BANGALORE: Top colleges like Stanford University and Canada’s Ryerson, which have been running startup programmes in India, said they are looking to engage more deeply with the startup ecosystem in the coming future.
Stanford Ignite, the seven-week in-house entrepreneurship course of Stanford Global School of Business, is now in five cities across the world, including Bangalore. And the program will run for the third time in March 2015, the university said.
“We thought, where else can we find population with talented people? And Bangalore is number 1 in all this,” said Be thany Coates, assistant dean, Global Innovation Programs at Stanford Graduate School of Business. It said it was curious to know how entrepreneurship thrives in India. The college has had two successful runs of its Ignite program in India till date.
Canada’s Ryerson, which started an accelerator programme late last year, said more such initiatives are planned. Alan Lysne, who heads the Digital Media Zone accelerator, part of Ryerson University, said such programmes give the university an entrepreneurial tag.
“These help us attract high calibre talent,” said Lynse, whose programme is currently incubating 35 startups in partnership with BSE Institute. The accelerator takes a 5-10% stake in startups in exchange for a $50,000 seed fund.
“Such initiatives allow universities to dabble in the bleeding edge of things. Plus it’s the ultimate marketing tool for them. Those that spawn startups, attract students,” said Nasscom’s Product Council Chairman Ravi Gururaj, who added that Nasscom expects more academic institutes to come to India in the near future.
Earlier this year, Wharton School conducted a first-of-its-kind startup competition at its Wharton India Economic Forum in Februarry. Zostel, a hostel chain for backpackers, won the competition and met its investors at the same forum. It raised Rs 5 crore this May.
“It is crucial for the university to understand and have a presence in these markets,” said Kartik Hosanagar, academic director of Wharton’s Venture Initiation Program – a one year incubator program. The university – Snapdeal’s Kunal Bahl graduated from here -said the predominant Indian student and alumni community has become very interested in the startup ecosystem in India.
And startups are also leveraging the university’s brands to move ahead. Bangalore-based Adtech startup Adwyze, which graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Global Startup Labs program last month said it had found interest from top investors after the 6-week program conducted by the university.
MIT’s Media Labs Initiative, which organizes a student-run workshop presided by MIT faculty, will soon be opening a fabrication lab open to the students and alumni.
“Many of the participants of the workshop have become startups,” said Anirudh Sharma, 27, who runs the initiative in India. Participation for the seven-day workshop has grown over ten times in the past four years.
“It’s a two way street for us. The professors want to learn what new innovations are happening in India, and the students want to learn from professors,” said Sanjay Sarma, MIT’s Director of Digital Learning.