Innovation is seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.
-Dr Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
The uncompromising vision to mould the students to be the leaders of tomorrow and to gear them up to think beyond the possible has been the propelling factor that drives each student of SRM University-AP to tread the unexplored paths and embrace the unseen challenges. They come out as transformed individuals, outgrown with enriching experiences, capable of introducing new changes into the world. Students are offered ample space and time to ideate, innovate, and build themselves into coming-of-age professionals.
Innovator Square is one such platform set up by the Entrepreneurship-cell to nurture innovative ideas and thoughts having the potential to be converted into a meaningful product or service. Each month, it brings out young talents who have expanded their limits to fashion out an unforeseen solution to the mundane troubles of society. The title winners of the ‘Innovator of the Month’ contest this time, are, Shaik Nagoor, Kalakoti Smaran, and Komirisetti Gopi, from the Department of Mechanical Engineering. They have designed a special stove that runs on used cooking oil.
Introducing innovations out of bits and pieces of the commonest of things adds value to our everyday lives. These budding masterminds deserve acknowledgement for their incredible solution to utilise the leftover oil. Cooking oil is a daily essential abundantly used in food processing industry, such as restaurants and fast food, as well as in households. Reusing the oil is found to have harmful effects as it contains carcinogenic substances, that may lead to cancer or other chronic health disorders. Hence the common practice followed is to dump it in open soil. However, this will affect soil fertility and a myriad of environmental concerns.
Their motive to offer a sustainable solution to this menace is what prompted them to devise a user-friendly stove that will consume the used cooking oil. This will also serve as a better alternative to LPG, saving up to 50% of the expenditure. The students expressed their happiness in having made their tiny share of contribution for the well-being of their society. They also thanked their faculty and the university for extending unswerving support to complete this project. “We can never thank enough Dr Venkata Nori sir for guiding and supporting us from the beginning of our project, he helped us achieve this innovation, we are also thankful to Mr Udayan Bakshi sir for helping us to build a start-up”, they remarked.
Empowering and Enabling startup entrepreneurs
A personal incident motivated Jithin Peram, final year Computer Science Engineering student, to start Amruthik Pvt. Ltd, a company which supplies customised food to various hospitals based on the specific needs of the patients. Various doctors and hospitals have appreciated this customisation of food as per the need. Patients are satisfied as they do not have to take the generic food given by the hospital canteen now. Instead, they have the option to have a very specific diet prescribed by certified dieticians.
The motivation behind the launch of Amruthik is quite inspirational. Jithin’s grandfather passed away due to corona. While his grandfather was suffering with Covid-19 and was admitted in hospital, Jithin was preparing for viva practicals. On hearing the news, he was shattered and it struck him how quickly everything can change around us. Since Jithin was not able to do small things such as taking lunch to his grandfather or standing next to him for moral support; With Amruthik, Jithin dreams of being there for people who need moral support and care in their hospital beds “This makes me happy, and I believe this kind of support is something everyone deserves”, says Jithin on a happy note.
Five years from now, Jithin envisions himself supporting, helping and standing by millions of people who need such services. He believes in putting smiles on faces and wants to see the impressive growth of his company.
Let’s see what Jithin says
As an engineering student, I would have never known the opportunities I have, even with the idea to build my company I would have been lost without proper guidance The Hatchlab Research Centre has given me guidance and a foundation that I can rely upon building my company.
I am thankful for the immense support I got from the faculty and the guidance provided by SRM AP, I especially thank Mr Udayan Bakshi for mentoring me and sharing his experiences with me.
Solving the problems existing in diverse domains through innovative ideas is something only certain people will be able to do. Earlier this year, the Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation held a Pitch and Win contest, which invited ideas to solve problems across the six major domains. Sikindhar Jaladi, Pranathi Jayanthi, and Shreeyash made it to the top three with their excellent competitive skills and ideas.
