Sanjay Gonchigar, IIMA Entrepreneurship and IIMA

I must write on a topic that is buzzing on the campus – entrepreneurship.

My chain of thoughts was triggered by a comment in class that more than 50 per cent of Indians are self-employed. India is a land of entrepreneurs, big and small!

I have hardly come across anyone who has not had an entrepreneurial thought sometime or other, even if it is just a teeny-weeny idea. But only a few manage to actually take the plunge, the rest are held back by fear of the unknown. It is not so easy to step out of our comfort zone, is it?

In April 2010, we had an introductory session by Sunil Handa, an IIMA alumni from the batch of 1979, who teaches a course entitled Laboratory in Entrepreneurial Motivation (LEM). As anyone who has attended his classes will confirm, Mr Handa’s classes are filled with energy and you’ll come out of the session with a sense of euphoria. (Just run a Google search for ‘Sunil Handa LEM’ and you’ll find plenty of blogs talking about the LEM experience.)

What makes Mr Handa unique is that he has actually ‘been there, done that’. Starting from next to nothing, he built up a series of businesses with various degrees of success, each enterprise adding to his wealth of experience.

Some of his most significant ventures are Core Parenterals, which was one of India’s largest manufacturer & exporter of IV fluids and his latest venture called Eklavya Education Foundation; which runs a successful school in Ahmedabad. Mr Handa has also been encouraging students and their spouses to work at the school for a period, to get hands-on experience of the various aspects of establishing and running an educational institution.

Continuing on the same topic, the IIMA Centre for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship (CIIE) is associated with the Economic Times ‘Power of Ideas’ programme, which is in its second iteration this year.

The objectives of the initiative are to encourage anyone with an idea to realise their entrepreneurial dream. Ideas will be nurtured and entrepreneurs offered personalised guidance from mentors before being incubated at IIMA and presented to investors. They will also receive seed funding from the Government’s Department of Science and Technology. The deadline for entries to the 2010 edition of the programme is July 14th, so anyone with an idea, better hurry up!

Although the actual number of participants who reach the final stage may be quite small, compared with the total number of applicants, the process does allow participants to have their ideas vetted by experts for viability and have a different perspective on it.

A few of my PGPX batchmates are interested in using this platform to test their plans, hopefully some of their best ideas will get translated into reality once we graduate from IIMA.

Signing off for now, I need to go shopping for an umbrella. Looks like the monsoon has reached Ahmedabad, we saw some heavy showers last evening and it’s been quite cloudy all day today. Looking forward to good rains and cooler temperatures.