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Indian school teaches how to become an entrepreneur

Indian School of Business, just 9 years old, is ranked #12 by the Financial Times.

Krishna Tanuku, the Wadhani Center executive director, described ISB's integrated approach to entrepreneurship. It involves putting together a body of knowledge to cover the entrepreneurial journey, disseminating that knowledge and then translating it into programs with tangible, sustainable results.

As of last year, 11 ventures involving 13 entrepreneurs had been started under the school's program, which offers stipends to students selected for mentoring, reimburses a small amount of the startup’s costs and supports the student for two years or until the student’s business is sustainable.

Most importantly, it also provides a network of experienced professionals ready to help.

“Being an educational institution we need to think about creating a body of knowledge that can be leveraged and used by a large number of constituents,” said Tanuku, who was the founding chief executive of AT&T India and also worked at Bell Labs in the U.S.

“At the same time we want to facilitate entrepreneurs to the point where it becomes a primary choice of careers for people,” he said. “All things said and done all of us want to make money on our terms. Entrepreneurship gives you the freedom to do what you want to do.”

Shenoy, the Ingersoll Rand engineer, went to ISB with a clear goal in mind: to build a green India. He even had business plan. He would offer energy savings and environmentally responsible solutions to commercial buildings in India that account for 30 percent of India’s energy consumption, over 40 percent of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions and 70 percent of India’s solid waste.

Luckily, he was chosen to be mentored and has since co-founded Green India Building Systems and Services.

“From day one, even before [the mentoring program] began, I started getting inputs on my business idea. The [entrepreneurship center] is always open to helping with mentorship,” said Shenoy.

Other ventures out of the school include Wizda Solutions, which works with learning-related software; Sophistes Consulting Group, which offers growth and marketing strategies for small and medium companies; Nurturing Nest, a day-long pre-school, and MoveInSync that works toward reducing the cost of transportation while also lessening the country's carbon footprint.

Tanuku says India’s current $1.2 trillion economy will become about $2.5 trillion in nine or 10 years even if the Indian gross domestic product grows at only 8 percent.

“The point is you have a multibillion dollar new economy to be created and that has to come from the creation of new enterprises or by helping very small companies to grow substantially at a much higher rate than the current average” said Tanuku. “And entrepreneurship plays a very significant role here.”