15 Feb 2016 21:10 IST

Great Lakes entrepreneurship event brims with ideas

Winners of business model competition sweep cash awards of ₹1 lakh

The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Great Lakes Institute of Management, near Chennai, recently organised a clutch of events to inculcate the spirit of entrepreneurship in students.

The culmination of these events was Hyperion 2016, which fine-tuned business ideas from budding entrepreneurs from B-schools around the country.

Smarty Toys, an IIM-B-based start-up, which came up with a smart-phone application to make interactive toys, won the top prize and a ₹50,000 cash award for their start-up. Shrikant Zarekar and Naggappan R from IIM-B comprised the top team.

Healthcare model

Care Plus, a team comprising Sruthi Ramanan, Arsh Prakash and Kumaresh Passoupathi, operating out of Great Lakes’ CIE and working on affordable healthcare, bagged the second spot with their model of taking healthcare services to patients and won a grant of ₹30,000.

Akash Bhatia of IIT Kharagpur won ₹20,000 for his social entrepreneurship model based on electronic milk testing.

The ₹1 lakh prize money was instituted in the memory of D Narasinga Rao, an alumnus of Great Lakes’ first pioneers batch (2004-05). He was an accomplished entrepreneur when he chose to do a formal MBA, having being instrumental in taking software company SSI, where he was a co-founder, from a start-up to being ranked in the top 500 companies in India by Dun & Bradstreet. He passed away in May 2011, from cancer, at a fairly young age.

Paisa Vasool

The entrepreneurship cycle of events started with Paisa Vasool for Great Lakers, an experiential event, where students get to set up any stall or business venture, selling a product or a service for 60 hours. “In the short span of time, they go through the entire lifecycle of business from sourcing, negotiating with external vendors, customer management, pricing strategies, promotions, marketing and even celebrity endorsements,” says Prof Ranga S Veeravalli, the faculty co-ordinator of CiE, which was set up in 2010.

This year’s PaisaVasool saw interesting stalls like the one that sold “surprise foods” – a different menu for every meal time, and a live music service that featured a guitarist who delivered live songs on request. Sixty-five ventures were set up in all, earning a total revenue of about ₹5.6 lakh.

“We are reminding our students and society that they come from a country which is not risk-averse. We want them to not get addicted to the comfort of a monthly pay,” says Kumaresh Passoupathi, a student leader at CiE. Paisa Vasool had winners in different categories, such as maximum revenue, maximum profit, highest return on investment, and so on.

Some of the ideas were an application designed in-house which captured every transaction detail and produced insights into the health of each venture. This year saw tech ventures like Virtual Reality offering people a 3D viewing experience with a specially designed cardboard box.

Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga is a social initiative introduced by Prof Bala Balachandran, Great Lakes’ Founder, under which student groups tag villages around Manamai, where the B-school is located, near the temple town of Mammallapuram, and study them to create a sustainable impact in their livelihoods.

Teaming with CiE, student leaders from Karma Yoga tested the waters in social-entrepreneurship this year, experimenting with an earring stall at the Paisa Vasool event. The next process in the chain was to identify entrepreneurial ideas and support them. Oyster 2016, a business model competition, showcased home teams presenting their ideas.

As Prof Bala says: “I became an entrepreneur at the age of 67. Don’t tell me you’re too old to create a start-up. India has a rich history of entrepreneurs. Each village had its own self-sufficient units. The spirit of Indian entrepreneurs was destroyed systematically by the British colonists. It is this spirit that we are trying to restore among our students.”

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