NEN E Week lasts for a week; but its spirit stays on. NEN member institutes continue to strengthen the ‘Go Green’ drive for sustainable eco-preneurship.
For one week in February this year, lakhs of young students across the country came together to take part in a week-long awareness campaign ‘NENEntrepreneurship Week - India’ to showcase opportunities in today’s India.
Run by the non-profit National Entrepreneurship Network, NEN 'E Week' 09 aimed to focus public attention on sustainable development through its theme, ‘Go Green - The World is our Business’. Its idea was not to promote tree-hugging, but to expose students to the billions of dollars worth of opportunities in the clean-tech sector.
It was a resounding success. Over 3,000 events held across 350 institutes engaged nearly 350,000 students, transforming 'E Week' into a true national movement. Events included massive awareness campaigns, expert panel discussions on commercializing clean technologies, competitions for identifying green opportunities, movie screenings and exhibitions on ideas and ventures of students, and much more.
And now, with E Week ’10 just 3 months away, it’s time to ask the big question: Is 'E Week' just a 7-day phenomenon? Or is it a movement whose impact is felt through the year?
Going by the stories coming out of NEN, the latter seems true.
Institutes go green
The scorching sun promises to bring in revenue – Rs 66,000 a day – at Management Institute of Durgapur. A discussion on the Kyoto Protocol during an E Week seminar made the MID-NEN E Cell members look at their rooftop in a completely new way. They noticed that hardly anyone ventured into their 3,00,000 square feet large rooftop because of the hot sun. That gave them an idea – why not develop a non-conventional energy production hub that could generate solar power? Principal Dr Anup Ghosh saw the business opportunity right away.
“As per the Kyoto Protocol, every country should produce 20% of their power through non-conventional sources by 2020. India is lagging far behind at a mere 0.2%. There is huge opportunity in this space, especially for public-private partnerships,” shares Dr Ghosh. The planned rooftop solar energy hub has the capacity to generate 4 MW of solar energy, and Dr Ghosh is in final round of talks with West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency for supply of power at Rs 11 per Watt (that is Rs 7 more than what the Government pays for conventional power sources). Thanks to the E Cell’s innovative thinking, MID may soon earn Rs 11,000 an hour on a sunny day!
Heightened awareness about green opportunities has made Delhi College of Engineering take on a unique project – make their institute the first carbon-free campus in the country. Under the guidance of NEN Faculty Leader Dr A B Bhattacharya, five members of the DCE-NEN E Cell are currently conducting an energy audit. “The idea originated during a seminar we held on Carbon Credit Rating System during E Week. It opened up the possibility of not only making the campus carbon free, but also selling carbon credits to US companies if we reach 10,000 credits (at 12 Euros per credit per year for 10 yrs.)” says Sushant, NEN E Leader spearheading the project.
PSG Institute of Technology at Coimbatore is also turning energy efficient following an intense Go Green campaign by the PSG-NEN E Cell. E Cell member G Ramachandran who runs his own year-old startup Lamperz, is providing five solar street lamps at Rs 25,000 per lamp for the institute’s parking lot. “Lamperz’ business has boomed after I showcased the product during E Week. Earlier, only my relatives bought my solar emergency lamps. Post 'E Week', the awareness about solar products has increased dramatically in campus and my institute is motivating me to expand to other products,” he says. Ramachandran is now building a solar-powered mobile battery charger.
The campus company at Chennai’s Saveetha Engineering College is now employing worms to generate revenue. The SEC-NEN E Cell has started its own high margin small business – a vermicomposting unit. With a free supply of garden waste from campus and cement debris for construction, their investment is almost nil. They plan to sell manure to its institute and nurseries at Rs 10/kg, from October. “We developed the idea after we took a field trip during E Week to Exnora Homes, an eco-friendly housing project, which runs a similar unit,” shares Saranya Buddhi of SEC.
Tapping green opportunities
Pune’s Hiraben Nanavati Institute of Management and Research (Hnimr) College plans to use rainwater to end water shortage woes in over 200 institutes under Pune University. The project is spearheaded by Rucha Sharma, member of the NEN E Cell at HNIMR who runs her own small rainwater harvesting startup at her drought-prone hometown Jalgaon. A year ago, she had only one customer. Thanks to the visibility she received during E Week, Rucha is now thinking much bigger.
After running E Week activities in his college Career Institute of Technology and Management in Delhi, NEN E Cell member Varun Dasgupta is now experimenting with a green venture of his own. He is establishing a startup that converts agri-waste into ‘eco-friendly coal’. The price of Varun’s briquette is one-third cheaper than conventional coal. "It’s a business opportunity I identified during E Week. Sugarcane waste comes for cheap, and I easily found my first customer as my coal is eco-friendly," Varun says.
Evidently, clean technology has cut across institutes and disciplines, capturing the imagination of entrepreneurial students. In ways big and small, from research to student upstarts to campus companies, E Week has enabled a new wave of ecopreneurship – one that promises to drive India towards a sustainable future.
More articles on www.nenonline.org. Content provided by NEN
|< Prev||Next >|