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Redefining Entrepreneurship: Nangegadda’s Vision Beyond Business Creation

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During his keynote speech at SmartIDEAthon 2023, Krish Nangegadda, the Chief Innovation Officer of GITAM (Deemed to be University), emphasized that entrepreneurship goes beyond just the inception of startups. While commonly seen as synonymous, entrepreneurship education is a holistic approach that delves deeper than just business creation. It focuses on nurturing a diverse range of skills, from innovative thinking and team development to confidently addressing large groups. Such skills transcend the realm of business and can be utilized in various professional fields.

About 3.5 years ago, GITAM University acknowledged the significance of this comprehensive view and significantly boosted its investment in entrepreneurship education. Their strategy isn’t solely based on the emergence of startups but on the overarching goal of honing skills. Recognizing that not all students will plunge into entrepreneurship right after their studies, the university believes that the entrepreneurial skills imbibed will remain with them, becoming pivotal whenever they choose to undertake entrepreneurial endeavors.

Moving beyond traditional educational methods, GITAM University’s Smart Idea Thon, an annual event, garnered a staggering 1000+ applications this year. This initiative pushes students to put forth innovative concepts revolving around key themes, including food & health, sustainable fashion, STEM-centric toys, and the art of frugal innovation or ‘jugaad’.

Highlighting some of these themes, Nangegadda pointed out that topics like food and health are universally essential, with innovations targeting malnutrition, over-nutrition, and prevalent diseases like diabetes being of utmost importance. Sustainable fashion brings to light the ecological consequences of our consumption patterns. Toys centered around STEM harness the allure of games to boost learning, especially as global STEM competency appears to be dwindling. The concept of ‘jugaad’ or cost-effective innovation is deeply rooted in Indian culture, emphasizing resourcefulness. This approach is evident in grand projects like India’s Chandrayaan, which was achieved with a budget significantly less than that of big Hollywood productions.

To sum up, Nangegadda stressed the importance of understanding that entrepreneurship education is not limited to merely birthing new businesses. Its core lies in arming students with the capabilities to adapt and thrive in a constantly evolving world. Irrespective of when they venture into entrepreneurship or even if they opt for different careers, the skills they acquire will continually benefit them.

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