Interacting with budding entrepreneurs in ITBHU
I was in my alma mater, the Institute of Technology, BHU a few days back. They have recently mooted this great concept of Innoventure where students desirous of turning entrepreneurs get a chance to pitch their ideas to “more seasoned” entrepreneurs and VCs. The organisers were kind enough to call me to help judge the entries and jumping at this chance to go back to my campus, I said “yes”.
I spent a most enjoyable 3 days on the ITBHU campus. While I have posted my impressions of the visit elsewhere, I thought I would post some thoughts on entrepreneurship in general. I said all this and more in my interactions with the students: formal or informal. Just to reinforce, in no particular order, here they go:
1. Focus on identifying the problem first; your solution comes a lot later.
2. An idea, a website, a business plan: they are all nice. But, customers, especially paying customers are best.
3. Spare a lot of thought on how you are going to sell.
4. Involve others; build a team. You can’t do it alone.
5. No one is going to steal your idea and make millions unless you have developed hardcore technology/ IP which need protection. This is even more true in the internet space.
6. Think of execution; spare a thought for the challenges. And, what do you bring to the table.
7. Do not discount education. While many successful entrepreneurs were college dropouts and Tagore won the Nobel Prize without any formal education, don’t draw the wrong lessons.
8. Do not feel if you did not leave college as an entrepreneur, life will not be worth living. Your time will come.
9. Whoever told you he had a formula for entrepreneurship, was either a moron or a liar or a book-seller.
Here’s the slides of my talk to the students. I stuck very loosely to the slides and spoke mostly extempore. So, I am sorry there are no transcripts.