Entrepreneurship is a fantastic route for student engineers to work on the ideas they are truly passionate about and create new, innovative products and services. Many colleges support such a path by creating Incubation Centers or Entrepreneurship Development Programmes within their institutes. Students from these colleges have a chance to pick the entrepreneurial path and make a difference.
However, many colleges do not have such programs or have just started offering them. The Young Engineers Entrepreneurship Program (YEEP), from IEEE TEMS Bangalore Chapter, is intended to support the students of such colleges and build capability in the institute towards entrepreneurship programs.
YEEP learns from and builds on similar programs that are being run by institutions with established entrepreneurship promotion programs. Such programs span pre-incubation, incubation, acceleration, and other stages of the journey. YEEP focuses on a significant portion of the pre-incubation and some of the incubation portions as it is running this program as a virtual one and without access to physical labs and co-working spaces that most incubation activities provide.
The structure of YEEP is designed to provide a more comprehensive and real-world approach to encouraging entrepreneurship compared to short workshops of a few days or weeks. The program is expected to run for around 6 months, thereby giving the participants much more in-depth exposure as well as extended support. Through the 6 month program selected participant teams will get trained through a series of workshops progressing from basics like ideation, design thinking, and moving on to market research, business models, sales and marketing, prototyping, and more before culminating in a pitch session to prospective investors and corporate partners and customers.
A particular feature of this program is to give adequate attention to the need for entrepreneurs to focus on selling and marketing their product and service which sometimes get short shrift with a greater focus on fundraising. This is intended to encourage entrepreneurs to make their startups more robust and focused on meeting customer needs. A second important feature is that the participant teams have a mentor (a startup founder, in most cases) associated with them through this 6-month journey. This allows greater interaction, encouragement to the teams, informal support in all aspects of the entrepreneurship journey for an extended duration which should stand the students in good stead.
The YEEP program is targeted at the colleges in IEEE Bangalore section and its sub-sections. This can potentially get expanded in subsequent editions based on learning from this year.