COLLEGE FRESHERS – Ready with your Startup Idea?

Even plush careers are now filled with downswings. Savvy students need to find the innovative solutions to their life and careers. EDUCOP WORLD looks at the technology space today.

Seven hundred engineering colleges in just Andhra Pradesh and about 2,000 nation wide. A million school students joining engineering each year. But if you are a student graduating this year, probability of an IT job from campus is low. From over hundred thousand campus jobs a year till few years back, this year there are under 50,000 jobs in the entire IT industry. Non-IT industries never hired at the scale that IT industry has. What can we do to set a winning strategy for ourselves? First, in general, and as a society and specifically students, need to get away from this unhealthy obsession with jobs. The obsession is so deep that in most cases even higher studies (MTech or MBA) is sought just for a better probability of a job.

With growing economy and growing industries, lots of other opportunities are coming up. In the past decade, the services sector has opened up. Now, with these sectors getting established and with the older segments already in a massive expansion mode, there are a new set of technology problems that spring up all the time. Today, any technology solution either has to be developed in-house or bought from players in the international markets. Very rarely are any bleeding edge technology solutions developed within the country.

Technology solutions are rarely path breaking (rocket science). It is often a simple creative and innovative extension of existing technologies and principles. A simple inexpensive device that can be attached to the end of tap to give an alarm when water is coming- a problem that keeps many villagers sleepless, not knowing when the water will be released by the village administration.

A contraption attached to a cycle wheel that helps in tilling and planting seeds in small piece of land. A voice solution that can convert any text into voice and that too from english to local languages, that can be used to interact electronically with the not-so-educated for whom SMS may not work. A jacket with a small circuitry that on the flip of a switch can either cool the jacket or heat it. A simple solution on a mobile phone that helps autistic kids communicate with parents and family.

A mobile application that converts the mobile into a remote control for monitoring and controlling lights and other appliances in the house. A mobile communication enabled lock that lets you check if the door is locked or not and also to alert you if it is opened by someone else.

All interesting problems and all conceived and being built by students or recent graduates in Hyderabad! And there are many such interesting products being built in other states in the country as well.

Building a technology solution is just about understanding the users and markets. An eye to spot problems and opportunities in these markets. And a creative team that can put together a technology solution quickly. This is all it takes.

In all cases, once the students have an idea and have done some leg-work using the ever so powerful resource – the internet, and have built some basic prototype of the solution, then there are a lot of resources available to validate and refine the idea.

Also, its important to get some seed funding to help build and validate the same. Then on, there are more mainstream sources like Angel networks, Vcs and Incubation centers that fund and help grow the product and business.

Now, the biggest problem is that not many students are aware of this option. With years of rote based learning, their ability and intent to ‘think outside the box’ has been successfully stunted by the system. Very rarely students, even in engineering colleges or PG colleges, do anything that is not in a book or not needed for an exam.

Startup Boot Camps have been successful in giving guidance. Infact, we directly connect with colleges and create incubation centres on campus. The hope is that in few more years Hyderabad becomes a hotbed of technology innovation and student startups!

Colleges can reach out at campusbrand@gmail.com for a startup session.

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