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The Entrepreneurial bug infests campus….

Dear Alumnus/Alumna,

It may surprise many of you that nearly 20% of our graduating UGs are favorably inclined towards start-up’s—either launching one of their own right out of school, or after a few years of seasoning at a start-up. This year’s placement at IITM reflected this trend. It therefore behooves the institution to provide a nurturing ecosystem for these wanna-be entrepreneurs. The Center for Innovation (CFI;, Center for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CSIE;, C-TIDES (, the IITM Incubation Cell (, and IITM Research Park ( are the key components of this eco-system. Two academic programs—M.S. in Entrepreneurship, and a Minor Stream in Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship— provide the necessary grounding as well. A bio-incubator has been launched recently ( to add to the variety on campus.

The tech-fest, Shaastra, that was held during the first week of Jan, saw an “Entrepreneurship Conclave and Startup Hive”, with PayPal’s “Start Tank” providing an obligation-free environment for two selected IITM tech startups in a facility of almost 11,000 square feet in Chennai (;

Centre for Innovation (CFI), the student-run innovation lab at IIT-Madras, is running an initiative called Nirmaan, a mock incubator to support students with entrepreneurial interests by providing them a risk-free environment to develop their ideas and shielding them from financial pressures through seed funding. Mahesh Panchagnula, Adviser of Co-Curricular Activities at IIT Madras, says that though CFI’s motto is “Walk in with an idea, walk out with a product”, right now the students build a prototype and leave it at that. Through Nirmaan, students can choose to work on improving their prototype so that at the end of their college stint, they are ready with a marketable product. 29 teams and projects are now part of Nirmaan after a registration and selection process in September. A seed funding of 2 lakh per team is being provided, and the progress of ideas is being reviewed by a faculty team. The funds come from alumni grants, corporate sponsors and institute funds.

Promotion of social entrepreneurship is also receiving due attention via CSIE, which recently held a camp for school students to inculcate the spirit in them.

The times, they are a-changin’….. mostly for the better!