In April this year, I got selected to become part of Kerala Startup Mission’s Technology Innovation Fellowship program (TIFP). Out of many who applied, twenty were selected from across Kerala.
We were the Third bath of fellows to join startup mission, since its inception. I applied for the program as I wanted to learn more about the startup ecosystem and to be around like-minded people. The opportunity that was before me was enormous.
When I tell people what my job at KSUM is, most of them have difficulty understanding it. In some ways, our jobs may be under defined, it’s not like a regular 9-5 job. But if I were to boil it down, my job would be to connect people. We are the liaison to the Government.
We joined on the 24th April for our week long induction program. The program was set to orient us in the direction KSUM was heading. We had talk sessions with a lot of people from varied backgrounds and also visited IEDCs in various colleges across Kerala. What follows is an account of the things I have learned from my interactions and the challenges we face in creating a Startup Ecosystem.
1. We can ease up on Evangelisation of Entrepreneurship.
Thanks to a lot of media coverage and sites like YourStory, most students have some idea what Entrepreneurship is. Now our main focus is not to spread the idea of startups but to try and bring as many people from the startup world together so that they can interact among themselves and share their knowledge and experience.
What the students need is a role model, someone they can look up to, someone they can relate with. They want to see that an ordinary guy like them can get into the startup world and be successful. Examples like Facebook and Apple have become cliched, and students can’t relate to them. We need stories of ordinary people like you and me, who are running their companies. We want to know what drives them, and what keeps them up at night.
Stories inspire people, and interactions help them relate to that person. Our aim as fellows would be to use our reach and bring together as many people as we can find in the startup ecosystem. We will accomplish this through, conferences, talk sessions, webinars and all means necessary.
Entrepreneurship has become a common word in our society these days, but few people really know what it means. Entrepreneurship is not about starting some unicorn company and moving to America. It’s about solving real world problems and making people’s lives better.