Published: 07th September 2019
We need more people with an entrepreneurial mindset: FLAME University's Darshan Doshi
We spoke to Darshan Doshi, Director, FLAME Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation who told us more about the FLAME Origins programme and how it helps students
Pune's FLAME University's Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (FCEI) promotes the practise of entrepreneurship by providing early-stage start-ups access to mentoring programs, networking events, speaker series and competitions. It aims to bring together entrepreneurs, students, professionals, business leaders and investors to form a community that fosters a culture of entrepreneurship. Their Origins Programme, an initiative by the centre, plays the role of a catalyst in building a strong start-up ecosystem in Pune and across the country.
FLAME has announced the 2nd edition of the Origin Programme, wherein the centre curates 10 start-ups and mentors and guides them in their entrepreneurial journey, the selected start-ups then seek funding after presenting their business idea to an investor panel. We spoke to Darshan Doshi, Director, FLAME Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, who tells us more about what the programme aims to achieve, how is it helpful for students and more.
Here's what transpired:
What does the FLAME's 2nd edition of the Origin Programme want to achieve? What is the aim of the programme mainly?
The vision of FLAME Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is to build an 'entrepreneurial village' that helps talented individuals launch and scale successful ventures. The first cohort of 8 early-stage start-ups have grown multifold over the last year and we continue to support the founders as they look to scale up. On the other hand, we have just launched the second cohort with ten start-ups coming from diverse backgrounds and operating across sectors such as deep tech, e-commerce, tourism, consumer products and more. We aim to support talented and committed entrepreneurs to build ventures that will create jobs and wealth. We partner with the entrepreneurs to identify their growth areas, solve their challenges and hand-hold them till they are ready to go to market. We also connect them with prospective customers and Investors for potential funding/investment support to provide them with the much-needed boost to grow and scale their ventures confidently.
How does the programme help students?
FCEI brings together thought leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders on a common platform to support talented entrepreneurs and provide the opportunity and incentive to reach their potential.
Our students benefit in multiple ways:
- Awareness: Students interact with start-up founders who have achieved some scale in their ventures as well as founders who may have experienced failure. Students get an opportunity to learn from active start-up investors and innovation leaders who share the current market/business trends and technologies that will impact society. These interactions are enabled through the FCEI Pathblazers initiative.
- Experiential learning: students interact with the founders from FLAME Origins Programme and get an opportunity to work with them on strategic ‘live’ projects or internship opportunities during the summer. This helps students learn how new ventures are built and challenges involved in surviving the early stages.
What facilities does the programme provide to students in terms of helping them on their entrepreneurial journey?
FCEI offers a world-class co-working space to the FLAME Origins Programme start-up founders and students who are part of the incubator programme. Apart from the office space, all participants receive full access to the FLAME University library and workshops, seminars, events and more. Moreover, they have access to service providers for legal support, accounting, intellectual property and digital marketing during and after the programme.
How many start-ups has it helped until now? Do you provide the initial space, capital, apparatus and whatever is needed to begin with?
FCEI launched the inaugural FLAME Origins Programme with eight start-ups coming from across India with revenues ranging from a few lakhs to over one crore and sectors including AR/VR, female hygiene, robotics, food processing, computer vision, private label employing traditional artisans, premium coffee and HR tech. All the eight start-ups graduated through the accelerator programme in March 2019 wherein the founders pitched to investors and business leaders and got valuable feedback and inputs on their ventures at the Demo Day. The second cohort commenced on August 22 with ten start-ups across sectors who would be participating in the programme. Participation in the FLAME Origins Programme is completely free – you don’t pay tuition fees or part with equity.
Additionally, we are piloting the inaugural incubator programme that lasts through the academic year with about 20 current students.
Entrepreneurship is given a lot of importance in educational institutions nowadays, why do you think it is vital to learn these skills early on? How will it help in terms of development?
The ability to execute is a very strong skill required today. Entrepreneurship forces one to gather resources under constraints, make tough decisions, take calculated risks, think creatively and requires resilience to survive and then thrive. It’s not just the skillset but mindset that gets developed when one goes through an entrepreneurial journey. I strongly believe we need more people with an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset today than ever before!