The domains from which the applications were invited included Education, Deep-Tech, Social, Health, Alternate Energy, Retail, Fintech and so on. The top three winners were selected from hundreds of contestants. Also, top 10 applications are selected to be incubated at the Hatchlab Research Centre. They will be nurtured for a period of 18 months and transformed from an idea to a prototype. This will again be developed into a complete product with industrial exposure and corporate mentorship along with seed funding of Rs. 500000 (to the eligible ventures) from the university. A cubical will be allocated to each team to sit and build their products and work on the venture.
Innovative suggestions create a doorway to a world of opportunities and possibilities. The Suggestion contest conducted by the Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation received 206 entries, and each of them was significant in one way or the other. Finding out the most impactful and meaningful suggestions among them was a hectic task, and we have five winners for the competition. Congratulations to CSE second-year student Krishna Manideep, BBA second-year student Pratibha Maurya and CSE first-year students; Vishnu Vardhan, Pranathi Jayanthi, and G Sai Rohith for making it to the top five.
The department has started programmes like “ExplorerHive” and “the Leader” based on the suggestions of students. Many more innovative programs are yet to come by utilising the suggestions obtained through the competition. Congratulations to the whole 206 participants for their contributions and suggestions. We value each of you and your suggestions and will try our best to put them all into practice.
The Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation organised an induction programme, “Ushering the Next Era- Innovation, Leadership & Entrepreneurship”, to give the students a comprehensive overview of the emerging possibilities in entrepreneurship. Various students who have successfully initiated their own start-up ideas have also shared their experiences.
Udayan Bakshi, Associate Director- Entrepreneurship, introduced the students to the country’s business landscape and rendered them a brief picture of the start-up ecosystem of India. Substantiating his arguments using facts and figures, he instigated the students to develop an innovative spirit and don the role of entrepreneurs capable of transforming the face of the nation.
Prof B V Babu, Dean- School of Engineering and Sciences, presided over and spoke about the legacy of the university. He also reminded the students of the ample avenues left open for students to explore and experience. “We aspire to offer a wholesome learning experience to our students through a gamut of courses ranging from engineering to fine arts and management”, he said. When it comes to entrepreneurship, there are pioneering ventures like Hatchlab Research Centre and Next Tech Lab to support and motivate young researchers who can promote the commercial research culture.
Prof Prakash Jadhav, Head- Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (IDEA), enlightened students on the inevitability of trying their hands at entrepreneurship as the country demands more job providers than job seekers to satiate the needs of the growing population. He also coaxed the students to contribute to the Make in India vision by exhibiting their innovatory leadership skills.
A few of our students, Lucklin Medimpudi, Jathin, Divi Gnanesh, Lakshman Tatikonda, Manaswini Surusomayajula, and Himansh Mudigonda, who have displayed their entrepreneurial acumen through ingenious start-up ideas went on to share their experiences and encouraged the students to become part of the E-Cell.
The session was later taken over by Manideep Surusomayajula who elaborated on various initiatives such as the student communities, exploratory competition, and the experiential learning platforms, the E-Cell has embarked on to train our students to perform to the best of their abilities in the industry. There are numerous platforms ranging from international collaborations to global mentorship programmes and women-led start-up initiatives for students to innovate themselves as individuals and as a team.
Mr Bakshi wrapped up the event by referring to the triumphant stories the SRM AP E-cell has witnessed. He reinstated the university’s vision to build strong professionals who can assume the position of entrepreneurial leaders and play a crucial role in nation-building. SRM AP aims to give rise to dozens of skilful professionals having the ability to motivate and inspire sweeping changes that can help the nation progress.
Mr Lakshman Thatikonda, a 3rd year BBA student of SRM University-AP, has started his own business venture (TalentCrew), incubated at the Hatchlab Research Centre– The technology and livelihood business incubator of SRM University-AP.
