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IIT Bombay to establish an Entrepreneurship Centre

1 February 2014

In a major leap towards encouraging the entrepreneurship spirit among its students, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), will be soon establishing an Entrepreneurship Centre at its premises, with a generous funding received from Syntel Co-founders Mr. Bharat Desai (1975 IIT Bombay Alumnus) and Ms. Neerja Sethi, under the aegis of The DS Foundation (Desai Sethi Family Foundation).

The new Centre, which will be named 'Desai Sethi Centre for Entrepreneurship', will foster entrepreneurship and technology innovation through new programmes for education and research, multi-disciplinary courses, research laboratories and partnerships. Students in the programme will receive instruction and mentorship from the IITB faculty as well as distinguished guest faculty from leading international institutions. "We are delighted to launch the Desai Sethi Centre for Entrepreneurship and thank the DS Foundation for their support in developing the next generation of business leaders", said Prof. Devang V. Khakhar, Director, IIT Bombay, adding, "The entrepreneurship centre will enable IITB to become the hub of entrepreneurship in the region, similar to the role played by the Stanford University in the Silicon Valley." 

In addition to the established disciplines at IITB, the centre will focus on emerging technology areas like Nanotech and Biotech. Prototyping facilities will enable students to convert their innovative ideas into proofs of concept. The centre's activities will cover the entrepreneurship value chain to include mentoring, micro-grants and networking with established entrepreneurs and industry leaders. It will be managed by an Advisory Board comprising faculty members, student representatives, industry professionals and two renowned international experts on entrepreneurship nominated by The DS Foundation (Desai Sethi Family Foundation). "Entrepreneurship and innovation are critical for creating economic empowerment for a prosperous and peaceful world," said Mr. Desai, Syntel's Chairman and Co-founder. "IITB has always been a hotbed for innovative thinkers, and this entrepreneurship centre offers a new channel to convert breakthrough ideas into viable business ventures." The establishment of new Centre was announced by the Director of IIT Bombay during the inaugural session of Entrepreneurship Summit (E-Summit 2014), which is being organized by the Entrepreneurship Cell of the Institute from February 1-2, 2014. Based on the theme 'Dream, Discover, Disrupt', the Summit will witness a confluence of visionary students, professionals, business leaders and entrepreneurs. It will play host to speaker sessions, panel discussions and workshops by stalwarts from various industries, and will include a range of networking events and a plethora of competitions. This year, the E-Summit has been granted UN patronage as well. The Inaugural session of the E-Summit moreover, included an address on the Summit's theme by Mr. Alexander Blass, CEO of Innovative Institution of America, and an Oxford and Wharton alumnus. Speaking to the the aspiring entrepreneurs, Mr. Blass remarked, "Being sensitive to what people (customers) value is more important than market research. The customer may not always be able to articulate his/ her needs, it is your responsibility as innovators/ entrepreneurs to understand their requirements. But avoid the know-it-all attitude." The presentation of Mr. Blass was followed by a keynote address on "Entrepreneurship & Innovation for a Better World", by Mr. Desai. One of the most awaited events at IIT Bombay, E-Summit this year is offering an interesting array of events like Business Plan Competitions (including the highly popular Eureka! Finals, Panel Discussions, Workshops and Book Launch. Eminent personalities to speak at the two-day event include Mr. Jim Beach (Faculty Head, The School for Startups, USA), Mr. Rana Kapoor (Founding CEO and MD, Yes Bank), Mr. Anand Kumar (Founder, Super 30 programme) and Mr. Mukund Mohan (CEO in Residence, Microsoft Accelerator) and Ms. Celina Jaitly, actor, LGBT Rights activist and UN representative, amongst others.