Ecell 2013: An interview with Ecell OC: Nikhil Patil

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.

Also Read Ecell Review: 2013

InsIghT: What would you say is the “goal” behind eCell?

Nikhil: Our primary aim would be to encourage people – both inside and outside the institute – to test their entrepreneurial ambitions. Now, this is not a task that can be accomplished in 2-3 days. So, we conduct workshops and other events all through the year in order to get people to start thinking about business as a realistic option.

InsIghT: What were the most important events you guys conducted this year?

Nikhil: We break down eCell events into 3 primary categories – Eureka, the E-Summit and the EnB Club events. Eureka is an event for start-ups inside and outside the Institute, where they’re judged and short-listed based on the work they’ve done so far and provided mentorship in order to help them develop. The E-Summit is an assimilation of events we have in the first week of February, where we conduct workshops, lectures and competitions. The events of the EnB club are the ones that are spread out over the year.
We also print an annual magazine called EnSpace where we discuss news items that are relevant to the average entrepreneur. Within the Institute, there’s a misconception that E-Cell is only about E-Summit – but that’s simply untrue. We put in a lot of time and energy into events that we conduct all over the year.

InsIghT: So, the EnB Club was initiated this year. How did that go?

Nikhil: Technically EnB club was not started this year, though it was in a very nascent stage till last year. We’ve always had a large number of Insti-level events conducted throughout the year. This time, we decided to unite them under the banner of the “EnB Club”. The events we conducted could be broken down into two parts – the ones in the basic track were intended to encourage people to try out their hand at entrepreneurship by conducting light, fun business-related games and those in the advanced track were meant to be trouble-shooting and brainstorming sessions for people who are having problems with getting forward with their start-ups. We had around 15 events this year within the Insti. Almost all saw participants turn up in good numbers.

InsIghT: To what extent do you think start-ups benefit from initiatives taken by eCell?

Nikhil: Well, generally the biggest problems start-ups in the campus face are those of funding. Investors usually look for high-risk projects which could potentially give 600-700% returns. However, most people in the Institute are looking to earn some cash on the side. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – it’s just that these guys have different goals. The way we help them out is by handing out tips from people who have already gone through the same problems that they are facing right now. So, it’d be tough to quantify exactly how much value-addition we provide. Out of the 25 or so start-ups currently in the Institutes, I’d say atleast 7-8 are constantly in touch with us.

Also Read: Ecell Review: 2013