The talent crew is a skill-based startup. They are one of India’s largest multi-category customised gifting companies, providing one of the best-curated collections of festival merchandise, gifts, handicrafts, wedding cards, carvings & personalised products for all occasions & festivals. TalentCrew has a global footprint with customers spanning 20 plus countries and the capability to deliver gifts to over 50 countries and 300 plus cities in India. Mr Lakshman started this organisation on the principles of creativity, agility, and social responsibility.
Over the next few years, TalentCrew envisions exploring and developing new products and services that will actively expand business while touching social responsibility.
Experience at Hatchlab Research Centre
The Hatchlab research centre aims to support SRM E-Cell’s mission of developing entrepreneurial talent and fostering the commercialisation of new ideas ventures. “Working with Hatchlab research centre was always a great experience. Here I found the fresh start for the innovation, and here the programme is very well structured with the right blend of practice,” says Mr Lakshman. “The best thing about this programme is that it allows me to learn while still being employed. And I always feel thankful for Dr Lakshmana Rao sir, for motivating me on every stand that I take, and Udayan Bakshi sir, for giving me such a wonderful opportunity” he added.
Technology Business Incubator of SRM University-AP launched the first venture cohort with 36 selected startup business ventures, on May 15, 2021, in the presence of the special guest of honour from industry, Prof Ramesh Loganathan, Head of co-innovation and outreach at IIIT Hyderabad and Ex-Chief Innovation Officer of the Telangana State Innovation Cell (TSIC).
“From the initial years onwards, SRM University-AP is focused to make entrepreneurs who can be the leaders of tomorrow. The University signed an MOU with the University of California, Berkeley to design the curriculum to promote entrepreneurship,” Said Prof V S Rao, Vice-Chancellor, SRM University-AP, in his welcome speech.
Advancing the proceedings of the event, the guest of honour Prof Ramesh Loganathan gave a brief understanding of the scope and future of entrepreneurship in India and the global scenario. “The entrepreneurial journey should start with identifying the problems in the ecosystem. A great example can be the face recognition software that started with the idea of capturing student attendance in colleges. Similarly, the budding entrepreneurs should identify such similar problems, do thorough market research and then prepare the business plan. The price of the product/idea should matter the last.”
SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh established the ‘Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (IDEA)’ as part of the strategic alliance with UC Berkeley to create an academy combining their Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Jacob Center of Design and Innovation to foster the culture of innovation, design and entrepreneurship among the students of all streams including engineering, liberal arts and sciences, and management. Dr Prakash Jadav, Associate Professor and Head of IDEA opined, “It is exciting to see so many students submitting their business ideas in the first business cohort. I am sure that with our guidance and mentorship, they all can reach new heights in setting up their ventures in the industry.”
62 teams, which comprises 192 students applied for the opportunity. After a rigorous screening and evaluation on various parameters like innovation, scalability and commercialization, only 36 teams/ ventures were selected to be a part of the SRM TBI’s first cohort.
The selected ventures will be mentored and supported for a period of a minimum 12 months where they will be facilitated with infrastructure support, mentoring and networking support, seed fund and innovation fund support, hardware and software support, industry connectivity, learning resources, market exposure and several others.
The selected ventures will be mentored and supported for a period of minimum 12 months will all the services of a regular technology business incubator. SRM TBI will also provide an opportunity to pitch to the investors, connects with industry experts, market linkage and a global network of mentors. The startups developing prototype and MVP can apply for the Product validation track and pre-revenue/ revenue stage startups can apply for the Market validation track. Each of the 36 startup ventures will get hands-on mentoring and guidance from the mentors and experts from their respective working areas. The startups go through physical interactions through contact sessions at SRM AP and virtual interaction with mentors through online workshops during the program.
After the Q & A session Mr Udayan Bakshi, CEO SRM TBI & Associate Director Entrepreneurship, cordially thanked all the speakers and panellists for their efforts to make the SRM TBI cohort launch a grand success. He also highlighted that TBI will not limit to just this batch of students or to the SRM University-AP, but shall extend its vision and activities to the entire ecosystem