepreneurship Network.

Leading this activity, ‘Rs. 50 Exercise', at schools are E Cell members of various arts and science and engineering colleges. The exercise takes children through different stages of setting up a company such as coming out with an idea, finding supplies, splitting tasks, making and selling the product.

“All that students start out with is this paper currency of Rs. 50 that we give every team. They buy products and approach for funds. The winner is the team that makes the maximum profit,” explains Hari Balaji, NEN's E leader from Sri Ramachandra University. Seven students of the University's College of Management conducted the activity at Vel's Vidyashram on Friday.

And, the schools students were bursting with ideas. Gebin Maxey, who introduces himself as the CEO of ‘Catalyst', and his team from Vel's Vidyashram got involved in selling CDs and DVDs of Java programmes that one can master in 30 days. At the end of the exercise, they made Rs. 390 by selling 15 CDs. E Cell members of Velammal Engineering College reached out to 70 schools in the last four days.

Loyola College volunteers went a step forward by going to lesser-known schools, where they used the word business rather than entrepreneurship.

Students of Ethiraj College for Women went to Children's Garden Higher Secondary School and P.V.R. School and Orphanage, where they provided children with material worth Rs. 50, made them do paintings and handicrafts and sold them at their Entrepreneur Bazaar held in college.

Challenge

“It was challenge for us as we had to sell paintings of children, which was testing our marketing skills, and for the schools in turn we gave stationery,” said Lalitha Shankar of Ethiraj College.

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