‘Enterprise’ – India’s first fellowship for undergrad students

Many people have been asking us, “What is the Enterprise Fellowship?”

A simple answer to that is that it’s a year-long, project-based, learning experience for undergrad students in Pune. It is for those who dream of being ‘self-made’ and want to expose themselves to the future of business using technology, design and collaboration.

Our team will select 20 dynamic youth from the applications received. This group of ‘Enterprising-20’ will have access to their own office space for one year, which they can use before or after college hours. Then they can use the space to study, have meetings, work on projects, and even for meet-ups and entertainment.

These E-20 will have access to 20 industry ‘Lighthouse’ mentors from different fields. Additionally, they will get the benefit of attending expert workshops on various entrepreneurial subjects, sales masterclasses and career coaching sessions.

Over a duration of 12 months, they will incubate a business or social project from scratch, and work with real money, real teams, real technology and real companies to bring a project to life. Also, they will discover product ideas, develop prototypes of their idea, test their ideas in the market, make pitches to a board of directors, do project planning, create marketing campaigns, involve volunteer teams, manage money and accounts, and make their projects a success.

And then, they will shut down the project.

Confused? The purpose of the fellowship is to empower these 20 ambitious youth with the ‘Entrepreneurial mindset’ and prepare them for the future of business. So, closing a business is part of that learning process.

“Why a fellowship?”, I hear you asking. I have answered that question in my previous blog. Let’s answer “Why the Enterprise fellowship?”

Have you ever taken a look at some of the biggest companies in the world and thought to yourself “This is impossible for me” or “I am too young”. Going by normal standards, you are absolutely right. Most of these companies took years of struggles and grit to get where they are today. But, you’d also be wrong. Every one of these companies started in a tiny little garage or room, with very little funds. They were started by someone who had an idea, and who without too much analysis, just started doing.

William S. Harley was just 21 years old when he made plans to build a small engine capable of powering a bicycle. For the next two years, along with his friend Arthur Davidson, he built a motorcycle. They worked from a friend’s 10 feet by 15 feet wooden shed with the words “Harley Davidson Motor Company” scratched on the door crudely. The rest is history.

Michael Dell started Dell Computers while he was still studying at the University of Texas at Austin. He built the company from his ‘dorm-office’ and eventually went on the build the company full time. His initial investment was – given to him by his family. The rest is history.

Karsanbhai Patel used to make detergent powder in his garage at his home in Ahmedabad. He would then go door to door, selling his hand-made product. He gave a money back guarantee with every pack he sold. “Sabki ki Pasand Nirma!” happened. The rest is history.

Ingvar Kamprad began his career when he was just six years old, selling matchboxes. His father gifted him a small sum of money when he turned 17, and with that, he started a small business of selling furniture made by local manufacturers. The idea was that anyone should be able to afford stylish, modern furniture. IKEA was born. The rest is history.

Vishen Lakhani, at 27, started teaching meditation in the evenings and working at a day job in a tech firm. He ended up building a website for . Eventually, that turned into Mindvalley, which, today, is an investment group that invests and builds educational companies. Vishen is creating the future.

Gagan Biyani was getting bored at his job as a young consultant. He started a company to get instructors to start teaching online. He spent the first 6 months cold calling people and inviting them to be instructors. Today Udemy is one of the largest e-learning platforms with huge backing from investors. Gagan is on to his next startup, Sprig, a dinner delivery service that aims to help people eat healthier and tastier. Gagan is creating the future.

Need I say more?

What is one common factor amongst these people? No, it’s not that they were college dropouts!

The HCF or highest common factor binding these people is that they were enterprising. They didn’t have the resources, they didn’t have the money, they didn’t have the funding. What they did have, though, was an attitude that says

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They had an attitude of action. They did not wait until they found all the answers. They just started doing!

Thus, this is what sets Enterprise apart from you regular B-school or Entrepreneurship course:

  • It is designed in partnership with entrepreneurs and incubators
  • This is the only program focussed on undergrad students
  • It is part-time with flexible timings
  • There is a dedicated office space for the fellowship participants
  • It is based on solid research to help youth develop an ‘entrepreneurial mindset’
  • There are no lectures and instruction manuals.
  • Students will not study entrepreneurship, they will be entrepreneurs here!

Moreover, Enterprise is about ‘Creating Yourself’, about creating a career blueprint. Make a move from knowledge to innovation and get an edge over the competition!

You can apply here for the Fellowship.


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