Ecell 2013: A Review

Even at first glance, it’s evident that the way eCell functions contrasts starkly with the other two IBs in the Institute do. To find out the what makes it so different, InsIghT met up with eCell OC Nikhil Patil.

Keeping this the mind, InsIghT focussed primarily only on the current/budding entrepreneurs within the Institute, i.e. people already actively involved in start-ups and members of the EnB Club for this review. We gauged their responses via multiple surveys, the results of which are summarised below.

Eureka!

Asia’s largest business plan competition (accredited by Thomas Reuters and CNN) is named after the famous interjection almost synonymous with innovation. Eureka aims at encouraging people from across the globe to flesh out their ideas and form global enterprises that combine technology, vision and business acumen. It is a gruelling 5 month long competition which starts with a few workshops and moves on to the questionnaire submission. Based on this, the semi-finalists are selected and each team is put in touch with an online mentor to help them formulate a B-Plan.
This year, Eureka placed an increased emphasis on promoting entrepreneurship within the institute with a much publicised prize money of INR 75,000 for the best team IITB team. In addition to that, campus students were given heavy discounts on most workshops as well as a wild-card entry into finals with the event ‘First Pitch!’

E-Summit saw a considerable increase in footfall with over 1500 external entrepreneurs registering for the event.The speaker sessions received overwhelming responses and excellent reviews for the enthusiasm of the speakers and the nearly flawless organisation.

The competition also got a large increase in prize money from INR 2.4 million to INR 4 million. Resultantly, the total number of participating teams also increased from 3600 to 5147. The “Eureka! Youth Award” was also introduced to promote entries from participants below 26 years of age. Tie-ups with numerous external agencies to sponsor free consulting hours and assured office-spaces as prizes for the winners of different tracks were also a practical and welcome improvement. One of the notable tie-ups was an opportunity to attend the Bootcamp at Stanford University and get an exposure to the Silicon Valley.

The overall response and feedback about Eureka was definitely positive though the lack of quality accommodation was cited as a problem by many.

EnB Club

The EnB Club is E-Cell’s new initiative through which they “aim to create an ecosystem for the budding entrepreneurs in the institute”. Several speaker sessions, workshops and online games have been organized by it throughout the year, and it has been successful in garnering adequate student participation.

Proper scheduling of events and ensuring that (at least) all those who are entrepreneurship-enthu get to know about the events they hold are things that the EnB Club still needs to improve on.

In 2012-2013, among the many sessions that they organized, the most popular was one by Nandini Vaidyanathan, an eminent entrepreneur and Business Consultant. For the ones who missed out on it, the major issues were clashes with academic commitments, lack of publicity etc. Hence, proper scheduling of events and ensuring that (at least) all those who are entrepreneurship-enthu get to know about the events they hold are things that the EnB Club still needs to improve on. On a positive note, the feedback from those who attended even a single event has been great and they feel that the events were adequately informative.

Another out-standing initiative of the EnB Club was the Virtual Stock Market launched during E-Summit. It saw an amazing response with a large number of students jumping onto the bandwagon to exercise and hone their budding investment skills. Conducting more such games in future will not just lead to a rise in interest for things like the Stock Market, which seems an abstract concept to many, but will also go a long way in popularizing E-Cell even more among students in different parts of India.

On the whole, the EnB Club has done a good job during the course of the year. Although, improving on the publicity front would serve them well.

E-Summit

This year, E-Summit saw a considerable increase in footfall with over 1500 external entrepreneurs registering for the event. Until last year, the events for professional entrepreneurs and students were held on different days. This year, both types of events were conducted simultaneously in order to facilitate an exchange of ideas between the two groups.

The speaker sessions received overwhelming responses and excellent reviews for the enthusiasm of the speakers and the nearly flawless organisation. This year, E-Summit also featured panel discussions between experts in varied fields on fairly general topics in order to provide a balanced perspective to viewers. There were a few more mentoring sessions like BMH (Business Mentoring Help) and Trends Today where advanced topics of entrepreneurship were discussed.

This year, workshops were conducted for a limited number of people to ensure that all the attendees could actually interact with the speaker. But, this strategy made sure that the supply was significantly less than demand. Even more specific workshops were organised under the event ‘30 minutes’ where a speaker spends the complete 30 minutes with a group of five people selected on the basis of their SoPs which they had to submit far in advance.

Various start-ups were also invited to display the work they’ve done so far in stalls in order to enable them to get visibility and feedback from the diverse crowd present there. The more casual events included competitions like Idea blaze, Investors hat, Freshbiz and Bizquiz aimed at the development of the entrepreneurial skills. Participants seemed more or less satisfied with the organization and quality-control in the Competitions held this year.