Nurture & Empower Entrepreneurial Ventures (NEEV) is an IIT Gandhinagar community outreach program aimed at helping the growth of entrepreneurship through training, mentoring and networking opportunities. There is tremendous potential in the local community for various small-scale entrepreneurship activities, while at the same time limited resources to support and nurture such ambitions. IIT Gandhinagar (IITGN) feels a sense of responsibility towards its surroundings, and perceives that it can make a meaningful impact by engaging within its own as well as the surrounding community at the grassroots level. As part of this mission, the NEEV program was established in 2014. NEEV’s training programs are developed in collaboration with I Create, a non-profit organization that has been offering entrepreneurship programmes to disadvantaged youth and women since 1999 (http://icreateincorporated.org/).
Training OF Trainers (TOT)
The NEEV program conducts TOT workshops to develop trainers interested in promoting entrepreneurship development. Potential participants for TOT’s include IITGN employees and their family members, students, retired professionals from the surrounding areas, staff from ITI, local schools and colleges, NGO workers and so on. TOT’s are typically five-day workshops covering the core aspects of entrepreneurship education such as idea generation, market research, maintaining cash book, business arithmetic, making and presenting business plans, marketing and promotion, negotiation skills, and so on. The training is conducted by experienced I Create coaches through role plays, interactive sessions and other such participatory methods.
The TOT conducted in September 2014 attracted tremendous interest from the IITGN community as well as its associates, and overall helped develop more than two dozen potential trainers including six core trainers for the NEEV program.
Entrepreneurship Development Workshop (EDW)
Potential participants of this core workshop of the NEEV program include grassroots beneficiaries such as such as daily wage earners, small providers of goods and services, street vendors, cleaning staff, students from ITI’s, members from women’s SHG’s as well as students from local educational institutions, homemakers and so on. These four to five day workshops are primarily conducted by NEEV trainers using the pedagogy and course content covered during the TOT, for imparting basic business skills. For grassroots beneficiaries, the trainers also keep in mind the education level, fluency or lack there-of in English and other socio-economic factors, while guiding them on how to generate and nurture ideas that have the potential to translate into successful business ventures.
Four entrepreneurship development workshops reaching out to 89 beneficiaries have been conducted so far. The medium of instruction of these workshops was primarily Hindi. The participants included aspiring entrepreneurs from IITGN’s outsourced workforce (such as security, housekeeping, mess, transportation and a few members from their family), aspiring entrepreneurs from the surrounding areas, students from ITI, beneficiaries of NGO working with disadvantaged women from rural areas. The geographical area of these activities include the local areas of Ahmedabad, and has extended upto Khambhat, Gujarat. Feedback from the participants regarding the workshop included improved confidence about starting their own business, enhanced communication abilities and presentation skills. Follow-up sessions are typically held for participants within a month of completion of workshops.
Entrepreneurship Awareness Sessions (EAS)
The NEEV program also conducts one to two hour entrepreneurship awareness sessions. The focus of these sessions are to - a) create awareness about entrepreneurship being a viable and empowering alternative to seeking a job and/or b) reach out to people interested in promoting entrepreneurship development to serve as trainers mentors, advisors, volunteers and so on.
Five awareness sessions reaching out to over 200 participants including grassroots beneficiaries as well as students from local educational institutions have been conducted so far.
Mentorship is another key element of the program. Business plan mentoring is offered to individuals who have participated in the entrepreneurship development workshops. The program also offers networking opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs by linking them with experienced entrepreneurs interested in guiding them. Information about various funding schemes, programs and institutions are also provided to aspiring entrepreneurs when requested.
In the coming year, the NEEV program is expected to conduct several awareness sessions as well as entrepreneurship development workshops, and plans to expand its reach in the surrounding community through partnerships with NGO’s, ITI’s and other institutions geared towards creating an entrepreneurial mindset. It will also share its best practices and resources with other related events at IITGN such as business plan competitions, foundation course, programs to prepare students for a career in entrepreneurship etc. The program plans to scale up its mentoring activities for providing sustained support to the entrepreneurs created/reached-out-to through the program.
Program Summary (September 2014 - September 2015)
Number of EDW (including TOT) conducted : 5
Total number of participants of EDW : 118
Number of EAS conducted : 5
Total number of participants of EAS : 202
Number of business plan mentored/being mentored : 14
Few Pics from the workshop conducted for Shri Bhagini Samaj, Khambhat Gujarat in September 2015 :
Soumya Harish has a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio. Thereafter, she started pursuing her interests in social sphere with engagements with the Humane Society of Huron Valley, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and The Samaritan Centre, Syracuse, New York.
In parallel, she also pursued coursework related to social entrepreneurship, anthropology, NGO management, governance and global civil society at Syracuse University.
As a part of the executive committee of the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IIT Gandhinagar) children's day care centre, Soumya has helped conceptualize, plan, set-up and manage the centre since 2013. She has been serving as the coordinator of NEEV, IIT Gandhinagar’s Grassroots Entrepreneurship Program, since 2014.
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Shradhda Jain has a Master Degree in Botany from Dayalbagh Educational
Institute (Deemed University) Dayalbagh, Agra, Utter Pradesh. She has followed here research activity in the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.
Shradhda has worked as a teacher in Sunshine Daycare center, San Antonio, Texas. She has utilized this work experience in planning, designing and developing the
Day Care Centre in IITGN. Presently, she is the member of executive committee of Day Care, IIT Gandhinagar.
Shradhda has been serving as the trainer of NEEV, IIT Gandhinagar Grassroots Entrepreneurship Program, since 2014. She has initiated her activity in NEEV, IITGN through participation in the trainer workshop, where her team got the first prize in the final Business Plan competition. She has also served as a teacher in the Doon Blossom Academy, Ahmedabad before initiating her active participation in NEEV, IITGN.
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Swati Verma, a passionate animal welfare volunteer runs an efficient animal rescue group in Ahmedabad. She is also an business enthusiast and had already been running her own art gallery. During her interaction with IITGN community, Swati got to know about NEEV TOT and participated in their "Training for Trainer's" program. The NEEV program not only helped her to enhance her entrepreneurial skills but also got her interested in helping others to recognize and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. In addition to her volunteer work, Swati now also gives workshops as a NEEV trainer.
Gaurav Kumar Singh has been into media industry for some time before joining IIT Gandhinagar at an administrative position. He holds a Master’s Degree in Advertising & Public Relations from Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism & Communications, Bhopal, India.
His interests are travelling, photography, theatre & social engagement. At IIT GN he is actively involved in NEEV as a trainer for the grassroots, since 2014.
Jigar Shah has a Master degree in Commerce from Gujarat University. He has more than 8 years of experience in accountancy field. At present he is working with IITGN as Jr. Accounts Officer since December, 2013.
In parallel, he is also pursuing higher studies of Chartered Accountancy (CA) course and has been serving as a trainer of NEEV, IIT Gandhinagar’s Grassroots Entrepreneurship Program, since 2014.
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NEEV (Nurture & Empower Entrepreneurial Ventures)
Grassroots Entrepreneurship Program of IIT Gandhinagar
Shed 2/203, IIT Gandhinagar Campus