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Last Updated: May 20, 2007 - 10:48:48 AM
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Of training B-school faculty to impart entrepreneurial skills
Apr 23, 2007 - 9:51:31 AM
NEN works with over 180 top-tier academic institutes in 12 regions of India, reaching over 175,000 students on their campuses.

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[RxPG] Bangalore, April 23 - Indian American venture capitalist Romesh Wadhawani has launched an initiative to train B-school faculty here in imparting entrepreneurial skills - a project India Inc has given its enthusiastic thumbs up.

Designed in collaboration with Stanford University and the Indian Institute of Management, the National Entrepreneurship Network's Faculty Fellowship Programme - brings together educators from around the world to expose B-school faculty in India to global best practices models and thinking in entrepreneurial education.

The 12-month programme was launched late last year. 'It took some months to get all the pieces working. We are very happy with this and want to continue with this,' Laura Parker, executive director of the California-based Wadhwani Foundation that runs NEN, told IANS.

In return, the recipients of the fellowships 'will lead workshops in India to share information and spark innovation in entrepreneurial education,' the foundation says.

Of the 12 fellows in the first batch, the Wadhwani Foundation supports five with grants of Rs.100,000 each.

Indian entrepreneurs Vijay Mallya, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Vijay Kirloskar have chipped in with similar amounts to support two fellows each. Industrialist Rohit Agarwal is supporting one fellow.

The grants cover the course fees of the scholars and the travelling and lodging expenses of the international faculty to shape and teach the programme at B-schools in Bhubaneswar, Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune.

The initiative has already paid dividends, with a fellow of the first batch being invited to teach international entrepreneurship at a leading US B-school at Baltimore in Maryland.

'Isn't that great? These are the kind of results we are looking for,' Parker stated enthusiastically.

A recent Mckinsey-Nasscom study estimates that India needs at least 8,000 new businesses to achieve its target of building a $87 billion IT sector by 2008.

'These figures reinforce our belief that there is a need to launch thousands of new entrepreneurs, who in turn will create hundreds of thousands of much-needed valuable jobs for India,' said Parker, who is based here.

Parker is a serial entrepreneur and former venture capitalist with 20 years of experience in successfully founding and funding start up ventures in the profit and non-profit arenas.

According to Parker, the openness of the economy, changes in regulations, new technologies that connect the world, increased availability of equity finance, and the dismantling of the 'license raj' have created opportunities that just did not exist earlier.

'The pace of change in India is throwing up opportunities for new companies to get started across many different industries,' she pointed out. 'Young people are responding to these increased opportunities for entrepreneurship.

'The inclination to start companies is now expanding in the middle class and going beyond traditional business communities.'

India Inc is pretty enthusiastic about the fellowship programme.

According to Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, educating next generation entrepreneurs - creating jobs, wealth and opportunities for growth - is the way forward for the Indian economy.

'Critical to help create a launch pad of future entrepreneurs in India is an accomplished pool of entrepreneurship faculty. Having seen NEN's progress with its world class innovative programmes, I am excited to be part of NEN faculty fellowship initiative - a progressive step that will have a profound impact on India.

Vijay Mallya agreed.

'The objective behind awarding these fellowships is for faculty to get a wider experience and exposure so that proper training can be imparted to their students,' he said.

'Unless industry-academia interaction through various sponsorships takes place,India will fall behind,' added Vijay Kirloskar.

'The NEN fellowship programme for entrepreneurship educators is one way to make the difference. We are committed for more involvement in this endeavour.'

Wadhwani, who has degrees from IIT - and Carnegie Mellon University, set up the foundation named after him with the credo that successful entrepreneurship requires an exchange of information and ideas from all over the world.

The foundation also sponsors the Wadhwani Centre for Entrepreneurial Development -, one of the four centres of excellence at Hyderabad's premier Indian School of Business.

NEN works with over 180 top-tier academic institutes in 12 regions of India, reaching over 175,000 students on their campuses.

Once an institute becomes a member of NEN, it has access to a wide range of resources and programs to initiate and extend their own entrepreneurship programs. NEN also facilitates the sharing of activities, events and resources across the network.

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